M7 awards second round of Capital Catalyst loans and grants

Nearly $530,000 goes to four startups

Top Note Tonics owners Noah Swanson and Mary Pellettieri

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:21 pm

The Milwaukee 7 economic development partnership has awarded its second round of funding from the Capital Catalyst venture capital fund.

The 2018 model of the Motivo Tour walker.

The $1 million venture fund was started with a $500,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and $500,000 from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. It provides loans and grants totaling $50,000 to $125,000 to early stage companies, to be used for tasks like product development, market validation, new equipment, marketing and sales assistance. The fund is targeted to advanced manufacturing and technology companies.

MEDC, which administers the fund, said it approved $453,333 in loans and $76,666 in grants to four Milwaukee-area startups in the fourth quarter of 2018: Motivo Inc., La Pavia Beverage LLC, Vivid Microscopy LLC and MRH Products Inc.

New Berlin-based senior care manufacturing startup Motivo Inc. was approved for a $150,000 loan, which closed on Dec. 28, said David Latona, president of MEDC. Motivo, which manufactures an innovative walker, in June 2018 also completed a $950,000 series A round to ramp up its marketing and fund another production run of the product.

Milwaukee-based La Pavia Beverage LLC, dba Top Note Tonics, was approved for a $150,000 loan. The loan is expected to close soon, Latona said. La Pavia makes bitter concentrate sodas for use in craft cocktails under the brand Top Note Tonics. It is based in the Lincoln Warehouse in Bay View.

Hartland-based Vivid Microscopy LLC was approved for a $50,000 grant and $55,333 loan. The loan has not closed, and none of the grant funds have been requested so far, Latona said. Vivid, which was established by Jayson Kurfis in May 2018, has developed patented technology related to probes that can image, quantify and sort cells based on levels of oxidative stress.

Bayside-based MRH Products Inc., dba QikVin Wine Preservation, was approved for a $26,666 grant and a $100,000 loan. The loan has not closed, and none of the grant funds have been requested so far, Latona said. QikVin is a device that preserves open bottles of wine by removing oxygen through a valve in the neck of the bottle.

The first round of Capital Catalyst funding went to four companies, and totaled $385,000 in loans and $90,000 in grants.

The MEDC is accepting applications on a rolling basis for the next round of funding, Latona said.

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.