$700,000 in state matching grants advance 8 innovative small businesses

MADISON – Eight small businesses in Wisconsin will receive up to $700,000 to commercialize their innovations, thanks to the SBIR Advance program’s latest round of funding.

The state matching grant program provides assistance to companies in the process of completing a project in the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. This is the 23rd round of SBIR Advance funding since this collaboration by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) began in 2014.

Over the past decade 174 awards totaling nearly $15 million have been awarded. Those businesses reported obtaining $76.6 million in follow on funding since receiving the SBIR Advance matching grants.

The Phase 1 recipients, each receiving up to $75,000 match, are:

  • Cell Reprogramming & Therapeutics, LLC. of Wauwatosa is focused on the development and commercialization of cell-based technologies to target diseases of the central nervous system;
  • Intuitive Biosciences of Madison is developing the first at-home testing platform to leverage the diagnostic power of cell-to-cell communications. The platform has broad applications, including cancer and infectious diseases;
  • Maxwave, LLC. of Waunakee is working on a new paradigm of energy generation and transfer through the concept of wireless power beaming (WPB) to efficiently transmit renewable energy over long distances without physical wires and infrastructure; and
  • SixLine SemiConductor, Inc. of Middleton focuses on commercializing a patented aligned carbon nanotube arrays for next generation wireless devices and computing.

The Phase 2 recipients, each receiving up to $100,000 match, are:

  • Badger Technology Group of Port Washington is an entrepreneurial technology development company that is focused on Renewable Energy and Aerospace projects. The development work includes software development, hardware design, systems integration, and certification of advanced systems;
  • COnovate of Shorewood produces innovative carbon materials to help power the wireless world while making it a safer place for the users of electric vehicles, power tools, consumer electronics, and many other devices that draw energy from batteries;
  • Fleet Cycles Inc. of Monona designs and manufactures a best-in-class commercial-grade electric cargo bike that is more effective than traditional fleet vehicles, has more benefits and capabilities, and can be adopted more easily allowing commercial and public sector organizations reach their budget, emission and electrification goals; and
  • Steam Instruments of Madison is a pioneering startup at the forefront of high-spatial resolution mass spectrometry technology. They are dedicated to revolutionizing the field with their innovative solutions designed to enhance mass range, quantum efficiency, and spatial resolution.

“We funded four Phase I teams and four Phase II teams for the most recent round of SBIR Advance grants,” said Rob Baranowski, SBIR Advance Program Manager. “We have a diverse group of companies that have received funding from the NSF, the NIH, the Air Force, the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), and the Department of Energy. We have made a concerted effort to increase the number of Defense contracts awarded to our state, and we are always pleased to see our efforts pay off with more of these contracts being awarded to Wisconsin small businesses.

Baranowski continued, “We will once again be using the Innovation Within training group for our Phase I Lean Startup class. Innovation Within is involved in running some of the national I-Corps programs, and we are looking forward to the training they will provide to our Phase I teams.”

The U.S. government created SBIR/STTR programs to stimulate domestic high-tech innovation, budgeting over $4 billion in federal research funding annually. Because those funds cannot be used for commercialization activities, the SBIR Advance program fills the gap. Funds can be used to pursue market research, customer validation, intellectual property work or other areas that speed commercialization.

SBIR Advance grant recipients receive CTC staff support available throughout the commercialization process, including Lean Startup training, business plan review and other consulting.

“The recipients of this year’s SBIR Advance grants are pursuing breakthroughs in areas critical to Wisconsin’s economic future, such as biohealth and renewable energy technology,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “Supporting these startups through the combined resources of the Universities of Wisconsin and WEDC is in the great tradition of the Wisconsin Idea – briniging to bear the innovative power of businesses, the state, and our educational system. We have seen the results of this important program in bridging the gap from innovation to customers, investors, and success for Wisconsin.”

For more details on the SBIR Advance program, visit or e-mail . The next solicitation is expected to open in late summer.

SBIR Advance is part of a Start-Seed-Scale (S3) initiative WEDC is pursuing with the help of the Universities of Wisconsin and other business leaders throughout the state to remove barriers to high-tech commercialization. Under the S3 umbrella, WEDC and its economic development partners are implementing financial and operational assistance programs designed specifically to address Wisconsin’s business startup and seed-funding challenges.

About Center for Technology Commercialization

The Center for Technology Commercialization is part of the University of Wisconsin Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship. CTC provides one-on-one expert consulting to early-stage emerging technology businesses throughout Wisconsin. CTC has collaborated in acquiring more than $100 million in federal and other funding for clients. Learn more at; follow @WisconsinCTC on Twitter.

About Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Learn more at; follow @WEDCNews on Twitter.

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