Milwaukee-based biotech startup Geno.Me is focused on expanding its client base and boosting sales as it nears the close of its seed two funding round, which has a cap of more than $3 million.
Geno.Me links genomic and electronic health record data in an open marketplace, which allows medical researchers to more easily access data and patients to have more transparency and control of the use of their personal health and medical data, according to Britt Gottschalk, the company’s founder and CEO. Patients who share their data are compensated.
Gottschalk has experience as a management consultant. She founded Geno.Me during the COVID-19 pandemic after she identified inefficiencies related to patient data transfer and accessibility in the American health care system.
“The whole idea behind Geno.Me is to basically give people power back over their data,” said Gottschalk. “You haven’t always had the ability to have this much control over your data as you might have perceived.”
The company not only wants users to have control over their data but to also put that data to good use. Geno.Me can help users better understand how their inherited and environmental health care characteristics could affect them.
“There’s not a ton of research being done based on the viability of a medical record in tandem with a genetic report,” said Gottschalk. “The medical record and genetic report tell very different sides of your health story.”
She explained the issue is not necessarily gaining access to medical records but having so much medical information in a multitude of places that makes it difficult for people to take control over their own data.
“Let’s say you move to Arizona and now there’s only one hospital network. Being able to get your medical data reported accurately into that new system is really a challenge because those systems a lot of times do not talk to each other,” said Gottschalk.
Milwaukee-based Gateway Capital was the lead investor in Geno.Me’s $500,000 seed round last year. Two angel investors provided $50,000 each while Gateway Capital invested $400,000. This past April, Geno.Me launched its seed two round with a goal of $3.25 million. The company is looking to close by the end of the year.
The additional funding will allow Geno.Me to add more key employees, including a chief technology officer. There will also be additions to the company’ product development team. There are seven Geno.Me employees currently.
The Geno.Me platform officially launched in October and has over 40 active users. The company has been working with researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin to flesh out new features. Eventually, users will have new abilities including being able to see what organization has accessed their data and for what.
“Being able to really put our heads down and focus on working with the companies that need our services and really growing the sales side and client base is front of mind for me,” said Gottschalk. “Over the last year we went from having no platform to having an operational platform and now we just want to get out there and show companies this is something that can be really valuable for your researchers, employees and patients.”
Geno.Me was recently named as one of several tenants at Converge, a new innovation hub at the Eagleknit building in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood. Gottschalk said she had already been considering moving back to her native city from Madison and after a discussion with Gateway Capital’s Dana Guthrie regarding moving back, the decision became clearer.
“I think we have all of the infrastructure to become the next real tech hub in the United States,” said Gottschalk. “I’d been toying with the idea of coming back for a while but now I just have so much more of an ability to make an impact in a positive way for the people here.”