With donations from two more prominent foundations, StartingBlock Madison is gaining momentum. Following significant investments from American Family Insurance and the City of Madison, the most recent donations from the MG&E Foundation and Evjue Foundation come as StartingBlock recently named Scott Resnick as executive director of the future entrepreneurial hub in Madison.
“Our innovative enterprise businesses are sending a clear signal that they value entrepreneurship and view it as a vital piece of the success for our region in their support of StartingBlock. A key element in growing entrepreneurship is spaces that are conducive to the economic gardening necessary to grow an economy.”
– Zach Brandon, President, Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce
StartingBlock will provide emerging companies with workspace and resources that will give entrepreneurs the best chance of success and spur innovation.The many resources that will be offered at StartingBlock include coworking space, educational programming, and startup accelerators like gener8tor. In addition, Sector67 and Capital Entrepreneurs will both have new homes on the 50,000 square foot entrepreneurial hub.
Scott Resnick, COO of Hardin Design & Development and former Madison city alder, was part of the original planning group for StartingBlock and has been a passionate advocate for the concept. Resnick will serve as executive director supporting the StartingBlock board of directors during this formative period of fundraising, organizational and operations development.
StartingBlock plans to be part of a new building in the Capitol East district of downtown Madison. Construction is planned to begin in 2015 with occupants moving in at the end of 2016. For more information on StartingBlock, go here. If you are interested in contributing to the StartingBlock fundraising campaign, contact Scott.
The 3rd annual Forward Festival Startup Showcase returns this year and will be bigger and better than ever! This year, the Startup Showcase will join forces with the Pressure Chamber competition for a Startup Pitch Night evening following the Forward Technology Conference on August 25, 2015. The density created by having all of these popular events together will create a truly unique experience, bringing hundreds of entrepreneurs, business, civic and education leaders together in celebration of all of the innovation happening in greater Madison.
Nominate a startup to pitch in the 2015 Startup Showcase or Pressure Chamber event by July 7 here.
About Startup Showcase: The Forward Festival Startup Showcase features an evening of startup pitches from some of Madison’s most compelling emerging companies. Five to seven startups will be selected to give a 5- minute “demo day” style pitch. In addition, several Startup Showcase alumni from past years will take part in a lightning round of 1-minute update pitches. The Startup Showcase is a high energy stage that celebrates and showcases what’s next in Madison’s startup ecosystem. Checkout highlights from last year’s event here.
About Pressure Chamber: Whether your company is currently raising or planning to raise investment capital in the future, Pressure Chamber is a valuable platform to tell your story and make new connections across the country. A select number of companies will be chosen to pitch in front of a panel of investors, business executives and a live audience at the Pressure Chamber event. In addition to receiving the coveted golden suitcase and other prizes, the winning company receives an all-expenses paid spot on the Chamber’s exclusive Madison-area startup delegation to Palo Alto in October for meetings with top Silicon Valley investment firms.
The Startup Showcase is presented by Capital Entrepreneurs and Accelerate Madison, and the Pressure Chamber is presented by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and Michael Best & Friedrich. Startup Pitch Night is part of the 2015 Forward Festival, which runs August 20-27, 2015.
Quickstep Technologies, a big data startup founded by a UW professor, was recently acquired by Pivotal. This is now the third startup that Jignesh Patel has sold as a co-founder. Patel is a long time computer science professor at UW, but he will now take a year away to serve as chief scientist at Pivotal. Quickstep has developed a unique data processing technology that allows companies to process data quicker and more cost effectively. You can read more about Quickstep here.
The Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Content has selected 13 finalists from a field of over 200 startups. A majority of this year’s finalists are from the Madison area, including AltusCampus, bluDiagnostics Fertility Finder, ConfPlus, CountAbout, Élevé Technical Innerwear, KIINCE, Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling, OnLume, and Hunt Butler. The competition will conclude at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Read more here.
Fetch Rewards raised $4 million in Series A funding recently. The company, which has developed an innovative app for grocery shoppers, will use the money to scale their business from 10 stores to as many as 100. The service allows customers to track their purchases as they go and apply coupons when they are available. Shoppers also accumulate points for using Fetch, which can be redeemed to buy special in store items. To date, Fetch has raised $8.5 million.
Read more about Fetch Rewards recent funding here.
The 2015 Startup Weekend Madison was a huge success. This year’s 54-hour marathon event featured nine teams who worked tirelessly all weekend to create incredible projects. Congratulations to everyone who participated and we hope you enjoyed the experience. You can check out some pictures from the event here, as well as a list of all the teams here.
This year three awards were not enough. The high quality of presentations led the judges to add on a fourth award, which they named the “YOLO award.” This award was designed to recognize YOLO Pops for their innovative Jello Shot Sticks that won over everyone at Startup Weekend.
All teams did an exceptional job and we wish you all luck as you continue to pursue your goals! The top three teams this year were:
1. Blinky: An accessory for bikers, Blinky plans to revolutionize biker safety. You no longer need to worry about dangerous hand signals because Blinky will alert people behind you which way you are turning with flashing arrows. In addition to winning first place, they also won the crowd favorite award.
2. Cranberry: In order to improve the health care system, Cranberry has created an At-home UTI testing device. The goal is to connect you to a prescription in minutes rather than spending time and money on doctor visits. Cranberry is well on the way to solving an issue that could save health care providers millions in wasted costs.
3. MD Forms: Have you ever spent too long waiting to see a doctor? MD Forms has created a solution that will ensure more efficient doctor visits. Their technology will allow patients to spend more time with the doctor and less time filling out forms through their patient generated notes for clinicians.
Madison and Milwaukee based startup accelerator gener8tor graduated their most recent class of 5 startups. Gener8tor’s Premiere Night took place May 14 at the Barrymore Theater in Madison, where the 5 companies took the stage along with Jack Salzwedel (CEO of American Family Insurance) and the UW Band. Graduates of gener8tor’s latest class include AltusCampus, Bright Cellars, Carson Life, GrocerKey, and Passage.
Watch the full Premiere Night video here. More information on gener8tor’s latest class and Premiere Night can be found here.
Madison and San Francisco based startup SnowShoe recently announced a $1M funding round. They had previously raised $2.5M in earlier rounds.
Founded by three UW graduate students in 2011, SnowShoe sells an intelligent piece of plastic that interacts with touch screens. Among its many uses, the plastic stamp allows users to instantly download music, authenticate purchases, and even transport real life toys into online video games. The newest round of fundraising will allow the company to scale up production of its stamps to reduce the selling price from $2.50 a stamp to fewer than 50 cents each.
SnowShoe, who recently completed the TechStars Disney Accelerator, also announced a new platform that will allow developers to more easily integrate their web pages with the stamps. Read more about SnowShoe and their latest developments on TechCrunch and Xconomy.
Capital Entrepreneurs would like to congratulate the eight companies who just completed the Madworks Seed Accelerator program. The most recent class featured a variety of different tech innovations, cashmere baby wraps, a new yoga music company, a product to aid event promotion, and a foot care device for the elderly.
Madwork’s 10 week course, which is designed to help young companies further develop their ideas, has now successfully worked with a total of 30 companies over the last two years. With a combination of mentoring and capital, the program has been instrumental in helping local startups (and a team from Brazil this year) get their ideas off the ground. Madworks is unique from other accelerator programs because of their focus on problem solving, something that is particularly important for companies in the early development stages.
Applications for the next class are due May 15, with the program set to begin May 26th.
Catalyze recently completed a $4M funding round. The company previously raised a $2M Series A round following completion of the gener8tor accelerator program in 2013. Catalyze provides HIPAA-compliant cloud computing services for the healthcare industry.
More information can be found on Xconomy here.
Drifty recently completed an additional $2.6 million funding round led by Lightbank in Chicago, with additional participation from Arthur Ventures. Drifty previously raised $1 million in funding last year, and this latest investment marks Lightbank’s second investment in a Madison based company following their investment in PerBlue last year.
Drifty is the creator of the Ionic Framework, which makes it possible for web developers to build and publish native mobile applications. Ionic is one of the top 50 most popular open source projects in the world, and is used by developers ranging from individuals to Fortune 50 companies.
Read more about Drifty and their latest funding round on TechCrunch here.
Startup Weekend returns to Madison April 10-12, 2015 for the fourth annual Startup Weekend Madison event! Register by March 27 to save 25%!
Startup Weekend is a weekend long event where developers, designers, marketers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups. To get a better idea about the event, check out a brief video trailer here.
More info and to register: REGISTER NOW
Startup Weekend is a true risk-free environment and a great opportunity for both new and seasoned entrepreneurs to gain valuable entrepreneurial experiences and put their unique skill sets to use, meet great people, and have fun. People of all different backgrounds and with all different skills are encouraged to participate.
Organizing partners for the event include Capital Entrepreneurs, Sector67, The Doyenne Group, UW-Madison, Edgewood College, and Madworks Coworking. The event is hosted by University Research Park.
Healthfinch recently completed a $1.5M financing round led by Jumpstart Ventures. Healthfinch has raised $2.8M total since its founding in 2011. Healthfinch focuses on automating and improving the routine, repeatable work that physicians and healthcare staff are tasked with. The company’s first product, Swoop, focuses on increasing the efficiency of prescription refill requests and is used by more than 1,000 doctors to process more than 1 million prescription refill requests since launching in 2012. Healthfinch intends to expand their product line in the coming year.
More information on this financing round can be found on Xconomy here.
The Madison and Milwaukee based gener8tor startup accelerator, earned a ranking of #14 in the 2014 Seed Accelerator Rankings Project that was published today at SXSW. According to the rankings organizers, competition for the top 20 spots this year was fierce. With so many new programs coming into their own, and the addition of eligibility for non-equity-taking programs and programs with specific affiliation requirements, the pool for this yearâ€™s ranking has grown considerably. Over 150 accelerators around the US were ranked based on metrics including: valuations, fundraising, exits and survival.
More information is available on TechCrunch and the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project.
HealthMyne announced that it has raised $4.5 million in a Series A round of investment. The round was led by Venture Investors and 4490 Ventures. Additional participation included HealthX Ventures and several prominent angel investors.
HealthMyne is an early stage healthcare informatics company focused on bringing evidence-based imaging analysis to the point of care, and was founded in 2013 by a seasoned group of passionate healthcare industry entrepreneurs who have enjoyed overlapping business success. The funds will be used to expand and accelerate HealthMyneâ€™s product development, regulatory, and commercialization efforts.
More information can be found here.