MKE Tech Hub awards grants to six local tech startups

The MKE Tech Hub Coalition awarded $60,000 in grants to six local tech startups who completed FOR-M, the coalition’s six-week idea-stage accelerator program.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation used funds from its Seed Accelerator Program to support the startups, which include Otto Sciences, Secure Bridges, STEAM Milwaukee, Talimer, WhereToHunt and WorkShift.

The WEDC awarded a total of $120,000 for the coalition to administer. The first round of grants was announced during the FOR-M spring cohort founder showcase.

“Our early analysis of the ecosystem showed a gap in support of early-stage founders,” MKE Tech Hub Coalition CEO Kathy Henrich said in a statement. “These grants help accelerate their entrepreneurial journey.”

Winners were all FOR-M alumni and were selected by a committee of investors representative of the community and spanning different stages of investment, according to a press release.

The following six startups were selected from a list of 23 applicants:

  • Otto Sciences: Developed an online marketplace where early-stage biotech and biopharma companies, scientists, physicians and labs can seamlessly cooperate and outsource experimentation.
  • Secure Bridges: Developed a web and mobile-based app to connect sex trafficked and homeless youth with city-to-city resources.
  • STEAM Milwaukee: Provides Milwaukee students and teachers with access to resources that promote excitement of discovery and development of strong skills in the domains of science, technology, engineering, art, and math.
  • Talimer: Launched a digital marketplace to connect freelance tech professionals with jobs.
  • WhereToHunt: Developed a platform that helps hunters identify occupied and unoccupied hunting land.
  • WorkShift: Staffing platform that matches gig workers in the restaurant, hospitality and events industry with companies that need to fill a shift last minute.

The coalition’s most recent cohort shows that FOR-M is reaching a new audience, Henrich said, adding that 75% of the cohort’s founders are from demographics not traditionally represented in tech, including women, people of color, disabled and veterans, she said in a statement.

Applications for the second round of grants will open June 1st. Click here to apply.

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