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DataChat has pioneered a self-serve analytics technology that allows business users to get meaningful insights from data by simply conversing with the AI-powered Chat Application. DataChat is one of eight Wisconsin companies awarded an SBIR Advance grant.

Eight Wisconsin companies — including three in Madison — will receive a funding boost from a partnership between state offices with the federal Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

The federal SBIR/SBTT programs awarded several Wisconsin companies grant funding that is earmarked for research-related uses. To promote the commercialization of those businesses, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and University of Wisconsin System awarded eight of those companies further funding through its SBIR Advance fund to help them bring products to market.

The state SBIR Advance fund awarded up to $674,000 total to:

  • Ascending Hearing Technologies, New Berlin, which is developing custom sound amplification applications for smartphones to be used by people who are hard of hearing.
  • Proteovista, Madison, which is developing new systems for drug discovery and medicinal research.
  • Retham Technologies, Wauwatosa, which is developing a quicker test to identify when people are suffering adverse reactions to the drug Heparin.
  • SeedLinked, Viroqua, which is a web platform using crowd-sourced data and analytics to help plant breeders, seed sellers, farmers and gardeners buy and sell specialty seeds.
  • AquaMetals, Wauwatosa, which is developing a system to continually test concentrations of heavy metals in flowing water.
  • DataChat, Madison, which is developing an analytics platform to parse data with machine learning.
  • NCD Technologies, Madison, which is creating diamond-like carbon coatings for items such as machining tools or medical equipment to increase durability.
  • Phototonic Cleaning Technologies, Platteville, which is creating a strip coat cleaning system to remove dust, fingerprints, residues and other contaminants from precision surfaces.

The companies can receive up to $100,000, depending on which phase of the federal program they are a part of and which commercialization milestones they meet while involved with the state program.

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To be eligible for the state money, the companies had to be part of the federal SBIR program. The federal money can be used only for research and development of a product or system, but the state funds can be used for a broader range of purposes, including market research, consumer testing and intellectual property work.

“SBIR Advance helps technology-based businesses move from the pure research phase into business development sales and growth,” said Aaron Hagar, WEDC vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Along with the funding, grant recipients also receive support from the System’s Center for Technology Commercialization.

The state program began in 2014 and has awarded nearly $7.4 million to 96 companies. Those companies have reported hiring more than 180 employees combined and have raised about $30 million in other funding.

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