Stoughton-based GrowthChart Records Inc. was the grand prize winner at the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Awards Wednesday. It will have first dibs on more than $150,000 of awards the finalists will share, about half of which is cash and half of which is in-kind services such as office space.
The awards in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest were the finale of the two-day Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, which was hosted by the Wisconsin Technology Council at Venue 42 in The Brewery complex in downtown Milwaukee.
Co-founders Patricia Wooldridge, Brent Brenner, Josh Brenner and Jared Wooldridge founded GrowthChart based on technology they developed to allow child care centers to record voice documentation. The hands-free platform – an app that connects with Google Home smart speakers – is used by preschools, daycares and in-home providers to take notes for parents throughout the day.
Brent Brenner said GrowthChart’s storytelling set it apart from the other companies in the business plan contest, which concluded with a pitch by the 13 finalists to judges Tuesday at the conference.
[caption id="attachment_383144" align="alignright" width="480"] The finalists in the 2019 Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest.[/caption]
“Just sharing the personal story of what the inspiration for GrowthChart was,” he said. “My wife being a preschool teacher and Patty being a childcare administrator helped, and sharing the story, the problem and then a simple solution to really help tackle it.”
GrowthChart used the conference to meet investors as it seeks a $500,000 funding round to continue to develop and build its product over the next 18 months. Part of that will be hiring additional employees, Brent said.
“I’m just looking forward to where this is going to go. I think there’s tons of potential and … we have over 90% of the market share to tackle and so we’re eager to start that,” Patricia Wooldridge said.
Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, said GrowthChart pinpointed a challenge that was simple to understand and came up with a solution that could easily be made available to childcare centers in a scalable subscription model.
“Anybody who’s had a kid and has that child in a childcare center, they know that they’re always thinking about that child: ‘How’s it going? Is Johnny getting his diapers changed?’ And this allows them to get daily reports that are dense and can give all the information that’s needed and really help especially the certified childcare centers spend more time on dealing with the kids versus old-fashioned paper documentation,” Still said.
The other category winners were:
Life Sciences: Madison-based Otologic Technologies, Aaron Moberly. The company would pair artificial intelligence with a digital otoscope to help diagnose middle ear infections.
Business Services: Madison-based Blexx Technology LLC, Erin Tenderholdt. Created a device that would quickly sanitize and disintegrate hypodermic needles.
Advanced Manufacturing: Janesville-based Templar Industries. Mark Schweiger. Developing a proprietary liquid-composite armor technology that absorbs projectile energy.
Additional finalists were:
Monona-based DarkAero Inc., River Karls. An aircraft kit manufacturer focused on speed, range and efficiency.
Kronenwetter-based ERbin, Michelle Goetsch. The digital recycling education platform aims to make the process easier for consumers.
River Falls-based Impact Sports LLC, Joshua Cleveland. The company has created a prototype of a more flexible football helmet based on an infant’s head.
Shorewood-based SafeLi LLC, Carol Hirschmugl. Has secured a patent to produce graphene-based materials that would disrupt the lithium-ion battery market.
Viroqua-based Seedlinked, Nicolas Enjalbert. A platform to connect growers and plant breeders.
Fond du Lac-based Skip and Co. Maritime, Robert Carsey. A maritime training and captain’s licensing course provider.
Fitchburg-based SpayVac for Wildlife, Thomas D’Orazio. Has developed contraceptive vaccines for humane wildlife population control.
Middleton-based Voximetry LLC, Joe Grudzinski. Focused on commercializing improvements in nuclear medicine dosimetry.
Madison-based Zero Barrier LLC, Evan Wolfenden. The company has two patents pending for its metal 3D printing factory to remove barriers to mass production for small manufacturers.