Three teams of health care innovators claimed a total of $60,000 on Wednesday night as the winners of the Healthcare Innovation Pitch event, held at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center as part of the Nov. 6-12 Milwaukee Startup Week activities.
In this Shark Tank-like event, HIP participants pitched their innovations to a panel of renowned venture capitalists in order to compete for seed funding. The biannual event, which started in 2015, drew 11 teams of competitors this year. HIP is put on by Bridge to Cures, with support from Concordia University Wisconsin, The Dohmen Company, WEDC, Andrus Law Firm, Quarles & Brady Law Firm, Hudson, and UW Research Park.
Participants competed in one of three categories, or tracks: Concordia Medication Management Accelerator Startups, Health Tech, and Health Care Therapies and Diagnostics. The winning team from each track received $20,000, plus additional services and resources valued at more than $15,000.
The 2017 HIP winners included:
- Concordia Medication Management Accelerator Startups – MedSync-Rx, made up of faculty and a student from Concordia University Wisconsin. The team’s pitch highlighted a Smart app that will coordinate multiple medication refills to be picked up on the same date each month.
- Health Tech – GenoPalate, a company that utilizes DNA, demographic, lifestyle, and metabolic information to curate a personalized dietary plan for optimal nutrition. Yi Sherry Zhang, of the Medical College of Wisconsin, presented.
- Health Care Therapies and Diagnostics – PROMISS Diagnostics, an effort of Jalal Sulaiman and Gary Schwartz. Their proprietary algorithm was developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and uses data on calcium, albumin, age, and menopause to distinguish cancerous masses in the ovary from benign masses.
As part of the evening’s program, Milwaukee Commissioner of Health Bevan Baker congratulated the participants for their efforts and emphasized the importance of events like HIP.
“We need innovation; we need it from multiple sectors,” Baker said. “Innovation starts with this type of accelerator and this kind of pitch moment.”
Some of the night’s other pitches included: a revolutionary approach to microbial sequencing that would prevent outbreaks; the implementation of a statewide Electronic Medical Record platform that would connect free and charitable clinics to area health information exchange networks; and a controller that allows the visually impaired to better navigate and more easily use Smart devices and technology in the home.
Serving as panelists were Giovanni Ferrara, partner of Novartis Venture Fund; Allen Hakimi, managing director of Technomark Life Science; Paul Weiss, managing director of Venture Investors; and John Torinus, general partner of Wisconsin Super Angel Fund.
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