Vidmaker Acquired by YouTube

vidmaker logoVidmaker has been acquired by YouTube for an undisclosed sum. Vidmaker created an online collaborative video editor which enables real time editing, sharing, and management of videos between multiple people.

The company was founded in 2011 and previously raised approximately $650,000 in funding. Vidmaker was also a participant in the first class of the TechStars San Antonio accelerator in 2012.

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StartingBlock Madison Announces Significant Milestone

startingblock-logoAt a breakfast event attended by nearly 100 business and community leaders, including Toni Sikes, Mayor Paul Soglin, MGE CEO Gary J. Wolter and American Family Insurance CEO Jack Salzwedel, StartingBlock Madison announced more details of its plan to create a 50,000 square-foot entrepreneurial hub in the Capitol East District of downtown Madison.

Headlining the event was the announcement that American Family Insurance has pledged a major investment toward construction of the project, joining the City of Madison which has already committed $1.5 million in its 2015 budget. StartingBlock is now looking for additional private funding to match the $1.5 million contribution from the city, as well as $1.5 million for an operating reserve.

This represents a significant milestone for the StartingBlock Madison project, which has now been in the works for 2 years. The project is spearheaded by Capital Entrepreneurs, gener8tor, Sector67, as well as a group of business and community leaders. Pending additional funding from the private sector, construction of the building would begin in the fall of 2015, with an opening slated by the end of 2016.

“The potential of StartingBlock Madison to foster economic growth and job creation in our community is strong and definitely worth pursuing. It will not only help create our region’s next generation of companies, it will develop talented, motivated young people needed by existing employers to innovate in their marketplace.” – Jack Salzwedel, CEO of American Family Insurance

More information on the StartingBlock Madison project is available here, and more information on this most recent announcement is available here.

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1 Million Cups Launches in Madison

1-million-cups-logoMadison soon will be the newest home of a national program to engage, educate and connect local entrepreneurs. 1 Million Cups — based on the notion that entrepreneurs network and discover solutions over a million cups of coffee — is a free, weekly gathering in which every Wednesday morning, one or two early-stage startups present their companies to an audience of mentors, advisers and other entrepreneurs. Each founder presents for six minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience.

1 Million Cups began in 2012 at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo. More information on upcoming Madison sessions is here.

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Gener8tor Raises $2M+ Fund

gener8torMadison and Milwaukee based startup accelerator gener8tor has announced the completion of their latest fund – “gener8tor Fund II”. The $2.1 million raised will provide funding for continued operation and investments of the gener8tor accelerator program. Funding was led by CSA Partners, Venture Management, and Wisconsin Investment Partners.

Gener8tor’s 28 portfolio companies to date have raised nearly $30 million in funding. Applications are due for the next accelerator class on January 1. More information on the new fund is available here.

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Madison a Top City for Young Entrepreneurs

NerdWallet_LogoMadison was ranked as the 2nd best city in the country for young entrepreneurs by finance site NerdWallet. The site compiled ratings based on access to funds, networking and mentoring opportunities, the strength of the local economy, and the cost-of-living.

Young entrepreneurs in Madison benefit from one of the highest per capita rates of small business loans ($799 per loan) in any major city. Three of the top five cities were located in the Midwest. The full rankings and more information is available here.

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Bakken Launches Healthcare IT Focused VC Fund

nordic-logoNordic Consulting co-founder and CEO Mark Bakken is stepping aside to launch a new venture fund targeting seed and early stage healthcare IT startups in Madison. Nordic, an Epic consulting firm, has experienced rapid growth in recent years and now employs nearly 500 people. It was also recently recognized as the 46th fastest-growing privately held company in the U.S. on the annual Inc. 500 list.

“Madison is quickly gaining national recognition as a world class healthcare hub.” – Mark Bakken

More information on Nordic and the new fund is available here.

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Gener8tor Accepting Applications for Winter 2015 Class

gener8torApplications for gener8tor’s “Madison 2015” program are now open. gener8tor is a startup accelerator that invests its community, capital, expertise, mentorship and network in capable, early-stage entrepreneurs with innovative business models.

gener8tor is seeking to invest in technology-enabled businesses including software, IT, web, SaaS, e-commerce, and hardware. Accepted companies receive up to $120,000 of guaranteed funding and 12 weeks of mentorship-driven programming. gener8tor is a proud member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) and is sponsored by American Family Insurance. To date, gener8tor’s 28 portfolio companies have raised nearly $30 million, with average follow-on funding exceeding $800,000 per company.

There is an Information Session in Madison on December 2, and more info is here. Applications are now being accepted through January 1 here.

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Murfie Featured in Inc.

murfie_logo_blackMurfie was featured in an article in Inc. magazine about “5 Interesting Startups from the Midwest“. The article highlights some of the unique traits startups in the Midwest often have, including homegrown hospitality, lower over head/cost of living/small business taxes, and a little extra heart. Read the full article here.

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Madison Wayward Nation Episode Airs

WAYWARD_NIGHT-LOGO-16-9-0Last summer the Wayward Nation film crew traveled the country documenting the “New American Dream“. They stopped for a few days of adventure in Madison, where they spent time at Sector67 and PerBlue. You can check out the full season of episodes on Ora TV.

The full episode (#9 – “The New American Dream is Hacked”) is available here. An additional interview with Sector67 founder Chris Meyer is available here, and a video game pitch session is available here.

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Build Madison returns November 8-9, 2014

buildmadisonlogoWe’re excited to announce the 5th annual Build Madison event coordinated by Capital Entrepreneurs and hosted at Sector67. Build Madison is a 24 hour hackathon that gives you the opportunity to set aside some time over the weekend to finally get to that project you’ve been thinking about for a long time!

The weekend starts out on Saturday, November 8th, at noon, when we’ll host short (<1 minute) pitches from anyone who has a project they're contemplating working on. This will allow people who don't have their own project to work on to collaborate with others; and also to get a general idea of the kinds of projects to expect for the next 24 hours. After that, you can spend the next 24 hours working with others or on your own project, and when noon on Sunday swings around we'll have short project presentations and/or sharing of lessons learned (aka: why my project didn't quite get done in time!).

That's as simple as it is - take the 24 hour period as seriously or as inquisitively as you'd like. In the past, projects have varied from very sophisticated to very basic, software to hardware, art to engineering - so don't feel like your concept isn't going to fit in - it will.

This is a FREE event. Please register at the Build Madison website to attend.

build-madison-2013-pitchesWho: Anyone interested
What: 24 hackathon
Where: Sector67 – 2100 Winnebago St, Madison, WI – short ride on your bicycle, hop on the bus, or take advantage of parking in front of the building for your car
When: November 8th at noon through the 9th, with project presentations starting at 11AM on the 9th
Why: A great excuse to focus on a project for a weekend and meet with other interesting folks too

Check out the prior project summaries here.

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PerBlue’s Titan Empires at 1M+ Players

perbluePerBlue‘s latest game, Titan Empires, launched globally just over 3 weeks ago and now has well over 1 million players worldwide. It took over 3 years for their first title, Parallel Kingdom, to reach that milestone. Titan Empires was also featured on the Google Play Store all week. Read more here.

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EatStreet Raises $4M in Funding

eat-street-logo-2EatStreet has added an additional $4M in funding to the $6M already raised this year, closing a total Series B round of $10M. EatStreet provides an online ordering platform for 15,000 restaurants in 125 cities across the US. This latest $4M round was led by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) and 4490 Ventures. EatStreet plans to invest heavily in marketing targeting university campuses across the country as well as continue to add restaurants and enter new markets.

Read more from the Wisconsin State Journal here.

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Rise of the Rest Hits Madison Next Week

rise-of-the-rest-logoThe Rise of the Rest Road Trip will kick off with a stop in Madison next week Monday, October 6th. The tour, spearheaded by investor and AOL Co-founder Steve Case, will begin on October 6th and visit five Midwest cities: Madison, Minneapolis, Des Moines, Kansas City and St. Louis.

The day in Madison will include a number of events taking place at the Majestic Theatre downtown. These include a Fireside Chat, Pitch Competition, and Happy Hour. The Pitch Competition will feature Madison startups including Beekeeper Labs, CODAWorx, Fishidy, MobCraft, Murfie, Project Foundry, SnowShoe, Stemina Biomarker Discovery, and WholeTrees who will be competing for $100,000.

The Rise of the Rest events on October 6th are free to attend: RSVP here

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MobCraft Equity Crowdfunding Launches

MobCraft-logoAfter months of getting the final pieces to fall into place, the first equity crowdfunding campaign in Wisconsin is finally off the ground. MobCraft Beer officially launched their equity crowdfunding campaign this week via the CraftFund portal and is the first company to utilize this new funding source.

MobCraft intended to start their fundraising campaign immediately after the equity crowdfunding law was passed back in June, but ran into issues with getting banks to sign on as the escrow agent for the funds, which was required by the law. The Wisconsin Bankers Association finally created a template for this type of deal, and Monona State Bank has stepped forward as the escrow agent.

MobCraft intends to raise $250,000 to $500,000 and issue up to 142,857 shares. Wisconsin residents may now purchase shares here over the next 45-90 days. Check out the recent Wisconsin State Journal article here.

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Zendesk Opens Madison Office

zendesk-logoZendesk has just moved into their new 14,000 sqft Madison office on the Capitol Square. Zendesk was founded in 2007 in Copenhagen, had $72M in revenue in 2013, and recently raised $100M in an IPO in May. The company makes a customer service technology platform that serves 45,000 companies worldwide. The Madison office is the company’s primary global support center, and employs nearly 60 people with plans to add more.

Zendesk’s Madison presence started as temporary, but has now turned into the largest North American based office outside of San Francisco. They were attracted to Madison’s burgeoning tech scene and access to talent, and chose to locate in Madison over Austin, Raleigh, Boulder, and Denver. Zendesk joins significant tech companies including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon (via Shopbop) that have opened offices in Madison in the last few years.

Read more on this here and here.

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