BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. announced today it has dedicated $260,000 in funding to two startups, one of which is in Milwaukee. Milwaukee-based Inventalator Inc., dba Ideawake, and Middleton-based ImageMoverMD Inc. will each receive a portion of the funding.
Ideawake, which has developed an innovation capture software platform for companies, will receive $50,000 from BrightStar, said Coby Skonord, founder and chief executive officer of Ideawake. It’s part of a larger $1 million angel funding round led by a local private investor that is expected to close by the end of March, he said.
The company, which recently completed the gener8tor accelerator program in Milwaukee, plans to use the funds to hire additional employees and increase its marketing spend to 20 percent of its budget. By March 1, Ideawake will have expanded to eight employees, Skonord said.
“We’ve invested in marketing in 2017, but this is next level,” he said. “This is in order to start to scale.”
“From the moment it was described to me, I thought, ‘How simple and how intuitive,’” Jay Wigdale, founder of Lakefront Investment Partners and a member of BrightStar’s investment committee, said of Ideawake. “In the current environment, where larger companies are attempting to engage their employees in unique ways and draw out innovation, I can see so many of them wanting to try Ideawake’s product.”
BrightStar’s investment in ImageMover is also part a larger funding round, led by HealthX Ventures. ImageMover has developed a medical imaging software that integrates images with electronic health records.
“ImageMover has a chance to be one of the best investments we’ve made,” said Tom Shannon, co-founder and chief executive officer of BrightStar. “The company provides health systems with the ability to integrate imaging technology into electronic health records more efficiently and securely, and already holds a number of substantial clients and partners in the marketplace. It’s a company we are excited about being our 40th investment.”
BrightStar is a nonprofit foundation that takes in donations and invests them in early-stage Wisconsin companies via a process it calls venture philanthropy. It was founded in 2014 and has now invested a total of $6 million in 40 companies.