By Matt Cordio Special to OnMilwaukee Published Jan 02, 2019 at 1:26 PM

This is Startup Milwaukee’s exclusive list of 25 promising young startups to watch in 2019.

The list features a diverse group of companies that are building brands and breaking industry barriers right here in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Take a look! 

Tech Canary

Tech Canary, developers of insurance industry software on the salesforce platform, appeared on the Inc 500 list for the first time this year at #393.

Tai Diagnostics

Tai Diagnostics, a biotech startup developing non-invasive diagnostic tests to monitor the health of transplanted organs, closed a $12.8m Series A round this summer with plans to leverage the investment for clinical tests of its technology.


Penrod had another solid year. The bootstrapped provider of Salesforce development services for life sciences companies once again made Inc Magazine’s list of the 500 fastest growing companies in America by revenue.

Bright Cellars

Bright Cellars, the wine subscription company for millennials, continued to raise money to finance its growth. The company, which reports having over 22,000 members, closed a $2.8m round led by Chicago’s Cleveland Avenue and Milwaukee’s Cream City Ventures in 2018.

Sift Healthcare

Sift Healthcare, a HealthTech company developing a software platform leveraging Machine Learning and AI to help providers manage their revenue cycles, closed a $1m seed round in November with Winnebago Seed Fund and Madison-based payment processor Wind River Financial leading the round. Sift also announced a strategic partnership with Wind River Financial and that the company was accepted into Startup Health’s Academy, a national accelerator program.

Dream City Music

A platform for booking live music for events such as weddings, Dream City Music raised a $100,000 seed round from local angel investor Jim Mueller who is one of the founders of Zywave.


SteamChain recently closed a $2.7m seed round from backers such as Northwestern Mutual’s Cream City Ventures. The company seeks to bring the "Machine as a Service" business model to the advanced manufacturing industry leveraging Blockchain.

Rent College Pads

Rent College Pads, a real estate tech startup that connects millions of college students to off-campus housing, made its first appearance on Inc Magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in 2018, coming in at #514. Rent College Pads was the third fastest growing company in the Milwaukee area.


A fast-growing Milwaukee startup in the cryptocurrency trading space, Coinigy launched a subscription platform for cryptocurrency traders earlier this year and continues to grow.


Frontdesk, which provides corporate housing solutions, had a year of growth which included raising a $1m+ seed round including investors such as Bucks owner Mark Lasry and Madison-based family office Lancaster Investments.


Water tech company PlasmaE partnered with Chryspac to produce its next-generation aerators in Milwaukee. The company plans to raise more funding and hire up to 50 people here in Milwaukee.


Developers of idea management software and innovation tools for large enterprises, IdeaWake was the first recipient of investment from Advocate Aurora’s InvestMKE fund which is focused on spurring more entrepreneurial activity in Southeast Wisconsin. IdeaWake continued to add big blue chip brands around the world as users of the platform.


Socialeads, a company being co-developed by Northwestern Mutual that applies AI to social media data to help financial reps acquire customers, raised a $750,000 seed round led by Winnebago Seed Fund less than eight months after winning Northwestern Mutual’s Reverse Pitch Milwaukee competition.


Scanalytics, makers of IoT floormats, announced earlier this year it is raising $1m round and then intends to raise a Series A.


This subscription ecommerce fashion startup continued to grow in 2018, moving to a larger warehouse space and closing a $1.4m funding round which included an investment from Northwestern Mutual Cream City Ventures.


Lumanu, a startup that helps brands connect with social media influencers, raised a $1m seed round earlier this year.

Spaulding Medical

Developers of a portable ECG officially spun out of parent company Spaulding Clinical earlier this year, the new company has 14 employees based in West Bend. Spaulding Medical CEO Amanda Baltz expects the company to grow times four and employ over 50 by 2023.

Margle Media

Margle Media produces social video marketing campaigns for big brands such as Petco. Earlier this year, they received an investment from South Dakota Private Equity firm Anza.


GenoPalate, a company that helps you optimize your diet based on your genetics, has developed two new product offerings to drive recurring revenue and recently closed a $1.35m seed round from local investors to help scale.


This Minnesota company, developing smart packaging solutions for high-value products such as jewelry, decided to move to Milwaukee after participating in gener8tor over the summer. It will be great to see PAXAFE grow a team here in 2019, as it expects to have $85k in monthly recurring revenue by end of 2019.


DocLaunch is a startup that helps enterprises securely manage document workflows using blockchain technology. The company was founded by Michael Adam, who also runs BankMyBiz, a fintech company. Earlier this year, the company brought on a former Zywave executive to help grow the business.

Custom Reality Services

Custom Reality Services is a startup developing virtual reality content for alternative therapies and empathy training. Earlier this year, one of its films was screened at the US Open.


Healthio, a Brookfield based startup developing an app to help patients track their health, inked a unique partnership with GE Healthcare and aims to raise $6m.

Now that you have reviewed the list of startups were watching in 2018, we want to hear about what local startups you’re watching. So drop me a note!

Matt Cordio is the founder and president of Skills Pipeline and Startup Milwaukee. Cordio is passionate about advancing the region’s economy forward through tech and startup ecosystem building. Cordio also serves on the board of Blue & Gold Ventures, Inc. 

Matt Cordio Special to OnMilwaukee

Matt Cordio is co-founder and CEO of Startup Milwaukee, which is organizing the inaugural Milwaukee Startup Week event. Startup Milwaukee’s mission is to build and network Southeast Wisconsin’s startup community. Cordio is also co-founder of Skills Pipeline, a firm that helps growth-focused companies attract top technology talent.