THU AM News: Geno.Me lands $400,000 in seed funding; Seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases on upward trend so far this month

— A biotech startup called Geno.Me has landed $400,000 in seed funding from Gateway Capital, an early-stage investment firm based in Milwaukee.

The company’s platform connects electronic health record data with genomic information from services like 23andMe, MyChart and in hopes of furthering medical research. Individuals who share their data with the platform are compensated on a monthly basis, while the business promises them total privacy and anonymity. 

These linked datasets are encrypted and sold to companies conducting precision health research and developing pharmaceuticals. 

Geno.Me was founded by Britt Gottschalk, a management consultant who has worked in health care, insurance and business communications. The business is currently based in Madison but plans to relocate to Milwaukee after this latest investment, the release shows. Funding will be used to hire new staff and for product development. 

“We as individual patients have the power to choose whether to share our own data because it belongs to us, and it should be that simple,” Gottschalk said. “Geno.Me aims to incentivize its users to share their de-identified health profile while providing the blueprint for the future of precision medicine.”

HealthX Ventures Managing Partner Mark Bakken, who has personally invested in the company, says researchers need access to “far more data tying DNA to health history” than is currently available. 

“Taking individual health histories and mapping that information to the genome will help researchers explore genetic links to a multitude of health conditions,” he said in the release. 

See more on the company: 

See the release: 

— The seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases in the state has continued to climb since the beginning of this month, reaching 2,453 cases per day at latest count. 

This marks a reversal of the trend seen in late September and much of October, in which the seven-day average had largely been declining after reaching a peak of 2,942 cases per day on Sept. 20. 

At the same time, the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has also been increasing since the end of October. The Wisconsin Hospital Association dashboard shows 1,029 patients in the state are hospitalized due to the virus, including 283 patients in the ICU. 

And the Department of Health Services site shows the trajectory of COVID-19 patient hospitalizations has been growing over the past two weeks by between 11 percent and 21 percent in the state’s northwest, north central and southeast regions. No significant change was seen in the rest of the state. 

DHS also reports 90.7 percent of the state’s hospital beds and 93 percent of ICU beds were in use, and over 57 percent of hospitals in the state had ICUs at peak capacity. 

Meanwhile, the seven-day average for new deaths due to the virus has remained at 10 deaths per day or above since early September. A total of 8,688 people in the state have died due to COVID-19. 

See the latest case numbers here: 

— Health departments and care providers in Wisconsin have begun providing the Pfizer pediatric COVID-19 vaccine this week after getting the final clinical guidance needed from federal officials. 

Public Health Madison and Dane County COVID-19 Vaccine Deputy Sarah Hughes says the rollout marks “another really big step forward” in the pandemic response. 

“Nearly every school-aged child is now eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine and we are thrilled to be able to provide that protection against this virus, so that kids can get back to doing the things they love while staying safe and healthy,” she said in a release. 

After months of planning, PHDMC has expanded its vaccination capacity at the Alliant Energy Center vaccine clinic to provide 400 pediatric doses per day. Health systems including ThedaCare began providing the pediatric vaccine yesterday, and DHS says many vaccine clinics around the state are now offering the vaccine for kids aged 5-11. 

See the latest vaccination numbers here: 

— Gov. Tony Evers has announced $15 million in grant awards for destination marketing organizations in the state. 

A release from the guv’s office shows 120 of these organizations are getting grants of between $2,000 and $1 million to expand their efforts to drive tourism travel and spending in the state. 

“From the largest convention and visitor bureaus in Milwaukee and Wisconsin Dells to the smallest chambers of commerce in Pepin and Cassville, the $15 million investment awarded today will help continue to fuel our local recovery efforts and ensure those rebounds are felt statewide,” Evers said. 

The Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau, Greater Milwaukee Conventions & Visitors Bureau and the Wisconsin Dells Visitor & Convention Bureau are each getting $1 million grants. 

Other large awards include around $768,000 for the Eau Claire Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, $652,000 for the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, $457,000 for the Oshkosh Convention & Visitors Bureau, $452,000 for the La Crosse County Convention & Visitors Bureau, $430,000 for the Stevens Point Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, $427,000 for the Racine County Convention and Visitors Bureau and $409,000 for the Brookfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. 

These grants are part of the $140 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding the state is directing toward tourism and entertainment industries in Wisconsin. They’re administered by the state Department of Administration with support from the state Department of Tourism. 

See the full list of grant awards: 

See the release: 

— Construction on Alliant Energy’s Onion River Solar Project is expected to begin in the spring after the Madison-based utility officially acquired the project from Ranger Power and D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments. 

The new 1,000-acre solar project is planned for the town of Holland in Sheboygan County, where the company says it will create about 250 jobs. The targeted completion date is in fall 2023, a release shows. Alliant is contracting with a subsidiary of D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments for the project. 

Once it’s up and running, the Onion River project is expected to generate enough electricity to power 40,000 homes in the state. Alliant Energy estimates Holland and Sheboygan County will receive $600,000 in annual shared revenues from the project for the next 30 years. 

See the release: 


# Wisconsin bill that would triple reading assessments raises larger questions about how to measure reading skills

# Wisconsin Association of School Boards breaks from national group after letter to Joe Biden

# Molson Coors partners with The Commons, Leinenkugel’s unveils new beer: Beer Biz MKE



– Not many changes in latest Wisconsin crop forecast


– Madison biotech startup nets $400,000 investment from Milwaukee’s Gateway Capital


– Building blocks: Van Zeeland Nursery & Landscape 

– ThriveOn King project, delayed by pandemic, now aims for February construction start


– Another round of state broadband expansion grants offered


– Turners’ Alley in downtown Milwaukee granted funds to host holiday pop-up event


– Senate ag panel to hear nitrate bills on Wednesday

– Wild rice from Indigenous nations is helping restore wetlands in the Green Bay area


– COVID-19 cases had been levelling off in Wisconsin, but now they’re creeping back up


– Talgo seeking to push Century City workforce to 100


– Nike to open store at Bayshore Town Center this winter


– After thousands of hours of paintballing, Jonah Jamroz is just getting started as a pro


– Public comments mixed as Madison City Council considers BRT route


– $100 million to go toward extending broadband Internet


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

WPS Health Solutions: Charitable Foundation awards scholarships for 2021

MadREP: President & CEO voted Regional Leadership Council president