Tech and Biotech: OnRamp pairs startups with big retailers; Moxe Health adds funds; GymDandy chosen for accelerator

October 8, 2016

At least half a dozen Wisconsin startups will meet with big-name retailers, and dozens of others will get free registration to commune with companies and investors at gener8tor ’s OnRamp Retail conference in Chicago next week.

Nearly 200 startups, dozens of corporations, and a host of venture capitalists will converge on Soldier Field on Tuesday for a daylong gathering that’s all about innovation in retail and e-commerce.

Local companies Solomo Technology; WeightUp Solutions; Markable; MIOsoft: AkitaBox and Digsite are among those with one-on-one meetings scheduled, to pitch potential partnerships or product purchases.

Businesses participating include Best Buy; Mattel; Kohl’s; Target; Walgreens; Harley-Davidson; CUNA Mutual Group; and U.S. Cellular.

It’s the second national conference in Chicago organized by gener8tor, the business accelerator in Madison and Milwaukee, and the first to focus on retail.

“The OnRamp series is our effort to create even greater synergies between the corporate, investment and startup communities in Illinois, Wisconsin and the Midwest and to attract greater attention and participation from these same populations on the country’s coasts in Silicon Valley, New York, Seattle and beyond,” said gener8tor’s director of business development Sara Woldt, co-founder and chief organizer of OnRamp.

Keynote speaker at the conference is Anand Sawal, CEO of CB Insights, a New York City company that analyzes data and predicts corporate trends.

Gener8tor’s first national conference, also at Chicago’s Soldier Field, focused on changes in the insurance industry.

Moxe gains funding

Moxe Health, a Madison health IT startup, is adding $5.5 million to its coffers with an investment round led by Safeguard Scientifics, a publicly traded, Philadelphia venture capital firm.

Moxe, at 2 S. Carroll St., has developed technology that helps health care organizations and insurance companies share information about patients.

“We’re almost a clearinghouse, ensuring only the right information is being shared,” said Moxe founder and CEO Dan Wilson. While electronic health records systems are working to share more patient data, “we’re positioning ourselves as a complement to what the EHRs are providing,” he said.

The ultimate goals, said Wilson -- a former employee of Verona EHR giant Epic Systems Corp. -- are to give insurance companies and health care providers a full picture of a patient’s health care. And for patients: “Presumably, they receive better care, a better outcome, at less cost,” he said.

Moxe has about 10 employees and so far, has raised nearly $6 million. When the company was founded in 2012, its plan was to match uninsured patients to the nearest clinic as a way to reduce the number of emergency room visits. Wilson said a couple of years ago, the company pivoted to its current mission.

GymDandy to accelerate

GymDandy, a Madison startup that makes it easier to find and book athletic space, is one of five companies taking part in the Stadia Sports Business Accelerator this fall in St. Louis.

GymDandy says it was chosen from more than 200 applicants from around the U.S. for the 12-week program.

Co-founder and CEO Nicholas Kartos says GymDandy’s service is aimed at youth and adult sports teams and active adults, to help them book space for a game or a practice online, instead of having to call a long list of schools and recreation departments.

“It’s like Airbnb for athletic space,” Kartos said. “It’s a process that takes hours and cuts it down to minutes.”

Founded in August 2015, GymDandy launched a pilot program with its first customer last month, Kartos said. The startup, at 100 S. Baldwin St., has five full-time employees. It recently raised $300,000 from investors in Wisconsin, Minneapolis and Boston, with participation by Stadia, as well.

Stadia Ventures calls itself a “sports innovation hub” for entrepreneurs and investors. It holds two accelerator programs a year. Fishidy, a Madison location-based social network for fishing enthusiasts, took part in Stadia’s fall 2015 session.