NovoMoto, a Madison-based startup providing clean electricity to remote locations in Africa, has been named the winner of the 2018 Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

“We are very happy for the prize, honored to be selected among the many good startups and grateful to the people who believed in what we are doing to make some impact on people’s lives,” said NovoMoto co-founder Mehrdad Arjmand.

NovoMoto’s win culminates a competition that kicked off with 200 written entries in January. Applicants across four categories—advanced manufacturing, business services, information technology and life sciences—submitted their business plans. More than 110 judges then selected the “Diligent Dozen” to pitch their startups in person at the Entrepreneurs Conference on June 5.

During the Diligent Dozen pitches, each entrepreneur had about seven minutes to go through a slide deck and address items such as the problem the company is solving, its team, its finances and the founders’ exit strategy. Additionally, each entrepreneur brought their unique stories, passion and personality to the presentations, which took place in an auditorium at UW-Madison’s Union South.

The 30 judges scored the pitches based upon the entrepreneurs’ presentation and deck, as well as the presenters’ answers to follow-up questions from the judges.

The purpose of the Governor’s Business Plan Contest is “to encourage entrepreneurs in the startup stage of tech-based businesses in Wisconsin.” Although NovoMoto walks away with the grand prize—a package totaling about $190,000, from sponsors including WEDC—the top 25 competitors (including the Diligent Dozen) all receive a cash prize, office space and business services.

The 2018 Diligent Dozen were made up of the following startups and presenters:

Life sciences:

Information technology:

Business services:

Advanced manufacturing:

  • Bruce Bathurst of AquaMetals (Wauwatosa)
  • Kevin Barnett of Pyran (Madison)
  • Lorne Forsythe of Shockray Self-Defense (Oak Creek)