Varsity Venture Studio Launches Transfur to Address the Complexities of Veterinary Referrals

High Alpha Innovation

University of Wisconsin-Madison-based venture studio generates new startup to harmonize the process between primary and specialty veterinarians.

MADISON, WI — October 21, 2021 — Today Varsity Venture Studio (Varsity) announced the public launch of Transfur (, a comprehensive referral management platform for the vet industry. Transfur is the first startup to emerge from Varsity -- a collaborative venture studio between the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), and High Alpha Innovation -- and is the product of Varsity’s inaugural business-building Sprint process.

Transfur makes it easy for veterinarians to request, send, manage and review medical records. As a business-to-business software-as-a-service (B2B SaaS) offering, the company brings a new level of innovation and efficiency to the vet space.

The inception of Transfur is a narrative that begins on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. As a university venture studio, Varsity brings execution to innovation. By actively shaping promising concepts via entrepreneurial coaching and feedback, functional support, and recruiting external resources to partner with emerging campus innovators, ideas are launched with the highest probability of success. The studio enables campus-born ideas to be commercialized in new startups, and as a collaborative effort with High Alpha Innovation and WARF, Varsity is the first university venture studio of its kind.

In the fall of 2020, Varsity announced an initial campus-wide call for innovative startup ideas from UW-Madison students, faculty, and staff. After evaluating nearly 150 submissions, Varsity systematically narrowed the idea pipeline to four concepts that were vetted through a Sprint Week, with ultimately one emerging to be launched as a software business: the idea for Transfur was sourced from co-founding sisters Annie and Ali Pankowski. The Pankowskis have experienced the challenges of referral management firsthand growing up around their family’s veterinary practice and now as Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of California, Davis, respectively. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the $32B veterinary market experienced an unexpected strain on veterinary practices, primarily due to a sharp increase in demand for veterinary services. As a result, veterinarians are looking for ways to be more efficient and more effectively utilize their staff -- outcomes that Transfur aims to deliver while addressing the lack of interoperability, integrations and standards within veterinary medicine today.

“With Annie and Ali’s clinical expertise and real-world experience, we developed strong conviction to launch this company,” notes High Alpha Innovation CEO Elliott Parker. “The Pankowski sisters have spent their lives in this world, and their solution to a pressing problem was at the very heart of our mission with Varsity Venture Studio.”

Varsity tapped Scott Brown, an accomplished entrepreneur and technology executive, to serve as Transfur’s co-founder and CEO. Brown most recently served as Chief Technology Officer at Revealix, a computer vision and artificial intelligence platform to prevent diabetic limb complications.

“With today’s launch of Transfur, we’re delivering on Varsity Venture Studio’s promise to turn our campus community’s brightest ideas into software businesses,” concludes Erik Iverson, CEO of WARF. “I couldn’t be more excited to see what the Transfur team is going to accomplish from here -- the Wisconsin Idea is very much alive through this new company and Varsity Venture Studio.”

About Varsity Venture Studio

Varsity Venture Studio, a University of Wisconsin-Madison-wide venture studio, turns ideas into funded software businesses. Varsity Venture Studio is a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) and High Alpha Innovation, and is the first university venture studio of its kind. Learn more about Varsity Venture Studio at

About Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF)

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) helps steward the cycle of research, discovery, commercialization and investment for the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Founded in 1925 as an independent, nonprofit foundation, WARF manages more than 2,000 patents and an investment portfolio as it funds university research, obtains patents for campus discoveries and licenses inventions to industry. For more information, visit

About High Alpha Innovation

High Alpha Innovation is an Indianapolis-based venture studio that partners with corporations and universities. Its dedicated team of company builders, strategists, and designers apply a proven venture studio playbook — pioneered by High Alpha — to help the world’s leading organizations innovate through systematic startup creation. Learn more about High Alpha Innovation at


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