March 29, 2017
Global Midwest Alliance Innovation Competition, Presented by Polsinelli, Selects Finalists

Companies Will Pitch Technologies at April 4 Corporate Venture Capital Program

Judges have selected five companies as finalists in the eighth annual Global Midwest Alliance Innovation Competition presented by Polsinelli. Ranging from a water purification technology first developed at the Argonne National Laboratory to a selfie-based visual consumer survey, the innovations offered by these enterprises represent a full range of new businesses being developed in the Midwest.

The finalists are:
  • Agribody Technologies, Inc. – ATI offers patented gene technology that increases crop yields, delays onset of plant senescence, and increases resistance to diseases and stresses such as drought, heat, cold, salt, low nutrients and crowding. Based in San Diego.
  • Applied Particle Technology – APT is developing the world's first intelligent air sterilization system for commercial HVAC systems in hospitals and clean rooms. This system is based on a patented photoionization enhanced air purification system which can remove particles pathogens and odors in a single step. Based in St. Louis.
  • PayYourSelfie, Inc. – Pay Your Selfie is a visual survey company that hastens the insight-to-innovation cycle for brands and agencies. Their ethnographic "consumer pulse" surveys reveal how real people live, work and play via selfies uploaded to their mobile app. Based in Chicago.
  • RWEDI Solutions, Inc. – RWEDI Solutions, Inc. is commercializing the novel RWEDI Water system developed at Argonne National Laboratory. RWEDI Water technology can lower operating and maintenance costs in the cooling towers used by power plants and other industries, reducing the amount of water and chemicals used in the cooling process. Based in Chicago.
  • Switched Source – Switched Source is commercializing power electronics based distribution automation solutions for electrical distribution utilities. Their core technology has the capability to increase the efficiency and reliability of the electrical distribution system, while enhancing the grid's ability to support distributed renewable generation. Based in Chicago.
The finalists will make presentations to judges at the Global Midwest Alliance Corporate Venture Capital program, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 4 at the 5-Star Worldwide Conference Center, 161 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL.

The Innovation Competition presented by Polsinelli focuses on fostering technology innovation, products and services in the Midwest. Created to help emerging and venture-ready companies gain visibility and make connections, the Innovation Competition provides a showcase for developers of new technologies while providing solutions to global challenges.

“It’s particularly exciting that four of the five finalists this year are Midwestern enterprises,” said Polsinelli Chicago Office Managing Partner Tony Nasharr, “and that all of them see value, as we do, in the dynamism of the marketplace here. Our region has the resources – including leading research institutions, savvy investors and a skilled workforce – that new businesses need to fuel their innovation and growth.”

In March, 33 companies submitted business plans and other documents to the competition judges. The five finalists will present their businesses to the invitation-only audience at the Corporate Venture Capital program. Participants from Motorola Ventures, GE Ventures, Caterpillar Ventures, CME Ventures, Blue Cross Blue Shield Ventures, Sandbox, Zebra Technology Ventures, and the Energy Foundry will be at the event and will judge the five finalists and award 3rd, 2nd and 1st places. The top three finalists will receive cash prizes, and the competition winner receives a credit of $10,000 to be applied toward corporate review and transaction legal services from Polsinelli.

The 2013 winner, Global Green Products, used their $10,000 credit to engage Polsinelli to assist them in a multi-million dollar Series A round venture investment. Since being engaged, Polsinelli helped Global Green Products with various corporate legal matters to prepare them for this venture investment, including converting their structure from an LLC to a corporation and refining their corporate documentation relating to their initial business capitalization and ownership.

“Winning the innovation competition opened doors for us,” said Global Green Products founder Larry Koskan. “And being able to turn to Polsinelli’s attorneys for guidance when we had interest from Greenpoint Global Mittelstand Fund, helped consummate that financing and move our business to the next level.”

“Global Green’s story is just one example of why being part of this competition is so exciting,” said Polsinelli shareholder Jim Asmussen, who focuses his practice on the corporate and transactional matters faced by growing companies including Global Green, and has been a judge for past Innovation Competitions. “We get a preview of where innovation is heading and we develop relationships with the enterprises we know will be industry leaders in the future.”

This year’s attendees will have the opportunity to interact with industry experts including Midwestern venture capitalists, CEOs, and entrepreneurs. The program will include a presentation by top corporate executive Sue Siegel, CEO of GE Ventures, a forum on pathways to corporate innovation, and a venture capital panel. These speakers and panelists will provide their insights and involvement on the future of corporate venture programs and its increasingly strategic value to innovation.

For more information, contact Carrie Trent at