Milwaukee – March 2, 2022 – The MKE Tech Hub Coalition this week announced the winners of its Reverse Pitch MKE event, a unique pitching competition where entrepreneurs work with organizations to solve a known critical industry challenge.
The finalists taking home the top prize include InOn Health, a digital health solution aimed at improving access to health services and information through adaptive communication, MoSAYcity, an EvidaSolve product that simplifies and accelerates relationship building by removing barriers in hybrid, dispersed, and global workplaces, and Araqev, a software solution for closed-loop, smart control in additive manufacturing and 3D printing based on machine learning (ML). Pythonic, a company that focuses the power of state-of-the-art machine learning on documents to automate specific classification, extraction, review, and document routing tasks, won two of the presenting challenges.
Each winner receives a $10,000 cash prize, strategic planning sessions with Aurora WDC, co-working space from Expansive Workspace, Finance, accounting, HR and tax consulting with Trivium, legal services provided by Godfrey & Khan S.C., and access to corporate mentors and networks to help take their emerging businesses to the next stage.
This year’s Reverse Pitch focused on solving seven business challenges — presented by Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, Northwestern Mutual, Rockwell Automation and West Bend Mutual. The challenges were:
- Community Health Literacy and Trust, from Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin
- Supporting Responsible Financial Representative Social Media Use, from Northwestern Mutual
- Expanding on our Relationship-Based Culture, from Northwestern Mutual
- Identifying In-field Devices, from Rockwell Automation
- Leveraging Raw Material Data for Prescriptive Manufacturing, from Rockwell Automation
- Coverage Verifier, from West Bend Mutual
- Decision to order Property Inspection, from West Bend Mutual
The four companies presented the challenges to a group of entrepreneurs at the Reverse Pitch MKE kickoff event during October’s MKE Tech Week. In February, the finalists presented their solutions to the judging panelists.
The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network selected the InOn Health solution to directly address the challenge to improve health literacy and trust in our communities by meaningfully engaging with diverse patient populations in both urban and rural settings and delivering health information in a way that has been shown to drive improved health outcomes.
“Innovation at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network is everywhere. It can also come from anywhere. Today, we’re excited to partner with InOn Health and co-founders Kaakpema “KP” Yelpaala and Sara Yelpaala. InOn Health has a unique approach to delivering health information to our communities through an approach of deep cultural awareness and personalization.” said Mike Anderes, chief digital officer for Froedtert Health and the president of Inception Health.
Northwestern Mutual selected MoSAYcity as its relationship-based culture challenge winner because of the local startup’s “tremendous promise to build the tools that will help foster a stronger culture of connection in the workplace, a trend that aligns squarely with Northwestern Mutual’s values and commitment during this time of transformation,” said Avani Patel, the company’s Senior Director of Digital Innovation.
“As workplaces across the globe become more dispersed, it’s more important now than ever before to find new ways to stay connected and engaged,” said David Manske, Senior Director, Software Engineering at Northwestern Mutual. “MoSAYcity is uniquely positioned to help build and strengthen the tools that will enable these connections.”
Rockwell Automation selected a winner for each of their challenges. Araqev was selected as the winner of the ‘Leveraging Raw Material Data for Prescriptive Manufacturing’ challenge and Pythonic won the ‘Identifying In-field Devices’ challenge.
“It is the first time for Rockwell Automation to participate in Reverse Pitch MKE, but this first year was very exciting. We found all participants to be high caliber and very committed. We are eager to support the winners in the next phase of their innovation journey,” said Cyril Perducat, SVP & CTO, Rockwell Automation.
West Bend Mutual selected Pythonic as their challenge winner, citing that the startup had the “potential to bring customers closer to us through a robust product able to simplify communication and increase knowledge for our customers,” said Marc Emery, AVP Commercial Lines, West Bend Mutual Insurance.
“Pythonic demonstrated the capability to accelerate the process of reading unstructured policy contracts to answer customer’s questions pertaining to their policy coverage. We are excited to continue to work with them to further validate the scope and reach of this product.” said Murali Natarajan, SVP & CIO, West Bend Mutual Insurance
The virtual pitch competition drew more than 265 innovators from all around the country to the event, with 21 applications for pitch back. The Reverse Pitch MKE program aims to expand the diversity of the startup community in the region by connecting entrepreneurs with the resources and industry mentors to grow their businesses. The same challenges are leveraged and presented to students with Reverse Pitch High School Edition, which shows students technology and entrepreneur thinking by solving real problems.
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition will be hosting a virtual community pitch back event on March 18 from 12-1PM to showcase the winning teams and other select 2021 pitches. At the end of the showcase, one team will win an additional prize, decided by guest judges Dana Gutherie, Managing Director, Gateway Capital, Nyra Jordan, Social Impact Investment Director, American Family, and Dan Renouard, Managing Director of Strategic Initiatives, Baird. This event is free and open to the public. Register here.
About MKE Tech Hub Coalition:
The MKE Tech Hub Coalition is a non-profit organization working to inclusively double tech talent in the Milwaukee region. We serve as a unifying voice for Milwaukee’s tech community, working with others to grow a vibrant, inclusive ecosystem where tech and innovation create enduring regional prosperity and life-changing jobs. Formed in late 2019, over 115 member organizations now collaborate to grow tech jobs matched with the right supply of skilled talent through K-20, reskilling and attraction/retention initiatives. Underlying all of these initiatives is an intentional focus on increasing the diversity of our tech talent. To learn more, visit mketech.org.
About Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin:
The Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin regional health network is a partnership between Froedtert Health and the Medical College of Wisconsin supporting a shared mission of patient care, innovation, medical research and education. Our health network operates eastern Wisconsin’s only academic medical center and adult Level I Trauma Center at Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee, an internationally recognized training and research center engaged in thousands of clinical trials and studies. The Froedtert & MCW health network, which includes nine hospital locations, more than 2,000 physicians and more than 45 health centers and clinics, draws patients from throughout the Midwest and the nation. In our most recent fiscal year, outpatient visits were nearly 1.5 million, inpatient admissions to our hospitals were 55,085 and visits to our network physicians exceeded 1.1 million. For more information, visit froedtert.com.
About Northwestern Mutual:
Northwestern Mutual has been helping people and businesses achieve financial security for more than 160 years. Through a holistic planning approach, Northwestern Mutual combines the expertise of its financial professionals with a personalized digital experience and industry-leading products to help its clients plan for what’s most important. With more than $334 billion in total assets, $34 billion in revenues, and $2.1 trillion worth of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual delivers financial security to more than 4.9 million people with life, disability income and long-term care insurance, annuities, and brokerage and advisory services. The company manages more than $244 billion of investments owned by its clients and held or managed through its wealth management and investment services businesses. Northwestern Mutual ranks 90 on the 2021 FORTUNE 500 and is recognized by FORTUNE® as one of the “World’s Most Admired” life insurance companies in 2022.
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, WI (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS) (investment brokerage services), broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company® (NMWMC) (investment advisory and services), federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company (NLTC) (long-term care insurance).
About Rockwell Automation:
Rockwell Automation, Inc. (NYSE: ROK), is a global leader in industrial automation and digital transformation. We connect the imaginations of people with the potential of technology to expand what is humanly possible, making the world more productive and more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rockwell Automation employs approximately 24,500 problem solvers dedicated to our customers in more than 100 countries. To learn more about how we are bringing the Connected Enterprise to life across industrial enterprises, visit www.rockwellautomation.com.
About West Bend Mutual Insurance Company:
West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, headquartered in West Bend, Wisconsin, provides property/casualty insurance products, including a broad personal lines coverage package, a full range of commercial products and services, insurance for specialty lines, and bonds. West Bend employs more than 1,300 associates and is represented by approximately 1,500 independent insurance agencies throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Kansas, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and Arizona. The company has been rated A (Excellent) or better by A.M. Best since 1971. West Bend also consistently ranks higher than its competitors in an agency loyalty survey.