As published by Milwaukee Business Journal

Throughout 2021, momentum has been building within Wisconsin’s technology and startup sector.

As spaces began to open up following last year’s pandemic lockdowns, communities gathered again to collaborate and connect about their latest ventures. New funds were raised to help finance emerging entrepreneurs. Existing companies achieved milestones in hiring, development and go-to-market strategies.

And, following the Milwaukee Bucks’ NBA championship win, there was a sense that the global spotlight could also illuminate the existing and potential opportunities in the region’s innovation economy.

To mark the end of a standout year, Wisconsin Inno and the Milwaukee Business Journal sought nominations for our annual Fire Awards to recognize companies, groups and organizations across Wisconsin that are “heating up” the state’s technology ecosystem.

Our editorial team chose the following 25 finalists across five categories. Click on the link below each category to read more about the finalists.

A team of independent local judges with knowledge of the technology sector will select one winner — or, in Inno speak, “blazer” — from each category, to be announced and featured online in December.

The judges are Tina Chang, CEO of Brookfield’s SysLogic Inc.; Mark Grosskopf, president and CEO of Milwaukee’s New Resources Consulting; Andy Nunemaker, CEO of Milwaukee’s Groupware Technologies Inc.; and Ranell Washington, partnership development advisor for American Family Insurance.

Investors and Funders

  • The Equity League
  • Gateway Capital Partners
  • Madison Development Corp. Venture Debt Fund
  • Milwaukee Venture Partners
  • NVNG Investment Advisors

» Get to know the finalists in the investors and funders category


  • Bridge to Cures
  • Code the Way
  • Greater Green Bay Chamber
  • MKE Tech Hub Coalition
  • The Water Council BREW 2.0 Accelerator

» Get to know the finalists in the nonprofit category

Health technology

  • Child Health Imprints
  • EnsoData
  • GrandCare
  • Sift Healthcare
  • Smartcare Software

» Get to know the finalists in the health technology category


  • Debtle
  • Forj
  • OpenGov
  • Part Analytics
  • Zywave

» Get to know the finalists in the software category


  • CharismaQ
  • InCheck
  • MARS Solutions Group
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Talimer

» Get to know the finalists in the talent category