Three Wisconsin Grads Making an Impact

An Amazon Prime-esque delivery service for fresh food? A cancer-eliminating probe that avoids radiation treatment? What about a way to clean water and environments with UV LED rays? These are all ideas that UW-Madison grads are making a reality with their startups.

For Entrepreneurs’ Month, we’ve decided to dig into a few UW founders from three portfolio companies at the helm of interesting companies.


Mike Xu
CEO, GrubMarket

UW-Madison Computer Sciences (‘04)

Mike Xu founded his company in a garage, received backing from Y Combinator, and got an additional $32M boost in funding a few months ago to continue to disrupt the farm-to-table space with GrubMarket.

Mike is the CEO at GrubMarket, a company that is on a mission to make fresh and healthy food accessible to everyone. Some might compare what he’s doing to Amazon Prime or CostCo. It’s an online marketplace where customers can buy food directly from farmers, cutting out wholesalers, distributors, and grocers. GrubMarket then picks up the fresh food and delivers it within 24-hours. Customers already include WeWork, Whole Foods, Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Chipotle.


Tyler Wanke
CEO, Innoblative Designs

BS, Neurobiology, Business (‘11)

Tyler Wanke is an innoblator in his own right. At the forefront of some exciting technology, Tyler and his team at Innoblative Designs have developed a way to kill potentially cancerous tissue left after surgery using radiofrequency waves. Innoblative’s medical device is shown to eliminate cancer, reduce costs, and avoid patients from going into radiation treatment.


Dr. Robert C. Walker
President and CEO, RayVio
BSEE, Electrical and Computer Engineering (‘84)

With over 20 years of experience in the LED and compound semiconductor world, Dr. Robert C. Walker is ushering in a powerful, versatile way to use ultra-violet LEDs for a multitude of health and hygiene purposes. His company, RayVio, can be used to clean drinking water, sterilize baby bottles, disinfect medical instruments, and avoid the use of chemicals like bleach.

Although it sounds like a miracle product that can instantly disinfect things with a blast of light, UV rays have been used as a disinfectant for more than a century. But RayVio is doing it in a more compact, powerful, and global way that protects against persistent environmental health threats.


If you’re interested in learning more about investing in other innovative UW companies, contact Bascom Ventures.