A medical device for patients with swallowing disorders gets new life. A music streaming app gets an influx of cash. The state’s economic development agency faces more criticism for its practices. Startups in recruiting tech, medtech, and civic tech strike merger and acquisition deals. Read on for more details about these stories and other recent Wisconsin innovation news.
—In an unusually structured deal, the Idea Fund of La Crosse, an early-stage investment firm located in western Wisconsin, said it paid $500,000 to acquire the rights to the SwallowStrong device developed by Madison-based Swallow Solutions. The device, designed to help patients with dysphagia strengthen their mouth and throat muscles, will now be marketed by La Crosse-based Swallow Therapeutics, a new portfolio company created by Idea Fund, according to a press release. Idea Fund is searching for a CEO to run the venture.
Swallow Solutions stopped making the device in 2017 because it was struggling to win insurance reimbursement from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, former CEO Eric Horler told BizTimes Media. That year, the company began selling a thickened beverage designed for people with swallowing disorders. But that business apparently didn’t take off: Horler told BizTimes that Swallow Solutions has no employees, and a third party is trying to also sell the beverage assets. Horler left the company last year and is now CEO of AIQ Solutions, according to his LinkedIn profile.
—LÜM, a Madison-based developer of a music discovery and streaming platform, said it closed a seed funding round and struck a strategic partnership with Frank Productions, a locally based company that promotes concerts nationwide. LÜM raised $750,000 in equity financing in the seed round, and it has also raised nearly $500,000 in convertible debt funding, a spokesperson told Xconomy. Frank Productions is one of its investors, he said.
Read more about LÜM in this Xconomy profile from January.
—Montage, a Delafield-based provider of video interviewing software and other technologies for recruiters and hiring managers, merged with Shaker International, an Ohio-based developer of technologies for assessing job candidates. The merger was facilitated and financed by The Riverside Company, a private equity firm that invested in Shaker in 2017. Read the full story here.