TitletownTech is a place where bold, self-driven entrepreneurs dream big and create impact. Equipped with a $25 million venture fund and a modern, impactful space in the shadow of Lambeau Field, TitletownTech officially opened its doors in the summer of 2019. As of today, TitletownTech has invested in 22 early-stage companies ranging in size, industry and market.
To the team at TitletownTech, innovation, in its simplest form, is about identifying a problem and figuring it out. To take this innovation definition from theory into action, it takes confidence, commitment and a clear sense of purpose. Founders motivated by purpose-driven innovation are committed to solving meaningful problems in meaningful markets. And those founders are the people who start the companies that TitletownTech invests in.
As purpose-driven innovation and the startup world collide, TitletownTech is in a unique position to see firsthand what new technology, business models, scientific discoveries and value propositions are coming to disrupt the status quo. Among the emerging trends that make the team at TitletownTech especially excited are artificial intelligence, imaging, digital marketplace, virtual reality, mobility, human engagement and sensor technology. When technology is connected with value creation and purpose, innovative companies are born, and success is likely to follow.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has quickly become a hot topic in the startup ecosystem. AI is most valuable when a company can pinpoint a use case, prove out a model and quickly grow around that use case like a center point. Springbok Analytics developed an AI-powered software platform that transforms standard MRIs into dynamic three-dimensional analyses of muscle, giving users access to data that has never been seen before. Initially, the technology was used to assist surgeons in tendon-lengthening procedures for children with cerebral palsy, but it has since pivoted to partnering with sports organizations and the military to provide clinical decision support tools for injury management and performance optimization for elite populations.
Data constraints previously have prevented crucial applications of AI technology to revolutionize industries, products and lives. The total amount of data necessary to create valuable, reliable AI models is massive, and in many cases, datasets are private, incomplete or sparse. To solve this imminent problem, Synthetaic combines high-fidelity 3D modeling and novel, generative AI to grow large and high-quality datasets sufficient for machine learning. Synthetaic can produce high-quality training data even if there is no starter sample. The company also supervises the subsequent training and deployment of ultra-high-accuracy AI models, which outperform models generated using a traditional approach.
Corey Jaskolski, the founder and CEO of Synthetaic, has led technical projects for clients including NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and many U.S. Army and Navy research laboratories. Since 2012, Jaskolski has been a National Geographic fellow, embarking on missions across all seven continents. Last September, Jaskolski was named the 2020 Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year, a prestigious award granted on the basis of “personifying leadership in exploration and storytelling.” Previous winners include filmmaker James Cameron, among a list of other incredibly talented individuals. Most recently, Jaskolski developed a custom camera array to capture a 3D-digital copy of a critically endangered Sumatran rhinoceros. It is this work that led Jaskolski to found Synthetaic.
The impacts of AI will come in many forms — from protecting endangered species from poachers to helping doctors diagnose medical problems earlier and faster. The applications of AI are vast, the opportunity is huge and Synthetaic is expanding the outer limits of possibility.
While digital marketplaces aren’t exactly new to consumers (e.g., Amazon, Etsy), for the chemical industry, it was novel before ChemDirect entered the scene. In 2019, CEO Tyler Ellison brought his knowledge of logistics to the industry, which led to the creation of ChemDirect. During his tenure as the CEO of Nova Molecular Technologies, a specialties chemical manufacturer, he experienced two major problems in the industry: Manufacturers did not own their customer data and customers were forced to buy chemicals blindly from distributors, lacking both product and price choice.
This $5 trillion industry lacked transparency, impacting both supply and demand. In his effort to solve those problems, Ellison created ChemDirect, an e-commerce marketplace that removes the barrier between producer and consumer. ChemDirect is leading the chemical industry into a new era of market transparency, resulting in new value for both manufacturers and buyers that includes cost and time savings as well as optionality.
Over the last decade, the transportation and mobility space has experienced constant innovation. Think of Uber, electric vehicles or autonomous driving — the means in which someone gets from point A to point B are many. Aryv, a Janesville-based transportation technology company, is tackling the ride-share experience for the non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) market.
In the United States, 3.6 million Medicaid beneficiaries annually miss or delay health care due to transportation problems. This causes an echoing effect through the health care system, leading to significant health repercussions for the individual and operational inefficiencies for the provider. A NEMT trip is defined as a transportation service provided to individuals who are not in an emergency but may need medical assistance during their trip.
Six years ago, Aryv CEO Mark Carmichael had the idea of making technology that would bring efficiency and transparency to the NEMT market. The Aryv platform includes live location tracking, level-of-need matching, HIPAA-compliant Google Places API integration, simple booking and credential transparency. Further, its technology encourages, enables and tracks various medical certifications of each driver seeking to become an individual non-emergency medical transport. Certification examples include how to handle blood spills and how to administer CPR. Since 2015, Aryv has grown rapidly and is currently operating in six states.
It is no secret that the number and intensity of storms continue to increase with climate change. In addition, the flooding destruction of severe storms causes sewage overflow, which is a $32 billion problem in the United States. StormSensor uses new sensor technology and Internet of Things data networks to provide weather, flow, depth and temperature data every five minutes, every day. This helps government municipalities, utility authorities and environmental leaders understand how water moves in their subsurface infrastructure (think Google Traffic Maps for water), helping them operate quickly and effectively, and make informed decisions on capital improvements.
Prior to founding StormSensor, CEO Erin Rothman worked at a consulting firm focused on monitoring stormwater — a necessary task to ensure property compliance with state regulations. She quickly realized there was a huge opportunity to create a solution that would save time, money and introduce new value to the market. StormSensor’s mission starts with sensor data and ultimately helps cities thrive by making communities smarter, more resilient and sustainable as climate change continues.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many people to embrace new means of interpersonal engagement. Video conferencing software has become a staple in work life and in social life. The demand for safe ways to engage with others has continued to grow, and Demiplane is positioned to be the best digital platform for tabletop role-playing games (RPGs). Traditional RPGs are played in-person. The appetite for online and virtual RPGs was present pre-pandemic, but once the pandemic hit, it grew tremendously. Demiplane is an online tabletop gaming platform that combines player matchmaking, live and interactive video capabilities, shared journals and inventory, dice rolling and other services into one system. Founded by Peter Romenesko and former Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick, Demiplane supports more than just the popular Dungeons & Dragons — it supports just about every tabletop game available.
With each new investment, TitletownTech continues to create impact and support entrepreneurs building value upon this strong Wisconsin foundation. By leveraging a unique ability to connect entrepreneurs with world-class organizations, partners and talent, the team at TitletownTech is excited for the future of purpose-driven innovation.
Innovation: Investing in problem-solvers
To view the entire 2021 Champions of Innovation edition, please click here.