BrightStar Announces Investment in Milwaukee Health Tech Startup

MILWAUKEE, August 23, 2023 – BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. today announced an investment it made earlier this year in Geno.Me, a health tech startup based out of Milwaukee founded by Britt Gottschalk.

The company’s technology platform links genetic information with medical records and allows researchers at universities, companies, and hospitals to search and purchase data to advance their studies, thus furthering precision medicine.  Individuals giving consent for Geno.Me to sell their anonymized
information receive payments each and every time their data file is used in research. This would be the first searchable ecosystem of this type in the world.  The company is actively seeking contributors as well as researchers to join the platform.

“Britt has vision and is hyper-focused, making her the type of entrepreneur investors get excited about. It’s great that BrightStar could come in with capital to help get this seed 2 round done,” said Dana Guthrie the Managing Partner of Gateway Capital whose firm provided the original seed capital for the company in 2021.  “This is also the exact type of company we want starting and growing here in Milwaukee.  It has incredibly high potential.”  HealthX Ventures out of Madison led the current investment round.

For more information about the company, please visit their website at

BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Celebrates 10 Years


 This past month, BrightStar Wisconsin marked its 10-year anniversary of its charitable mission to create quality jobs in the state by investing in rapidly scalable early-stage ventures.  The Foundation has been involved in getting some of the most successful Wisconsin startups going over the past decade.

“Looking back, in so many ways this has exceeded what I could have imagined,” said Tom Shannon, BrightStar’s Founder and current Executive Board Chair. “There have been so many twists and turns and first of its kind problems along the way, but it has been a fun ride.  In the end, it was about getting capital into as many quality, job creating Wisconsin tech companies as possible to let them do what they do best—innovate and grow.”

Most of the first year in 2013 was focused on lining up initial capital support from the Foundation’s founders, building out the structures of the organization, and most importantly, advancing a very creative and unique non-profit model with the IRS to receive its 501(c)(3) status.   “This is something that hadn’t been done before and frankly I was a bit skeptical when Tom Shannon laid out his vision,” said Anthony Handzlik of Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, BrightStar’s corporate attorney.  “Helping create an organization so novel was challenging, especially with initial push back from the IRS, but once we figured it out, we knew we had an incredible asset for Wisconsin.  We are very proud to be associated with the organization.”

With the approval of its charitable status and commitments from its founding donors, BrightStar invested in 14 companies that following year, ventures that included Janesville based Shine Technologies and Madison based Fetch, Wisconsin’s first two unicorns, which are startups now valued more than $1B.  “Our mission is to deploy capital as efficiently as possible into Wisconsin tech startups for the good of Wisconsin,” Shannon added.  “And our evergreen model means that when those opportunities provide returns, that capital gets re-deployed into more and more state businesses.”

Getting capital into Wisconsin entrepreneurs and their rapidly scalable businesses is what BrightStar has done, investing over $10 Million into more than 70 companies representing 15 different counties from around the state.  These companies have created over 1,500 jobs.  “I have seen firsthand how BrightStar fills a unique gap for the state in helping get deals done, both by providing new capital and by leveraging their relationships to increase the chances of success.  Their capital and introductions have been invaluable as well as their continued counsel,” said Lindsey Roddy, the CEO of Milwaukee based Roddy Medical.  A sentiment shared by the President of another portfolio company, Phil Fonfara of Blue Line Battery in Beloit, “BrightStar played an essential role in helping us complete our fundraising round with its capital and through the introductions they made to other investors.  It has been people associated with BrightStar since our investment that have been most active in opening doors to strategic partners, customers, and other investors.”

“It is amazing to see the positive changes that have taken place over the past 10 years in the Wisconsin early-stage ecosystem, and we are proud to have been a key player in advancing so many of them,” commented Jeff Harris, BrightStar’s co-founder.  “We are betting on Wisconsin, its people, its ideas, and its work ethic.  These investments are paying off as we have already invested substantially more than has ever been donated.  Each charitable gift grows over time to further support more and more Wisconsin businesses.  With the model proven and successes shown in our portfolio companies, it’s exciting now to have prospective donors contact us expressing interest in supporting our unique venture philanthropy model, and with their help and the returns from our investment, to drive the Foundation to an ever-growing fund to support our best and brightest talent and innovations.”

Please click here to see the recent BizTimes article celebrating our 10-year anniversary and accomplishments!

BrightStar Announces Investment in Madison Business
Company Moved from Singapore


MILWAUKEE, March 23, 2023 – BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. today announced an investment in Child Health Imprints after it moved its headquarters from Singapore to Madison last year.

The company’s technology platform allows clinicians in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) to more effectively and efficiently review and act upon the extensive amount   of data, including clinical records, physiological data, and lab reports, that is generated by each preemie every day.  The evolution of the product will also allow for artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, video analytics, and pervasive sensing to improve neonatal outcomes.

“Our team is excited to be in Wisconsin and to focus on the US market,” said the company’s CEO, Harpreet Singh.  “We are very thankful to HealthX Ventures for facilitating the move and leading this investment round and for BrightStar to add on and help provide us the capital we need to make this project successful.  It is not an exaggeration to say that this venture is going to save babies’ lives.”


For more information about the company, please visit their website at

BrightStar Announces Investment in RoddyMedical, Inc

(MILWAUKEE, WI, October 27, 2022) – BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. has announced that it has invested $150,000 in Wauwatosa based, RoddyMedical, Inc., an early-stage innovative medical device development company. The investment will help the company finance thescale-up of production manufacturing, and inventory of the firm’s first wearable Medical Device, the SecureMove-TLC®

The SecureMove-TLC is a wearable, single-use medical line securement device designed to secure and manage different types of medical tubes, IV lines, and cords to improve IV medication safety, support patient therapy efficiency, prevent clinical staff trips/falls and reduce dressing disruptions that can lead to infections. The tension mitigation device is uniquely designed to eliminate hazardous pulling and line/cord dislodgement during therapy, transport, and patient movement.  While current devices will dislodge between 4-9 lbs. of force, the SecureMove mitigates 80+ lbs. of pull force, providing a new level of safety and security for hospital clinicians and their patients.


“From the moment I was introduced to the company, its technology, and its founder Lindsey Roddy, I’ve wondered how in the world has this problem not been solved yet,” said Todd Sobotka, BrightStar’s Executive Director.  “Kudos to Lindsey’s passion and the complementary experiences from the rest of the team in engineering a unique solution. I think this product is poised to make a significant difference in the day-to-day activities of so many medical professionals and improve the lives of patients.”


Over the past 4 years, the company has developed its technology with the help and feedback of over 150 clinicians, assistance from the UW-Milwaukee’s Prototyping Center, as well as programs and grants from UW-Milwaukee’s I-Corps program, WEDC Ideadvance, and others.

“We stayed laser focused on solving a very real issue that I personally experienced as a nurse. We wanted to ensure that the product design met the needs voiced by frontline healthcare workers. So, after 37 iterations, and intense work with clinicians and patients, we now have an FDA registered product being used by patients in Midwest hospitals,” stated CEO, Lindsey Roddy RN, PhD(c). “We are receiving letters of support and testimonials from nurses and clinicians across the country, requesting the SecureMove-TLC because it improves patient safety, work-flow and quality of care.”


For more about RoddyMedical, please visit

BrightStar Invests to Defeat Cancer

MILWAUKEE, September, 2022 – BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation today announced that it has invested in Milwaukee based Tundra Targeted Therapeutics, Inc., joining Golden Angels Investors in the funding round.

The company, originating as a spin-off from the Medical College of Wisconsin, has developed a platform that allows a patient’s own T-cells to more efficiently attack and destroy cancer cells.  Once fully commercialized and available for human use, it would be more effective, limit toxicities, and lower treatment costs in about 30% of the types of cancer than other therapies now available.

“We have all been touched by cancer in some way, and the pain to families dealing with childhood cancer can be even more tragic,” said Todd Sobotka, BrightStar’s Executive Director.  “We are proud that our investment can help to make this technology a reality and hope that near term results even exceed our expectations.”

Following the positive evidence shown thus far in the lab and in animal models, the company expects that additional proven results from the upcoming human safety and efficacy trials  would position this technology to become the initial standard of care therapy for all relevant cancer treatments.  The company will initially focus on CD30 positive pediatric cancers and is seeking patients to participate in studies beginning this fall.  CD30 is commonly expressed on Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, neuroblastoma, germ cell tumors, and leukemia.

For more information about Tundra Targeted Therapeutics, please reach out to

BrightStar’s Latest Investment Helps Publishers and Authors

MILWAUKEE, August 10, 2022 – BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation has invested in DropCap, Inc., a company that has developed technologies to help independent book publishing companies and authors create more targeted and cost-effective ways to sell their books globally.

The La Crosse based business offers two products. The first, DropCap Rights, is a software platform that helps book publishers market, monetize, and manage the translation rights to their titles. To date, DropCap has facilitated more than 1,600 rights licenses. The second product that will launch later this year, DropCap Data, is a SaaS tool that provides publishers and authors ways to measure their books’ online discoverability and suggests cost-effective book marketing opportunities.

“I wish I had this technology when my book was released,” said Mike Malatesta, a BrightStar investment committee member, whose first book, Owner Shift, was published last year. “The Data product would have given me insights that would have been incredible in promoting and marketing my book. Hopefully in working with my publisher, we can see how the Rights platform can create international licensing opportunities for it, expanding sales way beyond the U.S.”

The DropCap team has worked within the industry for decades and together in a past, successful publishing technology venture. “Rights licensing in publishing hasn’t changed much in 50 years and we knew that our technology solution would resonate with both rights buyers and sellers,” said Mark Levine, DropCap’s CEO. “The response has been incredible. We already work with 80 publishers and more than 1,500 rights buyers in over 100 countries, and with the launch of the Data product, 2023 is going to be a big year for us.”

For more information about DropCap, please visit their website at

BrightStar Wisconsin invests in a novel, animal
sterilization technology company

BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce its investment in Madison based SpayVac earlier this month.  The company’s revolutionary drug release technology allows for successful sterilization of animals with only a single injection.  Originally developed by a Canadian company for other applications, the SpayVac team brings its unique experience and industry connections to re-focusing the intellectual property on the animal health market, initially targeting the feral animal mitigation market.  The company has decided to make Wisconsin its home.

“I have fallen in love with what Wisconsin can offer our company, especially here in Madison and the potential ties to the vet school as well as area expertise that can help enhance our technology,” said Tom D’Orazio, the company CEO.  “Issues with feral animals have reached crisis level in parts of the world and also within the United States, and SpayVac is here to help those groups struggling to get a handle on the problem.”

The company already has contracts all over the world to address feral horses and deer and have received inquiries on pigs, fish, primates, and even cats and dogs.  The company anticipates expanding from the feral market to companion animals, eventually eliminating the need for surgical procedures for household pets.

“It’s incredible that this company is deciding to do this in Wisconsin and BrightStar is excited to help make it happen.  I was intrigued when they presented to the Investment Committee,” said Jeff Rusinow, a committee member.  “As an avid birder, for years I’ve been aware of this problem, specifically feral cats and their impact on bird populations, and am excited how much of a difference a technology like this can make.  This will allow government agencies and non-profits to more effectively and humanely address this growing issue of population control for so many feral animal species that cause financial and personal hardship throughout many parts of our country and the rest of the world.”

BrightStar Announces New Investment

BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. today announced that it has invested in De Pere based ReadySet Technologies, joining lead investor, Rock River Capital Partners out of Madison.

The goal of ReadySet is to leverage its experience and virtual reality (VR) technology to create an all-in-one virtual retail lab platform for product development, category management, consumer research and sales disciplines to quickly create, share, test and optimize concepts prior to any physical investment. The company’s retail VR software features a 3D product model library, 3D planogram software, eye-tracking enabled research and retail sales presentation solutions.

“It’s rare to find an early-stage company that has a proven and established management team, Fortune 100 companies as customers, and a world class VR software solution ready for the rapidly expanding metaverse in a post COVID-19 world,” said Chris Eckstrom of Rock River Partners.  “This is what we have in ReadySet Technologies.  We have been tracking them for over two years and were fortunately able to be their partner in this capital round.”

The company already boasts a number of the most recognizable brands in the country as its clients and is outpacing forecasts for 2022.

For more about ReadySet, please visit

BrightStar Wisconsin’s First Investment of 2022

MILWAUKEE, March 9, 2022 – BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation has made a $100,000 investment in FindSpotz, Inc., a Madison based SaaS company.  FindSpotz (dba Spotz) does just that…finds spots for people to congregate. The company offers an efficient management software platform to manage, publish and make community spaces (parks and rec, churches, schools) available to rent. The company already has 15 paying customers including the City of Madison. BrightStar was impressed with the customizable set of tools Spotz has assembled to ensure hosts do not miss opportunities to monetize their valuable space assets. “Nobody seems to have effectively solved this problem,” says Jay Wigdale of BrightStar’s Investment Committee.  “Spotz allows communities to better monetize and promote usage of its assets.”  The Foundation collaborated with Mark Bakken, an angel investor in the Madison area, as well as recently formed Milwaukee Venture Partners.