More collaboration, capital and “wins” are needed to build Wisconsin’s biohealth sector, company executives said at a panel Tuesday.
Michael Barbouche, CEO of Forward Health Group, a population health company, said while companies may want to work together, they don’t always reach out or connect with other organizations.
“A big challenge is that we kind of go off into our own huddles,” Barbouche said at a summit in Madison hosted by BioForward, the state’s biohealth trade association.
Dr. Jasbir Sra, a managing member of APN Health, said one of the biggest challenges he faced was raising money to fund his startup.
He said neither the state of Wisconsin nor venture capital in the state was that helpful in supporting his company, which has developed a 3-D cardiac mapping system.
“There has to be a better way,” he said.
Randy Spaulding, founder and CEO of Spaulding Clinical, said his clinical research company impressed people outside of the state.
“In Wisconsin, you’re fighting for capital or you’re fighting for that recognition,” Spaulding said. “If we’re not selling ourselves, can we keep the capital coming that allows us to be that successful?”
Greg Tracy, chief technology officer at Propeller Health, which aims to help patients better manage their asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said companies “need to hit homeruns.”
He said in tech hubs like Silicon Valley and Boston, companies that were successful in the 1960s ended up providing money that supported other companies in the area.
“We don’t have enough of that,” he said. “We need wins.”
Dale Mittelstaedt, president of Red Arrow Labs, called for more collaboration between different companies in the Midwest. Mittelstaedt’s company produces healthcare software.
Mittelstaedt would like to see more money come into the state, rather than see companies leave Wisconsin to pursue opportunities on the East and West Coasts. He encouraged companies to stay and grow.
“We are doing something that’s pretty impressive here in Wisconsin,” Mittelstaedt said. “We’re not just a suburb of Chicago.”