$900,000 in state matching grants advance 11 innovative small businesses

Eleven small businesses in Wisconsin will receive up to $900,000 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 19th 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 eight years, 140 awards totaling nearly $11.4 million have been awarded. Those businesses reported obtaining $62.7 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;
  • ChloBis Water, Inc. of Madison has developed an energy-efficient process to remove salt from wastewater so that it can be safely discharged and convert that salt into valuable chemicals (e.g., caustic soda, bleach), creating a sustainable resource recovery cycle;
  • COnovate of Shorewood will produce sustainable, higher performing carbon materials to help power the wireless world while making it a safer place for users of electric vehicles, power tools, consumer electronics and other devices that draw energy from lithium-ion batteries;
  • Igneous IP Holdings LLC of Wales is a fast-paced additive manufacturing (AM) startup that created PrintFoam. The company spun out of MIT in 2016 with the aim to create lighter and less expensive 3D printed parts by leveraging the power of foamed materials;
  • Neurosetta, LLC of Madison is transforming human neurodevelopmental disorder risk screening and drug discovery. Using their RosetteArray technology, Neurosetta creates custom models of the human brain and spinal cord in a high-throughput screening platform suitable for unparalleled, comprehensive developmental neurotoxicity screening of chemicals and genetic mutations; and
  • Ubitrix International of Milwaukee is developing a framework that will analyze mHealth apps for security and privacy compliance, pinpoint weaknesses and vulnerabilities in these apps, and make recommendations for enhancement and revisions.

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

  • AIQ Solutions, Inc. of Madison has developed a software technology platform that generates quantitative intelligence to deliver actionable intelligence that enhances the understanding of treatment response for complex diseases;
  • GoDx of Madison is developing a simple, rapid, low-cost test for food-borne or water-borne gut bugs that cause diarrheal disease; the second leading cause of death in children under age five globally. Knowing quickly which bug causes the disease can help guide treatment, improve health and save lives;
  • IF, LLC of Stoughton develops and manufactures medical ultrasound instrumentation used to diagnose and monitor osteoporosis. The company is developing a novel bone densitometer utilizing photo-acoustics to perform a non-invasive, chemical analysis of bone;
  • PhylloTech, Inc. of Middleton is redefining the production of cytokines by eliminating expensive manufacturing and purification steps. The company has developed a new method to produce cytokines by engineering tobacco plants to manufacture, purify and deliver target proteins directly to leaf surfaces of living plants for economical harvests; and
  • Rapid Radicals Technology of Milwaukee is creating a rapid, decentralized wastewater treatment system that can treat water 16 times faster than conventional treatment.

“This round’s 11 startups will get a boost from SBIR Advance training and state matching funds to help them commercialize technologies that could aid in cancer treatment, produce lighter cars and planes, extend the range of electric vehicles and more,” said Brian Walsh, Program Manager. “As with previous cohorts, we continue to have a strong showing of companies that received Federal grants from the NIH for health-related innovations. In addition, there are several companies with funding from the National Science Foundation and USDA for projects focusing on wastewater treatment, battery technologies and additive manufacturing. We look forward to working closely with all these teams to accelerate the transition from promising technologies to exciting and impactful new products.”

The U.S. government created SBIR/STTR programs to stimulate domestic high-tech innovation, providing $4.2 billion in federal research funding in 2021. 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.

“Innovation is part of Wisconsin’s DNA as a state. People are always looking for new ways of doing things or doing things better,” said Aaron Hagar, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at WEDC. “The SBIR Advance program captures that spirit and gives some of Wisconsin’s most technically exciting young companies the boost they need to get to the next level. 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 November.

SBIR Advance is part of a Start-Seed-Scale (S3) initiative WEDC is pursuing with the help of the UW System 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. Another S3 collaborative effort between WEDC and the UW System is the Ideadvance Seed Fund, also managed by UW System’s CTC.

About Center for Technology Commercialization

The Center for Technology Commercialization is part of the University of Wisconsin System’s 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.