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Honoree Headshot

Satvir Kalsi

Co-Founder and CSO
Otto Sciences

Location: Waukesha County, WI
Founded: 2018
Industry: Tech and Deep Tech (Biotech, Medtech, SpaceTech)

Otto Sciences’ ambitious mission is to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Satvir Kalsi and his co-founder brother, Harsiman, are thinking big — really big. Like curing cancer. Changing the landscape of medical testing. Bringing medical testing into outer space. Saving lives.

“If something is worth pursuing, it’s worth pursuing despite the odds of loss,” Kalsi said. “The key to leading an evolving industry is to cultivate a culture of continual perseverance. This is especially true in healthcare and biotechnology but applies across many other industries. I’m dedicated to the discovery of innovative approaches at the cutting-edge of our knowledge because lives often depend on it. Especially now, the future of every industry seems to lie in the hands of its innovators and the leaders who would see it come to fruition.”

Together, Kalsi and his brother have grown Otto from an idea to a revenue-generating business that works with NASA, Redwire, RPRD, the Milwaukee Institute of Drug Discovery, Concordia University and others.

Through Kalsi’s leadership, Otto grew its supply-side capacity from $4,000 to over $3.7 million in just one year and became the only marketplace on the planet that allows you to run R&D or marketing endeavors in space.

Kalsi described his excitement seeing the results of an MRI that had undergone analysis by machine learning algorithms. The results of merging math, science and technology offered a wealth of possibilities.

“Imagine if we could see brain cancer so well that it had no place to hide,” he said. “Imagine if our technology was so good that we were able to catch the smallest runaway cancer cell and save a patient from almost certain death.

“New research allowed us to match cellular data with radiological data, correlating them and giving a view of a patient’s brain that had never been seen before. An ingenious use of mathematics, science, and technology promised to turn one of the deadliest cancers in the world into something treatable, something knowable. It felt like overnight, with the right data and approach, we could invent an arsenal of tools available to doctors and surgeons everywhere.”

Otto has placed in several high-profile pitch competitions including Accelerating Medical Product Development’s Healthcare Innovation Pitch Competition, the Foxconn Smart Cities Smart Futures Competition, Milky Way Tech Hub’s Final Pitch Competition, FOR-M alumni pitch and the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

While Otto’s goals are lofty, Kalsi is motivated by the simple desire to advocate for patients. He relayed the story of an elderly patient who had a stroke that took away her ability to speak clearly. She had a problem with her legs but couldn’t express that and was incredibly frustrated and ready to give up.

“Eventually, she and I were able to make a breakthrough,” Kalsi said. “The gratitude in her expressions when we figured out which leg was truly giving her trouble, and the relief she expressed, made everything worth it.”

Presented by:

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Satvir once had many pet ducklings.

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