Two Minneapolis Biotech Startups Win Third Edition of Walleye Tank

The third installment of Walleye Tank, a Fishing Opener expedition, was held last Friday at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus. Walleye Tank is a life science business pitch competition that celebrates the entire entrepreneurial community. The event took place in Minneapolis for the first time in the history of the competition. Twin Cities based startups Dolore Biotechnology and Dose Health walked away as divisional winners.

Walleye Tank occurs biannually in Minnesota. The pitch event originated at Mayo Clinic and has brought in competitors from Rochester and Minneapolis/Saint Paul since its inception. Walleye Tank contains two startup divisions: student “Junior Anglers” and more seasoned “Professionals.”

This edition, Junior Anglers featured student groups from both Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. The Mayo cohort developed the entire concepts for their pitches in the four weeks preceding the competition in an entrepreneurial class led by Dr. Ekker. The UMN student groups are under the guidance of Carla Pavone, Associate Director of the Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship and Walleye Tank event planner.

In total, seventeen life science startups pitched their concepts to the “Walleyes”- a panel of seven biotech entrepreneurs, investors, and analyst experts- as well as to the gathered entrepreneurial community.

A group of three UMN student founders at Dolore Biotechnology won the Junior Angler division. Dolore Biotechnology is creating a portable, point-of-care device to provide rapid diagnosis for sickle cell disease from a single drop of blood.

Minneapolis startup RxFunction was runner up in the Professional Division. RxFunction developed a solution for peripheral neuropathy patients afflicted with balance problems called Walkasins. Walkasins consist of a leg unit and foot pad to measure foot pressure and provide immediate sensory input to users.

Minneapolis startup Dose Health walked away as the overall Professional Division winner. Dose Health created a smart pillbox to increase pill-taking compliance. Their device holds fourteen doses of pills in segmented compartments and sounds an alarm when it’s time to medicate. Multiple caregivers can be alerted if the pills are not dispensed.

For the first time in the history of the competition, Walleye Tank winners received entry as semifinalists in the Minnesota Cup, the state’s premier business pitch competition. Look for the next edition of Walleye Tank this fall.