Madison-based biotech startup Geno.Me plans to relocate its operations to Milwaukee after receiving $400,000 in seed funding from Milwaukee-based venture capital firm Gateway Capital Partners.
Founded by Milwaukee-native Britt Gottschalk, Geno.Me links genomic and electronic health record data in an open marketplace, which allows medical researchers to more easily access data and patients to have more transparency and control of the use of their personal health and medical data, the company said. Patients who share their data are compensated.
“Data accessibility in health care is an oxymoron, because the process for researchers to obtain data is difficult and expensive,” said Gottschalk. “We as individual patients have the power to choose whether to share our own data because it belongs to us, and it should be that simple. Geno.Me aims to incentivize its users to share their de-identified health profile while providing the blueprint for the future of precision medicine.”
The company says it aims to be the “world’s first linked EHR and genomic data marketplace,” and contribute to the advancement of precision medicine for monogenic conditions that are difficult to treat, predict and cure. It will use the capital to hire new staff and accelerate product development.
It’s the second investment made by Gateway Capital after raising $13.5 million earlier this year. In late October, Gateway announced a $400,000 investment to lead a seed round of funding for Tip a ScRxipt, a financial technology startup founded by Milwaukee native Chad Johnson.
The Gateway Capital Fund is part of the Badger Fund of Funds, an eight-year-old venture capital program designed to invest in Wisconsin-based startups. Led by managing partner Dana Guthrie, Gateway Capital is particularly focusing on pre-revenue startups in the greater Milwaukee area over a four-year period.
Gottschalk, a management consultant who works with clients in health care, insurance and business communication sectors, founded Geno.Me during the COVID-19 pandemic after she identified inefficiencies related to patient data transfer and accessibility in the American health care system. Gottschalk earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and dual master’s degrees in business administration and industrial organizational psychology from Elmhurst University.
Mark Bakken, managing partner of HealthX Ventures in Madison and a personal investor in Geno.Me, said the company is at the forefront of an important new phase of health care.
“Taking individual health histories and mapping that information to the genome will help researchers explore genetic links to a multitude of health conditions,” Bakken said. “Before these links can lead to medical advances, however, researchers will need access to far more data tying DNA to health history than currently exists.”
Bakken stressed that the company guarantees full privacy and removes all identifying information of people who choose to share their health data on the platform.