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StartingBlock Madison: Meet the Madworks Fall 2023 Cohort!

We’re thrilled to introduce the 8 companies in this Fall’s Madworks Cohort. The Madworks Accelerator is a 11-week program, comprising tailored mentorship and building governance acumen. The program is industry agnostic. In addition to connecting companies to entrepreneurial leaders in the community, we ensure that these organizations obtain a foundation in legal compliance, quality board management skills, and financial knowledge.

Meet The Companies

  • 1Director / Rianne Lund – All-inclusive software suite for funeral homes to manage their business and allow families to make funeral arrangements from the comfort of their own home.
  • Figgy / Rachel Neill & Chris Roepe – Creators of kids play couches that are fun, high quality, safe, and sustainable.
  • NOVII CPA / Victoria Thayer – Outsourced accounting solutions, financial preparation services, tax planning and tax preparation, and CFO services.
  • Petphoria / Grace Wang – Modern lifestyle brand for pets and their people. Offering a wide variety of premium products for your pet – from delicious dog treats to trendy dog toys.
  • Redfox AI / Nick Myers – Voice-activated AI that verbally facilitates and troubleshoots home diagnostics and medical devices helping manufacturers and providers be there at the point of care.
  • Soul Mobility / Troy Tesmer – Mobility solutions for the physically challenged to support their independence and well being. The initial product, Power-Flex, wil convert a manual wheelchair to a power chair quickly and with no tools.
  • Snow Scholars / Jake Piekarski – Affordable and personable residential snow removal company that employs college students at several college towns throughout the Midwest.
  • Spraycision / Dervis Gursoy – Designs and manufactures advanced level sensor systems for orchard sprayers that automatically control nozzles to reduce the chemicals, fuel and water usage and to provide eco-friendly solutions in spray applications.


  • Access to over $1M in prizes and benefits
  • $6,500 in grant funding per participating team
  • 1 year membership to StartingBlock (24×7 access), with an exclusive space at StartingBlock dedicated to Madworks companies
  • Access to StartingBlock member benefits, including 90% discount on Hubspot CRM
  • Regular access to Madworks & StartingBlock staff and connections to their network of mentors and experts

Photo by Richard Hurd

New WPS Health Insurance network helps self-funded employers


DeAnne Boegli
Vice President of Communications

New WPS Health Insurance network helps self-funded employers
Companies across Wisconsin now have a more robust network choice

MADISON, Wis.—Sept. 19, 2023—WPS Health Insurance, powered by Auxiant, is partnering with Health Payment Systems (HPS) to create an integrated network of health care providers for employers choosing its self-funded, or Administrative Services Only, group health plans. Group members’ claims will access the HPS network of providers first and, if not in-network, will then go to the WPS Statewide Network, creating a statewide broad network solution.

The HPS Network includes 96 hospitals and 27,000 individual providers while the WPS Statewide Network has 165 hospitals and more than 63,000 individual practitioners. These networks will work together to give employers across Wisconsin even more health care provider choices for their employees.

The new partnership includes HPS’ consumer financing tool, the PayMedix SuperEOB®. Members who visit an in-network PayMedix provider get credit up to their out-of-pocket (OOP) maximum, regardless of credit history, with the option to pay over time without any interest charges or fees.

“This new network choice gives our self-funded group health customers a better way to meet the needs of their employees and their families,” WPS Vice President of Health Insurance Economics and Business Development Jeremy Ott said. “Our customers will have access to a broad network of health care providers and to the patient financing PayMedix brings. Adding HPS/PayMedix to our network makes getting health care easier for our customers.”

“’We look forward to working with WPS to bring a more cost-effective, statewide health plan that can save employers and their employees money,” HPS/PayMedix CEO Tom Policelli said. “In addition, including the PayMedix consumer engagement and patient financing solution for HPS providers ensures patients aren’t avoiding care due to cost.”

The new HPS Network paired with the WPS Statewide Network will be available to select self-funded group health plan customers for the 2024 plan year.

About WPS Health Insurance®

As one of the largest health benefits providers in the state, Wisconsin Physicians Service Insurance Corporation (WPS Health Insurance) offers a variety of services and coverage with Preferred Provider Organization health plans for individuals, fully insured and self-funded group health plans for employers, and Medicare supplement insurance plans. Headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, and with employees throughout the state, WPS Health Insurance is deeply committed to Wisconsin and its residents. Visit for more information.

About Auxiant

Auxiant is an independent third-party administrator with more than 200 full-time employees and offices in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Madison, Wis., and Milwaukee, Wis. Auxiant has been in business since 1982 and is dedicated to providing its clients with the best possible service. Auxiant specializes in customization, cost control, health management, and technological tools for self-funded clients and members. Auxiant is known for its innovation and technology, constantly evolving to meet the needs of its clients.

About Health Payment Systems, Inc.

Health Payment Systems (HPS) is a privately held PPO network in the state of Wisconsin. HPS is the parent company to PayMedix, an EOB consolidation tool that serves all contracted providers and enrolled members. The PayMedix single-statement billing helps families combat confusing and unaffordable medical bills, while its guaranteed payment model eliminates provider collection costs and risk. HPS is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. To learn more, visit Health Payment Systems.


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AwardsMall / Total Awards & Promotions, Inc.: Nationwide Trophy Recycling Program Fundraiser on October 7

The Nationwide Trophy Recycling Program is having a fundraiser on Saturday, October 7, 2023. 

They will have hundreds of trophies for sale. Prices range from $3 to $125.

The funds support the operating costs of the recycling program to ensure sustainability.

The program keeps trophies from the landfills while giving them FREE to nonprofits nationwide.

A wide range of trophies from vintage to modern day and all sizes are available.

The fundraiser is from 9 AM to 1 PM at 6670 Odana Road in Market Square, Madison.

Photo by Richard Hurd

MSCR to celebrate Active Aging Month with a variety of free activities!

September 14, 2023

For Immediate Release

Contact: Nicole Graper, MSCR Marketing Specialist, at or 608-204-3017

MSCR to Celebrate Active Aging Month with a variety of free activities!
Adults 50+ and better are invited to join MSCR for enrichment, fitness and wellness workshops this October.

Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) is celebrating Active Aging Month with a variety of free activities and challenges on October 1-29. Adults, ages 50 and better, are invited to try a new activity, meet people and stay active by participating in more than 30 activities at several MSCR locations.

Activities include Ask the Trainer, Coloring for Relaxation, Chair One Dance Fitness, Nature Walk, Shopping & Preventing Identity Theft, TRX Yoga and more. Registration opens Monday, September 18 at 12pm at Participants have the option to earn raffle tickets for prizes by completing daily activities.

According to Mindy Vinje, MSCR 50+ Fitness & Wellness Specialist, “The goal of Active Aging Month is to demonstrate that individuals over 50 can thrive in all aspects of life, including physical, social, spiritual and emotional, regardless of age or health status. The month-long event at MSCR provides free opportunities to wellness activities and exercise programs for older adults, with the goal of showcasing age-friendly wellness programs and promoting a positive message of aging.”

In addition to this year’s Active Aging festivities, MSCR is holding a special celebration for caregivers on October 30 & 31. These free workshops are tailor made with caregivers’ needs in mind.

The complete schedule for all these events is available at

MSCR is Madison’s public recreation department and offers a variety of recreation programs for all ages. Please go to for more information or call 608-204-3000.


Photo by Richard Hurd

Seein’ is Believin’: “Feeding Our Bodies, Feeding Our Souls: The Mother’s Mental Health Moment”

🌟 Join Us for an Important Community Event 🌟

Hey everyone,

We’re excited to invite you to “Feeding Our Bodies, Feeding Our Souls: The Mother’s Mental Health Moment,” hosted by Seein’ is Believin’. 📅

Save the date for September 22nd, 2023, from 6:30 to 9:00 PM at MyArts, 1055 East Mifflin in Madison, Wisconsin.


🔹 Why This Event is Crucial 🔹

Recent tragedies, including a devastating mother-daughter murder-suicide and the loss of a teen from our community, make this event more important than ever. We aim to empower mothers and youth with mental health tools and community support.

🔸 Event Details 🔸

🎤 Moderated by Prenicia Clifton and featuring incredible speakers like Ruby Clay, Angela Hopgood, Qiana Holmes, and Brandi Grayson. Topics will cover building mental resilience, destigmatizing mental health, and more.

🌟 Special Features 🌟

🍲 Soul Food dinner provided

👶 Childcare provided

💵 $25 stipend for the first 100 moms

🚨 Spots are limited! 🚨

🆓 The event is FREE!

Don’t miss out! Secure your spot by registering today. Your participation is vital to making this event a success and supporting the well-being of mothers and youth in our community. Feel free to share the event and registration link with anyone who could benefit.

#SeeinIsBelievin #MaternalMentalHealth #CommunitySupport #MentalHealthAwareness