Build Madison: A Community Create-a-thon

Capital Entrepreneurs is organizing Build Madison which is taking place February 5th and 6th. It’s a 24 hour create-a-thon (think hackathon + startup day + just building cool stuff). There is even a $500 cash prize (plus other prizes) going to the top teams.

If you have an idea for a cool project to work on (whether it be a website, widget, or pretty much anything really) this is your event. Bring your idea and meet others at the event to help make your idea a reality. Don’t have an idea, but want to work on a fun project? This is your event too. Bring your skill set (whatever it may be – programming, glass blowing, marketing, etc) and find an interesting project to work on and bring to life.

For more information check out www.buildmadison.org.

Calling all creative, talented and enthusiastic Madisonians! Come together to unleash and show off our community’s potential by cooperatively creating real products in less than 24 hours. Connect with people to make your idea a reality or utilize your skill set and experience to help bring other exciting ideas to life- all while meeting cool people and generally having a blast. Plus, there’s prize money and packages for teams with the most impressive results.

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Entrustet Featured on CNN

Capital Entrepreneurs member Entrustet was featured on CNN in an article titled Do Web Users Fear the Digital Reaper?  From the link:

Lustig is confident that there will be a shift in attitude that will manifest itself in the healthy profits (he jokes that his company’s unofficial motto is: “Everybody uses the Internet and everybody dies.”)

“People need to make the mental leap from considering online accounts as just the main activities that they do all day online to actually real digital assets,” he said.

“I do not know the speed or how long it’s going to take for that shift to take place but we’ll all see it happen before our eyes.”

Mithridion raises $1.25 million

Madison biopharmaceutical company Mithridion recently secured $1.25 million in funding from Venture Investors, The State of Wisconsin Investment Board, and Rocket Venture Fund. Mithridion is developing drug candidates that focus on serious Central Nervous System disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. From their press release:

“We plan to use this new funding to explore additional niche disease targets for MCD-386CR,
our lead clinical drug candidate, which is a new strategy for the company, to seek partners for
our drug candidates MCD-386CR and MI-10-022 for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and
schizophrenia, and to augment our science advisory board and board of directors,” said Trevor
M. Twose, Ph.D., the company’s Chief Executive. “We greatly appreciate the continued
confidence of our shareholders,” he added.

Entrustet Featured in New York Times and NPR

Capital Entrepreneurs member company Entrustet was featured in the New York Times magazine’s online edition today in an article called Cyberspace when you’re Dead.  The print edition will run on Sunday.  The article follows the threads of digital death and digital identity and talks about Entrustet’s digital death industry.  From the link:

The founders of Entrustet are surprisingly young. Jesse Davis , who is 23, was still a student at the University of Wisconsin when he wrote the original business plan in 2008. He came up with the idea after reading what has become one of the best-known stories on the complexities of digital assets and one of the few that has found its way into the courts. Justin Ellsworth, a Marine killed in Iraq in 2004, did not leave behind the password to his Yahoo e-mail account, and when the company refused to give his parents access to it, they sued. Eventually, under orders from a probate judge, Yahoo gave them a CD it said contained Ellsworth’s e-mail. Ellsworth’s story convinced Davis and his business partner, Nathan Lustig, 25, that there was a market for “digital estate planning” services. In the case of Entrustet, this means an automated system for storing passwords and instructions for all your digital assets.

Such businesses rest on a simple idea: Web, mobile and social-media use keeps exploding; everyone still dies. Meanwhile, much of the archiving of basic family life is becoming digital. It has become routine to have an online “presence” even as an infant, by way of a picture posted on a parent’s social-networking profile. Lustig pointed me to a recent corporate study that identified “chief memory officer” as a kind of unofficial role taken on by someone (often mom) in many families — the person who is paying attention to the idea that there may be no physical scrapbook or set of journals to hand down to future generations and that bits-and-bytes memory objects need to be preserved somehow. Trendwatching.com has predicted a “burgeoning market” for products and services that protect the digital content that is “the nucleus of one’s personal brand.”

Entrustet was also featured on an NPR talkshow interview that can be listened to here.

2010 Recap: Momenta Technologies

Year 11111011010 (aka. 2010) was an exciting, adventurous and adaptive one for Momenta. We began the year working on an Internet acceleration solution out of our apartment and ended the year developing a new website for social travel in a great office space, several ‘failed’ projects and a round of funding later.

Along the way our team, which grew from 2 to 5, completed software consulting projects, released the iPhone game Beat the Swine, and took the time to develop our skill set and let our company culture and passion develop. As 2011 begins, we are ready to leverage that passion to create the coolest possible travel experience for young professionals.

We also met and learned from tons of great people in the Madison community in the last year, which was truly the best part for us and spurred our progress throughout. We collaborated with several Capital Entrepreneurs companies, joined the Merlin Mentor program, helped plan events such as the Entrepreneurial Deli and TEDx Madtown, and worked with Planet Propaganda to design Snapp Football, our interactive TV iPhone app that didn’t quite make it out the door before our latest switch of gears.

11111011011 looks to be an even more incredible year for Madison start-ups and we’re very excited to be a part of it. We’ll soon have our new website up, which will offer Groupon-style weekend trips for young professionals looking to turn a vacation day into a real vacation. We’re also launching our company blog later this week. Check back in sometime to see what it’s all about, and have a great new year!

Contributed by Michael Fenchel of Momenta Technologies.