Posted on 01-20-2023

The Forj leadership team (from left): Kristen Wright, chief experience officer; Kurt Heikkinen, CEO; Mark Sehmer, chief technology officer; and Amber Winter, chief client officer.
Carrie A. Shepeard, Women in Bloom Photography

Courtesy of By Teddy Nykiel – Reporter
January 12, 2023, 10:50am CST

As its CEO for around a decade, Kurt Heikkinen previously led the growth of Montage Talent Inc., a Delafield-based recruiting and hiring automation company that merged with a Cleveland firm in 2019 to form what is now Modern Hire.

With his latest Milwaukee-area technology startup Forj, Heikkinen is tapping many of the same investors that backed Montage but isn’t taking as long when it comes to growing the business.

Less than two years after its launch, Forj raised $15 million and merged with Madison firm Web Courseworks as it looks to grow, Forj recently announced.

“We’re being more bold and we’re being more aggressive early on,” Heikkinen said. “It was several years into Montage before our first acquisition.”

Forj makes an online platform designed to help professional organizations engage members through virtual events, online communities and educational experiences. Web Courseworks is a learning management system that will be integrated into Forj.

Following the merger with Web Courseworks, Forj has around 65 employees — about 80% of which are in Wisconsin, Heikkinen said.

Forj currently serves around 75 clients, primarily professional organizations in industries including health care, education, science, technology, and government, he said.

“Individuals in … many professions are seeking that sense of connectedness, that sense of learning, that sense of belonging outside of their traditional employer,” Heikkinen said. “These communities of practice are growing dramatically, and they need technology to help support their mission.”

The $15 million investment in Forj was led by Plymouth Growth, an investment firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Baird Capital and Gary Comer Inc. (GCI), a Waukesha private equity firm established by the late founder of Dodgeville-based retail firm Lands’ End Inc., also invested. Plymouth Growth, Baird Capital and GCI were all investors in Montage.

Forj was launched in 2021. With the latest funding, the company has raised at least $21 million to date, according to Wisconsin Inno reporting. In June 2021, the company raised $4.5 million from Baird and GCI and at the time said it had raised a total of $6 million.

Posted on 11-28-2017

Cook County Health and Hospitals System in Chicago plans to implement a care management platform from Texture Health

Texture Health will integrate disparate clinical and administrative data sources to create a longitudinal health record for each patient, including relevant behavioral and social factors. The platform features a data visualization dashboard and metrics for care costs, patient satisfaction and provider performance. Texture Health’s platform facilitates collaboration between providers, payers and patients, including care coordination management and patient engagement capabilities. “Texture Health provides a 360-degree care management view of patients,” said Suresh Kumar, chief technology officer of Texture Health.

Read more.

Posted on 09-20-2017

Montage Acquires Greenjobinterview and Closes $8 Million Funding Round

Montage, the leading provider of purpose-built video and voice interviewing solutions to the world’s most well respected brands including 100 of the Fortune 500, today announced that it has acquired GreenJobInterview and completed an $8 million funding round led by Plymouth Growth Partners with participation from repeat investors Baird Capital, Beringea and GCI.

“Montage and GreenJobInterview have always shared critical characteristics – most importantly, a collective commitment to the candidate experience and exceptional service. This mutual philosophy made the acquisition a brand and culture fit for both organizations. Coupled with our continued 50 percent+ annual growth and new funding, we’re uniquely positioned to innovate and serve the needs of the global recruiting industry.” Shared Kurt Heikkinen, Montage President and CEO.

The additional funding and acquisition will support growth, accelerate global market expansion, fuel enhanced innovation of our award-winning platform, and reinforce our dominance in the global recruiting technology landscape.

Read more.

Posted on 09-30-2016

Acquisition Connects Patient, Provider Data via Integrated, User-Friendly Technology

Waukesha, Wisconsin (September 26, 2016)

Today Gary Comer Inc. (GCI) and owners of Safety Net Connect (SNC) announced they have acquired vCareConnect, establishing a next generation technology platform that will improve health care delivery by connecting the entire health care continuum—patient, care manager, and provider—in an intuitive, user-friendly format.

The partnership between GCI and SNC advances proven health information technology that improves care coordination between providers and creates a next generation technology with patients at the center of their own care. This fully-integrated solution will connect patients with their caregivers, empowering them to take an active role in their health care journey.

“I believe investing in cutting-edge technologies holds the key to transforming health care delivery. The acquisition of vCareConnect will facilitate both improved quality and efficiency of care for all patients,” said Stephanie Comer, Principal of GCI.

The addition of the vCare platform helps care managers take the next step in care management by fully engaging a patient in their own care in a method of their choice. Through the next generation platform, managers engage in dynamic communication with patients via an easily understandable patient-preferred channel, such as email, through a smartphone app, text, video chat, or a telephone call. Connecting patients to their care through modern platforms that reflect users’ everyday habits engages them more fully in a more approachable, comprehensive and effective manner.

“We are excited to be partnering with GCI and Safety Net Connect to revolutionize care management technology, expand the markets to which we bring our innovative technology, and improve health care for all populations,” said Suresh Kumar, founder of vCareConnect.

“Care coordination is often thought of as something that happens between care providers and healthcare systems – but patients play a pivotal role. The vCareConnect acquisition strengthens our mission of increasing access, quality, and health equity through the innovative use of technology,” said Chris Cruttenden, President of Safety Net Connect.

“We look forward to announcing the next steps in the coming months as we integrate our technology and vision to launch truly innovative and groundbreaking care management technology,” finished Comer.

About Safety Net Connect
Since 2009, Safety Net Connect (SNC) has been a leading creator of healthcare technology that makes it easier for providers and institutions to increase access to care, streamline care coordination, promote evidence-based practices, and improve quality. With a mission to improve health equity, SNC has helped public and private healthcare organizations across the nation successfully reach over 5 million low-income, underserved individuals with affordable, effective patient-centered care. For more information, please visit

About vCareConnect
vCareConnect is a technology solution created to improve patient engagement by providing care management tools to all stakeholders. The company’s technology platform provides transparency to the patient, provider, caregiver and care manager, enabling collaboration to achieve better, more efficient health outcomes.

Posted on 08-18-2016

Allium earned the rank of 2112 on the 2016. The ranking is based on percentage of revenue growth over a four year period. Allium attributes their success to their customers, employees, partners, friends, and family who have supported them and made this achievement possible.

Read more.

Posted on 04-13-2016

Sedia Systems, leading global manufacturer of fixed seating solutions, is excited to announce that the JumpSeat Collection is the winner of a 2014 GOOD DESIGN Award. GOOD DESIGN is the world’s oldest industrial design program. The revolutionary JumpSeat is a sleek and compact chair that closes to as little as 4 inches deep. A compact seating solution for multiple environments within education, corporate and healthcare facilities.

Read More.

Posted on 12-14-2015

Rivers End Trading company’s decoration team won two Golden Image awards from Specialty Graphic Imaging Association.

Read the press release and see images of the winning decoration.

Posted on 12-02-2015

LGI announced that Main Street Capital Corporation (NYSE:MAIN) purchased an equity stake in LGI and invested in private investment vehicles managed by LGI.

Read the full story.

Posted on 09-16-2015

Viewpoint Construction Software and MSI Data announced a strategic collaborative partnership. Together they will help service technicians improve productivity in the field by automating mobile work order management. Read more.

Posted on 07-28-2015

Gary Comer College Prep (GCCP) is on pace to hold the best graduation numbers in the country, recognizing its most impressive year yet: 100% of all seniors graduated and were accepted to a four-year institution. This monumental record outperforms Chicago Public Schools and the National Average graduation rate, at nearly 70% and 81% respectively.

Out of GCCP’s 136 graduating seniors, there were a total of 1,178 acceptances to four year schools, with a collective average of 9 acceptances per senior. Acceptances varied across 275 schools in 40 different states, including Brown, Columbia, Georgetown, and Stanford Universities.

Come fall, GCCP’s 2015 graduating class will be matriculating to 51 different schools in 16 different states.

As for GCCP’s Alumni, 90% have remained in contact with the school in the last 6 months, while percentages on pace to graduate in 4-6 years remain steady.
To learn more about the #1 high school on Chicago’s South Side, visit Gary Comer College Prep (GCCP).

Posted on 04-08-2015

GCI is proud to support Gary Comer College Prep

Gary Comer College Prep student group was one of 15 out of 1,500 teams of student filmmakers selected to premiere a clip at the White House Student Film Festival and meet with President Barack Obama.

The students’ entry was a hip-hop music video highlighting the school’s unique C.H.A.M.P.S. mentoring program (Culturally Helping And Making Positive Success.) C.H.A.M.P.S. is an initiative that aims to bring three “E”s—education, empowerment and exposure—to young African-American men at the school, providing them with tools they need to excel in life.

Read the full story by Joseph Erbentraut, Huffington Post, April 4, 2015.

Posted on 09-18-2014

“We are honored to be among the companies selected for the 2014 Future 50 award,” says Harvey Shovers, MSI President. “This award is an important recognition for MSI, particularly for our employees whose talent and hard work are behind our standout growth, not only in Milwaukee, but in the field service software industry as well.”

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Posted on 09-16-2014

GCI’s investment in River’s End Trading Company Team fuels new lines and brand relationships, inventory and service team growth

River’s End Trading announced in April 2014 a new CEO, new capital investment, and a commitment to their suppliers and distributors to deliver fresh apparel and brand building solutions.

Read More: Press Release

Posted on 04-11-2014

River’s End Trading Company announces the appointment of John Maher as CEO and a capital investment from GCI, a leading private equity firm.  These announcements highlight River’s End Trading’s focus on growth through innovative apparel products and strategic approaches to exceptional customer experience. River’s End Trading will continue to serve the corporate, promotional, and golf retail markets with apparel.


Read More: Press Release

Posted on 11-12-2013

GCI announces a strategic investment in Looking Glass Investments (LGI). Founded in January 2012, LGI invests in promissory notes from borrower members of the two largest peer to peer online lenders in the United States: Lending Club Corporation and Prosper Marketplace. LGI is currently managing $1.25M and plans to have $3M under management by the end of 2013. The Company integrates skillfully developed proprietary predictive analytics with proven technology to evaluate investment opportunities and provide double digit returns. In 2014, LGI will manage a fund for accredited investors. GCI’s support aligns with its philosophy to promote sustainable partnerships with companies deploying innovative approaches to existing markets.

Read More: Press Release

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GCI has invested $5 million in Looking Glass Investments, a Milwaukee investment firm that invests in Peer to Peer Lending and has developed proprietary software which evaluates 500 factors and uses complicated mathematical formulas to determine which loans offered by the online lenders are least likely to default and can deliver higher returns.

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Posted on 06-09-2013

Montage Talent Inc., a provider of video interviewing technology, raised $4 million in a funding round led by Baird Venture Partners. Montage will use the money to grow the company and add to its staff of more than 30 employees. 

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MSI Data,announced mobile software that can be deployed across multiple platforms including iOS, Android, and Windows mobile devices. MSI Field Force Studio offers a suite of configurable mobile applications that can automate tasks such as repair, installation, and preventative maintenance, as well as inspections, site surveys, and assessments. The technology is designed for field service organizations, such as those in the construction industry. The mobile software can be used on iPads, iPhones, Android, and Windows mobile devices. 

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Production issues at several nuclear power plants outside the U.S. during the last few years and worries about nuclear proliferation prompted the federal government in 2009 to look for ways to make a critical medical isotope more safely and closer to home. 

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Fruit Trees tops the year’s story as GCI portfolio companies supported and voted for the Make Miracles Grow Foundation – the winner in the Edy’s Communities Take Root program. MMGF is a foundation formed by the Comer Science and Education Foundation, to support its education initiative in the south side of Chicago. Serving the underserved children of the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood, these trees will provide summer jobs for kids and fresh fruit for the entire community.

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GCI invests with its newest partners in the formation of an Information Technology staffing business, Allium, LLC. The goal of Allium is to create lasting placement opportunities for our candidates and a value add and consultative approach to our customers to help address their IT needs. While there are many staffing firms, Allium brings the high touch and quality approach to filling our customer’s needs.

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MSI Data Systems Inc., a Mequon company behind the software, is bringing that same kind of productivity improvement to what some say is a $1 billion software market for small and midsize businesses whose employees work outside the office.

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