Wisconsin’s new $30 million venture capital fund, 4490 Ventures, has officially launched, with San Francisco Bay Area VC investor Greg Robinson to lead the fund. 4490 Ventures, which focuses on information technology startups, was announced nearly a year ago by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). With Robinson on board, the fund is now officially able to begin making investments.
Robinson was previously one of two partners at Peninsula Ventures, an early-stage VC firm in California. As the leader of the 4490 Venture fund, Robinson will, according to a press release, “identify investment themes, source new investment opportunities, serve on boards of new investments he leads, and act as a mentor and advisor to young start-up companies”.
More on 4490 Ventures here.
This year, four Capital Entrepreneurs members were named to the InBusiness 40 Under 40 list for 2014. The 40 Under 40 list honors emerging business stars under 40 years of age in the greater Madison area.
Brad Grzesiak, co-founder and CEO of Bendyworks. Grzesiak is also very involved in Madison’s tech scene as an early member of Capital Entrepreneurs and a chair of Madisonium, a group working to raise Madison’s visibility as a tech/Internet hub. Recently, Grzesiak was named to the city of Madison’s Digital Technology Committee.
Max Lynch, founder and CTO of Drifty Co. Lynch looks to reinvest in young tech entrepreneurs to “build software companies focused on profitability and sustainability.” He aims to have Drifty Co. “impact the world” and “put Madison on the map for Internet companies like Mailchimp and 37signals.”
Daniel Neely, founder and CEO of Networked Insights. Neely became CEO of Networked Insights at the age of 29 and has since grown the company to over 150 employees. He has also earned a board position with UW Business School’s Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship program.
Ben Raboine, CTO of Optimal Media Group. Raboine founded his first company at the age of 21 and is currently an equal partner in six LLC enterprises: Raboine Web Matrix, Optimal Media Group, Custom Offsets, Vistrata Health, Mysteria Games, and SeeMeNow. Raboine hopes to one day become an angel investor to help more fellow Madison and Wisconsin entrepreneurs.
Wellbe, a Madison health IT startup, is a top contender in two nationwide contests, each of which carries a grand prize of up to $100,000.
Wellbe, founded in 2008 by James Dias, has developed Guided CarePaths, a series of online tools used to help prepare patients for surgery and keep them on track for recovery. Wellbe’s program is currently being implemented by four hospitals, including UW Hospital, and has helped over 5,000 patients.
In an effort to get a sense of what the health care industry thought of CarePaths, Dias applied to the competitions, and was pleasantly surprised when Wellbe was named a finalist in both the Henry Ford Innovation Institute HealthTech Challenge and the Patient Education App Challenge by Box, Dignity Health and The Social + Capital Partnership.
Read more about Wellbe’s competition success here.
Branch2, a new company working to create software that will link various parts of the healthcare system, has just been recently launched by Blue Tree Network Co-Founder Reggie Luedtke. His second healthcare IT startup, Leudtke hopes to use Branch2 to convince healthcare providers to share more data, and break down bureaucratic divisions across the industry. Using software to connect different entities within the healthcare system will make it easier for hospitals, clinics, and health insurance companies to share data, while still adhering to regulations like HIPAA.
Branch2 currently has 2 full-time and 14 part-time staff and plans to increase hiring after securing investment. Branch2 is also partnering with Madison software companies MIOsoft and Hardin Design & Development to perform application development and data analysis.
More information on Branch2 here.
100health, a new company housed in the current Madison co-working space 100state, is working to put Madison on the map as a leading hub for healthcare and healthtech startups. Part think tank and part startup incubator, 100health will work with healthcare providers, insurers, and other organizations to try to identify problems that could be solved using technology tools. 100health will then help to create startups that will build software to address these problems. The startups will receive office space at 100state, as well as some funds to cover operating costs, and connections to a network of business mentors and investors.
Founded by former Epic employees Niko Skievaski, James Lloyd, and Luke Bonney, 100health’s portfolio contains such companies as Patient Proxy, Inc.Well, and ICD-10 Illustrated. In addition, they are aiming to hire about five to ten staff and recruit about 100 entrepreneurs by the end of the year.
More in-depth information on 100health’s launch here.
Brad Grzesiak, co-founder and CEO of Bendyworks, was featured in an article in the Wisconsin State Journal last Sunday. Grzesiak, who originally worked designing products to be launched into space, is now working to create software programs designed to meet companies specific needs through Bendyworks, which he co-founded in 2009.
Grzesiak is also very involved in Madison’s tech scene as an early member of Capital Entrepreneurs and a chair of Madisonium, a group working to raise Madison’s visibility as a tech/Internet hub. And recently, Grzesiak was named to the city of Madison’s Digital Technology Committee. Full story, including a Q&A segment with Grzesiak here.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian will be featured at an upcoming Wisconsin Union Directorate Distinguished Lecture Series event on Thursday, February 20th, starting at 7:30 pm. Alexis is currently on a tour for his latest book, Without Their Permission, which aims to promote Internet startups and entrepreneurial environment among students and the community. The event will also feature UW-Madison alumnus Nilay Patel, who is currently the managing editor of the Verge. This event is free and open to the public, however, seats are first come first serve. There will also be a book signing and reception after the event. More info about the event can be found here.
Greater Madison’s most promising early-stage companies will have the chance to promote their work, connect with investors and potentially join an exclusive delegation of Madison-area startups in meetings with global venture investment firms, all as part of a new business pitch contest called Pressure Chamber. The live competition will be held in conjunction with the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce neXXpo: Business in Fast Forward on April 8 at the Alliant Energy Center.
The winner of the Pressure Chamber will join a delegation of top Greater Madison startups in a series of meetings with prominent venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, organized by the Chamber and supporting partner organizations. The application period for interested startups is now open. For more information and to apply, go here.
“This is not only a significant opportunity for entrepreneurs, this is an opportunity for Greater Madison to be recognized nationally as a place where talented people are building great businesses. Our message will be: if we are not already on your radar, we should be. Because this region is what is next.” – Chamber President Zach Brandon
The Pressure Chamber is presented by Michael Best & Friedrich with support from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Accelerate Madison, Capital Entrepreneurs, Kegonsa Capital Partners and Venture Investors.
SnowShoe has just launched a newly designed website and demo, and they need help from Madison’s developer and hacker community! SnowShoe wants you to go to their site and order a free developer kit. Once you receive the kit, SnowShoe would like to schedule a Google Hangout with you as your build your first test application on their site, which should take no longer than 30 minutes. In return, they will send you some free SnowShoe swag and an Amazon gift card. If interested in helping SnowShoe please contact Jami at firstname.lastname@example.org and order your free developer kit here.
Ignite Madison is back! Join your fellow Madisonians for Ignite Madison on Wednesday, February 12th at 8pm at the High Noon Saloon to learn about people who are using their creative talents in unique ways to make or engineer items by hand. Ten speakers will each give 5 minute presentations using slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds, covering such things as making artisanal foods, 3D printing or prototyping, screen printing, metal working, illustration, and more.
The fun event will include a DJ, as well as plenty of time to socialize and grab a drink before, after, and during the presentations. Tickets are $9 in advance and $12 at the door, with all proceeds for this event being donated to Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Dane County. To learn more or purchase tickets visit http://ignitemadison.org/
Join Capital Entrepreneurs on a (coach) bus trip to Milwaukee on Wednesday, February 12th to spend an evening learning about Techstars’ Chicago program, presented by Startup Milwaukee and Golden Angels Investors.
This free event will feature prominent entrepreneurs Sam Yagan (CEO of match.com and co-founder of OkCupid) and Troy Henikoff (co-founder of Techstars Chicago and SurePayroll). Also sharing their experiences, will be the co-founders of a startup that recently participated in a Techstars accelerator program.
This is the last call to sign up for the free bus trip to Milwaukee; don’t miss out on this exciting event.
For more information and to reserve your seat, go here.
Ratebeer.com has named local crowdsourced brewery MobCraft the 2013 Best New Wisconsin Brewer. Launched in May 2013, MobCraft is a brewery that uses customer collaboration to come up with a multitude of unique beer ideas. Customers can both submit ideas for brews to be created, as well as vote on which brews will be mass produced. Some of the interesting beers being brewed by Mobcraft include a Mayan Chocolate Chili ale with ghost chilies and cacao, and a Hazelnut Amber made with locally sourced hazelnuts.
MobCraft was also recently featured in an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – check out the article here.
Whether you’re an expert on digital currency, or just want to learn more about it, the Crypto Currency Hackathon being held on February 15th at Madworks Coworking is worth checking out. The event will follow a similar format as a Startup Weekend, but instead of focusing on jump-starting a business, the goal of this 12-hour event will be to create and complete a tech project. The entry fee for this event is $5 and the winner will receive one bitcoin, which is currently valued at about $850.
For those who are simply interested in learning more about cryotocurrency, there will also an ‘unconference’ running in parallel to the main hackathon event, which will include talks, discussions, and demos to explain more about what cryprocurrency is and how it works.
For more info and to sign up go here.
Join Capital Entrepreneurs and 40+ Madison startups for the 2014 Madison Startup Fair TODAY (February 5th) from Noon-4pm at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on the UW campus.
Anyone interested in technology and entrepreneurship can talk one-on-one in an informal environment with startup founders and employees about their experiences. Find out more about the burgeoning Madison startup scene and the opportunities startups have to offer, including ways you can get involved by starting your own company or through internships and full-time positions with existing startups.
More info is available here.
UW-Madison has just launched a brand new advocacy group to help foster innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. The group, called The Advocacy Consortium for Entrepreneurs (ACE), will provide entrepreneurs with several tools to help them succeed. Led by Tomotherapy founder Rock Mackie, ACE will be established as an independent, nonprofit organization that can advocate for policies that support entrepreneurial development.
Check out more info about ACE here.
Posted in Madison News, Press