Exact Sciences CEO Kevin Conroy is calling on business leaders in Milwaukee and statewide to help create a new corporate investment fund to drive startup growth.
Addressing the Milwaukee Rotary Club yesterday, Conroy cited data from a Kauffman Foundation analysis showing most new companies that survive for a year start shedding jobs at that point.
“What this says is, you need a huge number of startups to keep the American economic engine going, ultimately lifting people up out of poverty, providing economic growth,” he said. “There aren’t enough startups that are being created, and the problem in Wisconsin is particularly dire.”
He noted other states in the Midwest have seen much more venture capital investment in recent years. Wisconsin has seen some movement in the right direction, he said, pointing to the $100 million fund started last year by Northwestern Mutual, Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn and Johnson Controls.
“That’s a really great start. We need to do more,” he said.
As part of his presentation, Conroy gave a progress update on the company’s colon cancer test called Cologuard.
He said Exact Sciences currently has about 4 percent market share with adults aged 50 to 85, but he’s confident that could grow tenfold given time. That’s because the Madison-based company has expanded rapidly in the past 10 years, laying the groundwork for future growth.
In that time, the company assembled a sales force and built its own lab as well as a large dedicated call center. He explains that “a big part of the problem” with colon cancer is just getting people to return the test.
He says calling, texting, emailing and other reminders have doubled the rate of return for the collection kit. Read the full story here.