Pressure Chamber’s pitch competition spotlights promising startups in healthcare technology, transportation and workplace productivity


Madison-based startup Nano RED was crowned the winner of the eighth annual Pressure Chamber competition hosted by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce last month.

The company has developed two drug delivery vehicles that work to prevent and treat COVID-19, with the potential to improve the efficiency of the response in future viral pandemics and to revolutionize cancer immunotherapy. The vehicle is in the form of an artificial molecule, known as a liposome, which transports drugs to tissues. They prevent the virus from attacking risky cells in the lungs. They also provide treatment by delivering a combination of genomic drugs to vulnerable lung cells, which prevents the virus from replicating.

Founder Jonathan Ebben’s presentation to investors, business executives and a live audience at the August 18 event won the coveted Golden Suitcase of the competition.

“The support we’ve received from the community here in Madison is helping us move forward,” Ebben said. “With this award, we will be able to launch our seed series to make effective, first-class COVID-19 therapies a reality as we prepare to change the way we treat respiratory viruses and deliver genomic cancer drugs. . “

The Nano RED Award is a placeholder in meetings the chamber has held with major Silicon Valley companies this fall. This will be an opportunity to further expand the scale and reach of Nano RED.

“In the process, we hope to join the ranks of other innovative companies that have come before us in demonstrating that great ideas can come true in Wisconsin,” Ebben said.

The other contenders, Advocate MD and Pivotal Health, both from Middleton, as well as eCIO and Mobile22, both from Madison, also made groundbreaking arguments for their promising innovations.

Advocate MD, founded by Dr. Nicole Hemkes, is a direct primary care company that strives to provide healthcare in an innovative and affordable way. In this model, the doctor has an agreement directly with the patient to provide primary care for a monthly fee.

Pivotal Health, founded by Sal Braico, also plans to improve healthcare services by providing emergency care home visits, transparent pricing and cash options for those who are uninsured or have a insurance with a high deductible.

eCIO, founded by Rob Roquitte, helps nonprofits reduce the costs of managing investments and increase the productivity of their organizations by simplifying technology at an affordable cost.

Mobile22, founded by Shree Kalluri, is a company that has developed a shared mobility platform that connects businesses to transport providers. The app allows businesses to have greater oversight and flexibility over their transportation, increasing efficiency and avoiding unnecessary operational costs.

While these four companies did not win the Golden Suitcase, their executives say they hope to get the same boost from the exposure generated by the competition that has benefited competitors in previous years.

“Once we have the pieces in place, we can grow and move beyond Madison,” said Hemkes of Advocate MD.

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