Ideadvance in action: 2 products made better

“Innovation” and “disruption,” are words you hear throughout the business and academic worlds, but what does that really look like and how does it make a difference?

Ideadvance Seed Fund awardees Lindsey Roddy of RoddyMedical LLC in Milwaukee and Randy Clark of RCI Engineering in Mayville shared their entrepreneurial journeys at the Feb. 6 UW System Board of Regents’ Research, Economic Development and Innovation (REDI) Committee.

After a harrowing personal experience, Roddy, a registered nurse, knew she could improve safety for patients and nurses alike by decluttering healthcare workspaces. RoddyMedical LLC is disrupting healthcare by “helping patients move, safely” through development of an innovative organizer designed to allow nurses to reduce hazardous medical tubing.

Roddy, CEO and founder, discovered that there is a clear value in safety, yet healthcare requires you to quantify improvements, and “safety” is extremely difficult in that regard. The Ideadvance program provided the support and mentorship to explore that problem. Through customer discovery and networking, Roddy was able to develop quantifiable milestones around safety, refine a competitive edge and evolve her product through numerous iterations.

“This program gave us focus around what value-added, measurable milestones we needed to include in our STTR application, which made us that more competitive,” Roddy said.

RCI Engineering, an established equipment manufacturer, started exploring a new customer base, public works, after learning lessons over the years in the more fragile agriculture market.

Randy Clark started looking to develop a “do it all” machine but pivoted to a speciality ditch mower because of the actual answers he got during interviews in customer discovery to test his product development assumptions, saving his company from a potentially failing path.

Clark commented, “Anyone looking to start a business in any related field should definitely look at this program.”

Ideadvance New Idea Concierge Idella Yamben brought Roddy and Clark to the presentation to demonstrate the special opportunity for this program to help established businesses diversify and solve problems. “It allows passionate, intelligent people to explore ideas that improve lives and the Wisconsin economy.”

Following the meeting, Clark and Roddy networked with Regents and state officials alike, making integral connections with experienced industry leaders.

In fact, Roddy allowed Regent Torrey Tiedeman to take home the prototype she used during her presentation, with the promise he would provide an honest review of the product once he used it to help with his grandmother’s at-home care.

Clark, Yamben & Roddy were joined by Melissa “Missy” Hughes, WEDC Secretary and CEO, & David Brukardt, UW System Associate Vice President, Office of Economic Development

Ideadvance Seed Fund is funded by UW System & WEDC.

If you or someone you know has a business idea that would benefit from the Ideadvance Seed Fund Program, find out more about the 11th round of funding.