A startup’s journey in the Good Land: How the Region’s Tech Ecosystem embraces startups like Tip a ScRxipt 

Photo by Paul Hanon

With a problem-solver mindset, walking by faith and leaning into the power of the Milwaukee Tech Ecosystem, Chad Johnson, founder and CEO of Tip a ScRxipt, has taken his startup from an idea to a live platform in under three years.

Tip a ScRxipt is a payment and debit card platform that helps businesses and people cover out-of-pocket medical expenses. The company’s name is a gift from his mother, who in 2019 lost her retiree insurance and experienced an exponential spike in prescription costs.  

“Tip a ScRxipt was birthed by inspiration and desire to solve an unfortunate and practical problem that my mother and many other America’s face –– rising and unaffordable out-of-pocket healthcare costs,” Johnson said.  

As a Milwaukee Native, Johnson believed the city had the resources to launch his startup, even as the coronavirus began to take shape.    

“It never crossed my mind that I had to be somewhere else to bring Tip a ScRxipt to the world.” Johnson said. “My simple thought was ‘I’ve got to reach out to my connections.’ The timing was right to do it in Milwaukee!”  

He credits other startup founders, people within his network and mentors, like Nadiyah Johnson, of Milky Way Tech Hub, Josh Shefner, of Agricycle, Latoya Freeman, of Auora Health Care, and Mike Maschek, of Inception Health, whom contributed to Tip a ScRxipt’s early-stage development. 

“I have had to embrace the need to rely on and seek guidance and assistance from many in the Tech Ecosystem who are more experienced,” Johnson said. “God has sent the right people at the right time to do the right thing.”  

By being proactive and leveraging his support, Johnson was able to apply and participate in other regional programming –– including Summerfest Tech’s Pitch Competition where Tip a ScRxipt won second place in September 2020 and Young Enterprising Society’s Blueprint Idea and Market Validation Accelerators. 

Following this success, Johnson went on to take advantage of Northwestern Mutual’s Black Founder Accelerator –– a partnership with Milwaukee-based gener8tor, earning a spot in the program’s first cohort and the only startup to represent Wisconsin in 2021.  

From this program, Johnson went on to UW-Milwaukee’s Lubar Entrepreneurship Center’s “Project Pitch It,” where he won the first-place prize and an American Family Insurance Award. A full circle moment as his mother made the TV appearance alongside him.  

Last year, Tip a ScRxipt announced closing a $500 thousand seed round led by Gateway Capital, a Milwaukee-based venture capital firm.  

It’s important to note Gateway funded $400 thousand and Northwestern Mutual’s Sustained Action for Racial Equity (SARE) provided an additional $100 thousand, resulting in the seed round total. 

SARE is a Task Force focused on closing the racial wealth gap and supporting Black entrepreneurs. Its programs include the Northwestern Mutual Future Venture, the Black Founder Accelerator and the Impact Investing Fund.  

Today, Tip a ScRxipt is a live platform, and Johnson is paying it forward for other startups in the region.  

“We have a live platform and will be used by CU Ventures to award funds to cover out-of-pocket healthcare costs for up to eight startups competing in the ‘Healthcare Innovation Pitch Competition’ on Oct. 5 during Milwaukee [MKE] Tech Week,” Johnson said.  

According to Milwaukee Business Journal, “CU Ventures is a nonprofit organization providing early-stage mentorship to companies that have connections to Concordia University. It also provides equity seed funding directly from CU Ventures and through the Concordia Angel Network, an investment group.”  

The Concordia Angel Network is led by Daniel Sem, Dean and professor at the Batterman School of Business and President of CU Ventures. Johnson describes Sem as “another champion in our Ecosystem.”  

MKE Tech Week is designed to connect, educate and celebrate innovation in Southeast Wisconsin –– created by and for the community. The celebration runs Oct. 3-7. To learn more and register for events, visit:https://www.mketech.org/milwaukee-tech-week/