By Judy Newman
The Wisconsin State Journal.
BluDiagnostics co-founder Katie Brenner will be on her way to Silicon Valley in October to see if West Coast investors are as enamored with her young company’s Fertility Finder as Midwesterners seem to be.
BluDiagnostics won the Pressure Chamber competition Tuesday evening, inching past five other businesses to win an all-expenses-paid trip to California to meet with well-heeled Silicon Valley venture capitalists and a consultation with Madison ad agency Lindsay, Stone & Briggs.
Six Madison startups each had five minutes to make a presentation and five minutes to field questions from the five judges.
BluDiagnostics is developing a device that checks a woman’s hormone levels using a saliva test. For the 25 percent of women who struggle to get pregnant, it can tell them as soon as four days in advance when they will be most fertile, Brenner said.
“Our mission is to help women understand their bodies and take control of their fertility,” she said.
One judge, Mikkel Svane, CEO and co-founder of Zendesk, was clearly impressed. “I love it,” he said. “It’s almost like magic.”
The other contenders were:
* Redox Engine, whose technology helps health-tech apps connect with health organizations’ electronic records systems
* Swallow Solutions, with a medical device and beverages being developed to help patients with swallowing problems
* Fetch Rewards, whose app provides customized coupons to grocery shoppers and speeds their shopping trips
* SmartUQ, whose technology improves the efficiency of product simulations for manufacturers
* Health eFilings, which helps health care providers file documents required by Medicare.
Some of the startups, launched in the past year or two, already have scored major gains.
Redox co-founder Niko Skievaski said his company is about to finalize a $3 million investment round and already has turned down an $8 million offer to buy Redox.