An early-stage tele-health company will join the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce in a California-bound business delegation.
Yesterday’s Pressure Chamber took the form of a head-to-head pitch competition in which five startups each had 5 minutes to tell their story. Participants were graded in part by judge scoring and in part by audience votes. The event was put on by GMCoC as part of Madison’s Forward Fest.
DotCom Therapy, a recent addition the Madison startup ecosystem, was chosen as winner.
Emily Purdom and Rachel Robinson, co-founders for DotCom Therapy, will join the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce on an upcoming trip to San Francisco, where they will have the chance to meet with top Silicon Valley venture capital firms.
This year’s contestants were:
*DotCom Therapy, a growing remote health company which recently moved from Missouri to Madison.
Purdom and Robinson have been traveling around the world this year spreading the word about their startup, which provides remote telehealth services like speech therapy through a cloud-based platform. Purdom, who gave the presentation yesterday, says they are trying to fill a “pervasive shortage” of speech language pathologists.
She says DotCom Therapy is “removing location as a barrier” for millions of kids that aren’t well-served by their school district, which are federally mandated to provide speech therapy services, Purdom says.
Rather than having independent contractors working for the company, DotCom Therapy employs therapists full-time and offers them full benefits. The company has grown from a two-person operation two years ago to now having 56 employees in total, working across 18 states and four countries.
Just last school year, DotCom Therapy delivered over 50,000 speech therapy sessions. And Purdom says the company isn’t limited to speech therapy alone.
“We have expanded to offer occupational therapy services and mental services,” she said. “Also, our internal team has the experience necessary to scale into clinical and hospital settings — so that’s the plan.”
The company, which won in the information technology category for the Governor’s Business Plan Contest earlier this year, will be undergoing a Series A funding round this fall.
“We want to represent the Madison community well, and to for us to have won this is just… we’re blown away,” Purdom told WisBusiness.com. “I mean, it’s such an incredible opportunity to share what we’re doing in Madison and take it to California.”
She says the mindset going into those investor meetings will be “to gain as much experience as we can.”
“We want to take every meeting that we can to tell our story; it’s all about finding the right people to connect with,” she added. “Not just the right resources, but that’s accompanied by people who really believe in our mission.”
*Cardigan, an app to replace the centuries-old tradition of exchanging business cards.
Matt Younkle, CEO of Cardigan, is no newcomer to the startup world. He’s a co-founder and strategic advisor for Murfie, a music-organizing service which got its start in 2010, but he got his claim to fame from the TurboTap, a specialized device which pours beer faster than a traditional tap.
With Cardigan, Younkle wants to infiltrate and overturn the everyday process of exchanging business cards and other information. With a quick tap, users of Cardigan can give each other contact info without worrying about it being lost in the shuffle.
“The most important aspect of growing Cardigan is that virality is baked right into our product,” Younkle said. “If active Cardigan users make four or five connections per week, and two percent of those convert to active users… we grow to 100 million users in five years, assuming 20 percent annual churn.”
*Curate Solutions, a startup which provides insight to construction companies using artificial intelligence to find bid opportunities.
The company uses its AI software to scan the thousands of documents that come out of Wisconsin cities, counties and school boards every week. It can scan pages much more quickly than a human could ever read them, focusing on keywords and phrases which often indicate an opportunity for a project.
“What our customers tell us they need is early and reliable information about upcoming projects — which is what we’re doing,” said founder Taralinda Willis.
The company was started near the end of 2016, with a product launch in January of this year, and now has monthly recurring revenues of nearly $7,000.
“We are currently growing, and are on pace to double our revenue by the end of the year,” Willis added.
*SimpleMachines, a data analytics company which aims to provide programmable computer chips for big data analysis.
The company is building a patented chip “to serve the growing markets of AI, big data and mobile computing, starting with the multi-billion dollar data center industry,” according to company founder Karu Sankaralingam.
He says the data center industry is rapidly growing to about $1.5 billion dollars, based upon conversations he and others at SimpleMachines have had with companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook “and a couple of others.”
“This entire market is actually grappling with a huge problem,” he said. “Big data and AI is taking over lots of industries and is disrupting things like finance, healthcare, insurance… all of this is also launching whole new businesses and industries.”
The issue, Sankaralingam says, is that data centers and the chips that run the numbers are “simply not keeping up.” He says his company can fix this problem by providing a chip which drastically increases processing speed while cutting down on energy usage.
*ThirdSpace, a company-culture focused startup which promises to solve issues surrounding employee engagement.
This Madison-based startup was recently designated as a Qualified New Business Venture by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which means investors in the young company can get a 25 percent state tax credit on their investments.
“Our goal is to create a platform to help with culture by engaging employees, taking them on a meaningful journey and capturing workplace knowledge,” said Zach Blumenfeld, COO and co-founder of ThirdSpace.
The company does so by providing watercooler chat functionality, gamified progress monitoring and a feature for collecting and organizing collective workplace knowledge. It currently has 8 customers with around 400 users, and targets companies with up to 500 employees with its engagement platform.
–By Alex Moe