$600,000 in state matching grants advance 6 innovative small businesses

MADISON – Six small businesses in Wisconsin will receive $100,000 each to commercialize their innovations, thanks to the SBIR Advance program’s latest round of funding.  

The state matching grant program provides assistance to companies in the process of completing a project in the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. This is the 16th round of SBIR Advance funding since this collaboration by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) began in 2014.

Over the past six years, 111 awards totaling nearly $8.8 million have been given. Those businesses reported obtaining over $30 million in additional capital since receiving the grants.

The recipients are:

  • AmebaGone Inc. of Madison is developing proprietary technologies that use a novel biocontrol method to destroy intractable bacterial infections for agriculture and human health applications.
  • Imbed Biosciences Inc. of Fitchburg is a privately held medical device company emerging as a leader in the development of advanced therapies for the treatment of burns, chronic ulcers, gastrointestinal defects and soft-tissue repair.
  • NanoAffix Science of Wauwatosa has developed technology for real time detection of contaminants in drinking water. Graphene based sensors with nanometer thick layers enable rapid and inexpensive quantitative onsite testing for lead in tap water.
  • NCD Technologies of Madison specializes in engineering and optimizing new diamond and diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings for new applications. NCD Technologies’ coating technologies enable the coating of standard and generally un-coatable parts.
  • Stem Pharm of Madison leverages its expertise in biomaterials and cellular interactions to develop high-value applications of organoids (3-D in vitro models) for drug discovery and cell-friendly coatings for the manufacture of cell-based therapies.
  • Filament Games of Madison develops award-winning digital learning games. For this award, Filament is developing RoboCo, a virtual robotics sandbox that makes engineering education fun, easy and affordable.

“We have six teams with broad areas of focus ranging from defense products to education software to agricultural pest control,” said Dr. Todd Strother, Program Manager. “The awardees are in good positions to continue growing their sales into new areas or move into the next stage of obtaining investor funding. We look forward to their participation and continued paths to success.”

The U.S. government created SBIR/STTR programs to stimulate domestic high-tech innovation, providing $2.5 billion in federal research funding each year. Because those funds cannot be used for commercialization activities, the SBIR Advance program fills the gap. Funds can be used to pursue market research, customer validation, intellectual property work or other areas that speed commercialization.

SBIR Advance grant recipients receive CTC staff support available throughout the commercialization process, including Lean Startup training, business plan review and other consulting.

“Innovation is one of the key ingredients for supporting our future economic potential and a critical piece of emerging from the challenges caused by COVID-19. SBIR Advance helps those businesses innovative enough to capture highly competitive federal funding to convert their research into new products and businesses growth,” said Aaron Hagar, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at WEDC. “Wisconsin is home to world-class research institutions and technology companies, and we are excited to provide funding to catalyze our next-generation opportunities.”

For more details on the SBIR Advance program, visit or e-mail . The next solicitation is expected to open in late November.

SBIR Advance is part of a Start-Seed-Scale (S3) initiative WEDC is pursuing with the help of the UW System and other business leaders throughout the state to remove barriers to high-tech commercialization. Under the S3 umbrella, WEDC and its economic development partners are implementing financial and operational assistance programs designed specifically to address Wisconsin’s business startup and seed-funding challenges. Another S3 collaborative effort between WEDC and the UW System is the Ideadvance Seed Fund, also managed by UW System’s CTC.

About Center for Technology Commercialization

The Center for Technology Commercialization is part of the University of Wisconsin System’s Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship. CTC provides one-on-one expert consulting to early-stage emerging technology businesses throughout Wisconsin. CTC has collaborated in acquiring more than $100 million in federal and other funding for clients. Learn more at; follow @WisconsinCTC on Twitter.

About Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Learn more at; follow @WEDCNews on Twitter.

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