OnLume of Madison raises $7 million; Milwaukee’s COnovate raises first investment round

By Teddy Nykiel, Wisconsin Inno

Two Wisconsin-based companies recently announced that they’ve raised private investment dollars after previously receiving federal and state grant funding through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program.

OnLume Inc., a Madison-based medical device company that has developed a fluorescence-guided surgery imaging system, announced on April 30 that it has raised more than $7 million in series A funding to assist plans for its commercial launch. The financing round was led by Las Vegas-based Cambridge Investment Group.

COnovate Inc., a Milwaukee-based startup that’s developing a patented 2-D material to add battery capacity and charging speed to lithium-ion batteries, announced Monday that it completed its initial fundraising round led by Green Bay-based Tundra Angels.

The two companies were among 11 Wisconsin startups that recently received grant funding to commercialize their technology. The awards were part of the federal SBIR program and the state SBIR Advance program, which matches a portion of the federal funding through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

OnLume Inc.

OnLume plans to use its newly acquired funds to launch commercially. It has received FDA clearance for imaging of blood flow and tissue perfusion in vascular, gastrointestinal, organ transplant, plastic, reconstructive and microsurgeries.

“We are in the final stages of our manufacturing readiness and just getting started in building out our commercial team, including management and sales,” OnLume co-founder, president and chief technology officer Adam Uselmann told the Milwaukee Business Journal.

The first OnLume system will be installed at University Hospital in Madison by the end of May, according to OnLume CEO James Bowman. OnLume also plans to double its staff within the next 3-6 months, Bowman said.

OnLume’s patented technology uses fluorescence imaging to improve surgery precision. In addition to its vascular applications, the company is also developing other uses for the technology, including in cancer surgery to help surgeons identify residual cancer tissue that are otherwise invisible.

Michael Luzich of Cambridge Investment Group will join OnLume’s board, Bowman said. OnLume’s other series A investors were Madison-based WARF Ventures (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation) and Wisconsin Investment Partners.

OnLume received a $2 million SBIR phase 2 grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health in late 2020. Read more …