Twenty-four companies — including 14 from the Madison area — have made the second cut and are moving forward as finalists in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.
The local finalists offer products and services ranging from condensed, lactose-free milk to biopesticides for farms and water treatment, and from custom game publishing to crowdsourced beer.
The 24 were chosen from among 292 applicants, and the judges had a hard time narrowing the field, said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which organizes the event.
“It was very difficult. We feel the quality of the entrants continues to improve,” Still said.
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He said management teams for many of the contenders, especially in life sciences, were impressive. “This year’s entrants took pretty seriously the notion of having broader teams and advisory groups around them to help them along the way,” Still said.
The Madison-area companies still in the running and their products are:
Dairyvative Technology, Verona: Condensed, lactose-free milk
Amebagone, Madison: Biopesticides for potential use on farms and for water treatment
Elucent Medical, Madison: A non-invasive device to determine the borders of breast cancer tumors
Zero Nine, Madison: An online patent search tool for lawyers
Tasso, Madison: A device to collect blood for medical tests
NeuroSolis, Madison: Potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders
The Game Crafter, Madison: Custom game publishing and parts
Little Green Pencil, Madison: Tools for organizing golf events
Pan Genome Systems, Madison: Vaccines for the dairy and sheep industries
Cellular Logistics, Sun Prairie: Biomaterial for chronic wound healing
MobCraft Beer, Madison: Crowdsourced beers
NRU, Madison: Recovering phosphorus from water
Digsite, McFarland: Social media alternative to focus groups for marketing research
WebRacing, Madison: Interactive workouts that can become an online competition
Nine other companies are from around Wisconsin, mainly the Milwaukee area, and one is from Elgin, Ill.
Some of the companies, such as MobCraft Beer, are already operating. MobCraft opened in May 2013 and has brewed nine crowdsourced and two flagship beers so far, using equipment at House of Brews, said president Henry Schwartz. It will be choosing a location and opening its own brewery this fall, he said, so entering the Business Plan competition will help MobCraft refine its pitch and provide resources for raising capital.
“We’ve got a pretty innovative model that sets us apart from different breweries,” Schwartz said.
Finalists will submit 15- to 20-page business plans to be reviewed by judges, and the top 12 will make presentations at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison on June 3. Winners will be named on June 4.