MILWAUKEE – Two early-stage companies with ideas that could improve human health by producing quicker, more accurate and less invasive tests will share the Grand Prize in the first Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

BioSystem Development, a Middleton firm, and NovaScan, a company rooted in Milwaukee, tied in final round judging for the contest. They will share $55,000 in prize money, contest organizers announced Wednesday.

BioSystem Development, founded by CEO Scott Fulton of Middleton, offers an alternative to laboratory test used routinely by drug researchers and other scientists. NovaScan, co-founded by Bill Gregory, Chris Gregory and Larry Wells of greater Milwaukee, has developed technology that can detect breast cancer tumor at an earlier stage and smaller size than medical imaging devices in current use.

BioSystem Development and NovaScan not only tied in final judging based on oral presentations, but in earlier numerical scoring based on the judges’ reading of their 20-page business plans. Both companies were entered in the Life Sciences category of the contest, and will share category prize money as well as Grand Prize dollars.

Other category winners, each of whom will receive $10,000, are:

  • Sound Focus, a Madison firm with a technology that can direct a ball of sound to specific locations, which can lead to applications in home theaters, museums, classrooms and more. This company, co-founded by Jeffrey Milsap and J. Michael Underwood, won the Information Technology category.
  • Aquamake, a Milwaukee company, won the Advanced Manufacturing category with a wastewater recycling system that reclaims household and commercial wastewater. The treated water is reused for flushing toilets, developing “green” communities and other applications. Craig Gravatt is the founder.
  • IntelliMentor, also of Milwaukee, produces online organizational change management tools and “intelligent virtual change agents” that help people plan and implement critical business initiatives faster, cheaper and better. Thomas Olscheske of Milwaukee is the co-founder.

Second-place winners ($5,000 each) by category were: Paul Hinahara, Madison, Elegant IR (Advanced Manufacturing); Kathleen Ley, Middleton, Wisconsin Kitchen Incubator (business services) and Mark Blumenfeld, Madison, Role Based Workflow (information technology). BioSystem Development and NovaScan shared the second place prize in Life Sciences.

Third-place winners ($2,000 each) by category were: Adam Bock, Sun Prairie, Nerites (life sciences); Thomas Holdorf, Madison, Softwave Pumps (advanced manufacturing); Ken Krueger, Madison, Education Development Board LLC (business services); and Mike Lilek, Wauwatosa, Shining Brow Service Management Software (information technology).

Honorable mention winners ($1,000 each) were: Anca Copaescu, Madison, eMetagen (life sciences); Ankur Malhotra, Madison, The NeuronFarm  (information technology); Brian Boyd, Marquette University, GasDay (information technology); Holly Grey, Milwaukee, Onlight Internet Continuity System (information technology); Orlando Rivera, UW-Madison, Auris Solutions (information technology); Mike Palecek, Racine, SmartChoice AV Systems LLC (information technology); and Shaheeb Roshan, Fox Point, Banu Learning Systems (information technology).

The awards were announced Wednesday, June 2, at the Governor’s Business Plan Contest dinner at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Gov. Jim Doyle, who called for a statewide contest during his 2002 campaign for governor, spoke and congratulated the winners.

Major sponsors of the contest were the Wisconsin Department of Commerce; Mason Wells Private Equity of Milwaukee; American Transmission Co., a statewide electric transmission network; the law firm of Michael, Best and Friedrich; Oracle, the software company; J.P. Cullen & Sons, a Janesville construction company; API Software of Hartford; the law firm of Axley Brynelson; the Network 222 urban technology office center in Madison; and the Wisconsin Technology Council. Special thanks go to Makin’ Hey! Communications, Applied Tech and the law firm of Quarles and Brady.

Thirty-six judges reviewed 330 first-phase plans submitted by 234 individuals from 101 Wisconsin communities. The initial entries produced 65 semi-finalist plans and, from that group, 27 finalists.

The Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN) Foundation co-produced the contest, which is planned to repeat in 2005 and 2006.

For more information on the plans, which are available for inspection by prospective investors, contact Liz Katz at 608-442-7557 or at