Strong Showing for UW–Madison Startups at the Wisconsin Innovation Awards

Strong Showing for UW–Madison Startups at the Wisconsin Innovation Awards

Several emerging companies developed at UW–Madison were recognized at the Oct. 12 Wisconsin Innovation Awards, held to celebrate and inspire innovation in Wisconsin. Five of the nine winners got their start at UW–Madison: Atrility Medical, Inc., C-Motive Technologies, Doctor Dyslexia Dude LLC, Stem Pharm, Inc. and WiscMed LLC.

These companies advanced their innovations through UW–Madison Innovate Network programs and organizations such as the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), Discovery to Product (D2P), the Isthmus Project (UW Health), and the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC).  Coordinated by D2P, the Innovate Network is a group of campus and affiliated organizations that work collaboratively to provide support and resources to campus innovators and to advance entrepreneurship at UW-Madison and beyond.

“UW–Madison has a cadre of unique and complementary resources to help get innovative companies started. Stem Pharm’s formation and early growth benefitted from D2P’s mentoring, WARF’s technology licensing, CTC’s SBIR support, and the Forward BIO Institute’s strategic value creation,” said Bill Murphy, Stem Pharm’s co-founder and chief science officer. “Hopefully this example blazes a path that can be followed by other innovative biotechnologies.”

“Pursuing our core technology began as an idea among like-minded graduate student friends at UW–Madison. Campus entrepreneurial resources and the greater Wisconsin business network were critical for me and Justin Reed to pursue the tech, ultimately founding and growing C-Motive Technologies,” said C-Motive co-founder Dan Ludois. “Today, C-Motive employs 20 people in its Middleton office, where we’re engaged with industry leaders to revolutionize the way world creates motion.”

“Thank you to the Wisconsin Innovation Awards for honoring the development of groundbreaking and innovative new companies throughout Wisconsin,” said D2P Director Andy Richards. “UW–Madison continues to offer robust resources for aspiring campus entrepreneurs—supporting STEM and other innovators every step of the way—from idea to commercialization and growth.”

This year, the Wisconsin Innovation Awards chose 30 finalists from more than 300 nominations statewide. Finalists and winners for each category were determined by a panel of 19 industry experts. In addition to the five winners with UW­–Madison affiliations, there were four other finalists with UW–Madison campus origins.

Winners with UW–Madison affiliations:

Biotechnology: Stem Pharm, Inc.
Stem Pharm has developed the most comprehensive and biologically relevant 3D human brain organoid (“brain-in-a-dish”) available commercially for neurological drug discovery and pre-clinical research. Stem Pharm’s neural organoids can be used to replicate diseases and study their mechanisms, screen new drugs, and evaluate toxicity, all done in vitro before conducting animal studies and human clinical trials.

Business to Business: C-Motive Technologies – Electrostatic Motors
C-Motive has taken the idea of rubbing a balloon on a wool sweater, but magnified the forces generated through a series of multiplicative gains in mechanical, electrical, and electrochemical innovation. By transitioning to this force for use inside electric motors, more sustainable materials can be used for their construction and operating efficiency at low speeds is enhanced with lower costs and reduced energy consumption.

Education: Doctor Dyslexia Dude LLC
Doctor Dyslexia Dude (DDD) graphic novels provide a unique contribution to the lexicon of books written specifically for students with dyslexia, but are equally relevant for all readers, parents, and educators. There is currently a dearth of culturally relevant material for all students in Special Education specifically for Black boys. The DDD books are culturally responsive, authentic, and realistic portrayals of the lived experiences of students of color.

HealthIT: WiscMed
WiscMed enabled the conversion of the traditional analog otoscope, found in every clinical exam room and often used in pediatrics for the diagnosis of ear infections, to a digital solution. Ear infections are the number one reason for the prescription of antibiotics to children, often unnecessarily. WiscMed’s digital solution with a nano camera and a built-in LCD allows for the highest probability of seeing the eardrum and providing appropriate treatment.

Process: Atrility Medical, Inc.
Atrility Medical, Inc. has developed and secured FDA clearance for the AtriAmp, a device for improving, evaluating, and managing post-operative heart arrhythmias. The AtriAmp provides earlier detection and more accurate diagnosis for arrhythmias which is essential to avoid delays in treatment and allows for improved patient outcomes.

Finalists with UW–Madison affiliations:
Re Mixers
Stellar Tech Girls
Yips Yogurt Chips


About Discovery to Product (D2P)
Discovery to Product (D2P) is the front door to UW–Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, coordinating the Innovate Network to connect faculty, staff, and students with the right resources at the right time. D2P’s Innovation and Commercialization Specialists provide mentorship, education, and guidance to support UW–Madison’s growing community of entrepreneurs and inventors. For more information, visit