For the Madison digital startup scene, 2012 was a year of growth and validation. The number and impact of startups within the Capital Entrepreneurs community continued to grow, and many of those startups saw a lot of success. In 2012, Capital Entrepreneurs companies created over 125 full time jobs, raised $10.6 million in funding, and produced multi-million dollar revenue streams.
The energy and excitement that has been building within the scene around all the awesome things that are happening has begun to be recognized by others locally, and even around the nation. These contributions played a key role in Madison being recognized as a top place to live and work as a young entrepreneur, the best city in the country for young adults, and being hailed as one of the leading tech hubs in the nation.
“Younger startups are now growing to become a cornerstone of the Madison economy.” – Mayor Paul Soglin
Capital Entrepreneurs members have worked closely with city leaders and played a key role in launching Madison’s Open Data Initiative, making Madison the 2nd city in the country to adopt such a progressive open data policy. This helped solidify Madison’s role as a forward-thinking and tech-savvy city.
The Forward Technology Festival was back for it’s 3rd year. It was held over 11 days and encompassed 16 different events with over 2000 people taking part. The festival was headlined by the Forward Technology Conference, and with its record attendance brought leaders from the Madison tech community and beyond together for a day of sessions, panels, and networking. BarCamp, the Madison Ruby Conference, and a Social Entrepreneurship Symposium also highlighted the festival, and Capital Entrepreneurs hosted an Open Social as well as a Pitch Panel.
The first ever Capital Entrepreneurs Week was highlighted by Startup Weekend and 3 Day Startup, as well as other entrepreneurship focused events including a talk from Jason Fried. The biggest and best yet Build Madison was back at Sector67 for the third 24 hour community create-a-thon since 2011. There was also a CityCamp event focused on civic hacking and a 3D Printing Camp.
Capital Entrepreneurs companies participated in accelerators around the world. Murfie graduated from TechStars Boston and Vidmaker graduated from TechStars Cloud in San Antonio. The new Madison and Milwaukee based seed accelerator gener8tor graduated its first class of 7 startups. Portable Scores graduated from Haxlr8or – the first accelerator geared to hardware startups.
Sector67 continued to play an increasingly important role in the community and has enabled a number of companies to prototype and launch entirely new products – including the SnowShoe Stamp and cast iron skillets shaped like states. They have even been launching things into (near) space.
Horizon Coworking, which began as a pilot co-working space just over a year ago, has more than doubled in size. The Capital Entrepreneurs network of organizations has begun to expand with the addition of The Doyenne Group which focuses on helping women entrepreneurs, and Madison Iterators which is a weekly peer accountability meetup.
Capital Entrepreneurs members were named to the InBusiness 40 Under 40, the UW Alumni Association’s Forward Under 40, and recognized by Under30CEO. Fishidy and Style Shuffler were finalists in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest. PerBlue and Murfie were named as Madison’s Favorite Tech Startups by the Isthmus.
Capital Entrepreneurs companies were featured in press outlets around the world including Forbes, Wired, Fast Company, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Adweek, CNET, CBS and were also featured in every major local publication. They’ve even held the top spot on Hacker News.
Networked Insights was named one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World by Fast Company. PerBlue was named to the Empact100 list, which recognizes the top startups in the country run by young entrepreneurs and Murfie was selected for the START150, which recognizes the worlds most exciting and disruptive startups. Entrustet was acquired, and Asthmapolis was named the most promising HealthTech company. SnowShoe even took the top spot at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon.
There are many truly exciting things happening in the Madison startup community, and 2013 is looking to be another great year with many more exciting things to come. Cheers!