Be sure to head on over and check out the Capital Entrepreneurs Members page. It’s been updated all around, and now includes many of our new members. Capital Entrepreneurs now has nearly 200 members, all of which are Madison area entrepreneurs. Our Members page lists many of our member’s startups, and is a great way to get a feel for what amazing startups are in our community.
Madison based TrustEgg is launching their public beta today, and was also featured on TechCrunch. TrustEgg provides parents a way to save for a child’s future that’s ultra-simple, gets a market rate of return, and is accessible to families of all income levels. A parent can set up an account for each child in minutes and start contributing immediately, and the account can be shared with grandparents, aunts & uncles, anyone. TrustEgg is a 2011 Y-Combinator graduate, and tied for first place at the 2011 WI Early Stage Symposium’s Elevator Pitch Olympics. Read the full TechCrunch article here, and sign up for their beta here.
The UW-Madison College of Engineering just released their 2012 Annual Report video. The video highlights innovators with ties to UW – including Capital Entrepreneurs members Justin Beck of PerBlue and Chris Meyer of Sector67. UW-Madison is recognizing 2012-13 as the Year of Innovation, offering a chance to reflect on what this concept means to the university and to society. With $136 million in research and more than 100 patent disclosures annually, the College of Engineering Has worked to cultivate innovation as a standard operating procedure in our classrooms and labs.
The inaugural class from the Gener8tor seed accelerator program had their Launch Day yesterday in Milwaukee. The class of 7 companies completed a 12 week intensive program, and 4 of the 7 companies are from Madison. Gener8tor’s next class starts in January and will be based out of Madison – the application period for this class opens soon.
Gener8tor also recently joined the Global Accelerator Network, which was created in 2010 alongside the White House’s Startup America initiative. Gener8tor also recently announced a partnership with American Family Insurance.
One of the recurring themes throughout panels and sessions at the Forward Technology Conference on Wednesday was the importance for entrepreneurs to have a solid startup â€œpitchâ€ well prepared. As part of the 2012 Forward Technology Festival, Capital Entrepreneurs hosted a Pitch Panel Thursday evening that gave aspiring entrepreneurs a risk-free venue to practice their pitch and get real feedback from a panel of experienced entrepreneurs.
For the first time entrepreneur, often the the first time they get asked the tough questions and have their pitched torn apart is when they get up in front of a potential investor. This is an intimidating process indeed, and not an ideal process to perfect a pitch. Pitching in front of friends and family as a great way to practice, but they often donâ€™t ask the really tough questions. The Capital Entrepreneurs Pitch Panel put 3 aspiring entrepreneurs in front of the following panel:
Shawn Broderick â€“ Serial Entrepreneur, Former Director of TechStars Boston
Scott Button â€“ Managing Director at Venture Investors
Justin Beck â€“ Co-Founder and CEO of PerBlue
The entrepreneurs gave a 3 minute pitch about their company, which was followed by 10 minutes of constructive criticism, feedback, and tough questions from the panel. The panel brought up and dug deep into everything from business models, to who the real customers would be and how to reach them, the best way to frame certain aspects of the pitch depending on the audience, and even tips on the best way to stand and present effectively.
The 3 aspiring entrepreneurs pitched a variety of startups ranging from apps to music festivals, some teams were very young and others a bit more experienced. All 3 companies are based in Madison, and included:
WomStreet – WomStreet.com is a Social Media hub that hosts contests. Theyâ€™ve deemed themselves the social stage. They create the contests-typically focused around businesses & events-where anyone can submit content, anyone can vote, and anyone can win. The site acts as a powerful marketing tool for companies that want to reach users in a new and creative manner. It allows companies to stay â€œcoolâ€ while reaching lots of people through social media means.
Red Lights Music Festival – Madison’s First REAL Music Festival, organized by a group of UW-Madison students. Their mission is to provide the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the greater Madison area a medium for musical entertainment that brings together our community to promote and enhance local businesses and the cityâ€™s economy, while raising adequate funds to make a significant difference in bettering public education within the state of Wisconsin.
DÅsojin – DÅsojin connects travelers with locals who provide video and live tours about food, attractions, and activities. Our users will upload and watch custom travel videos and create and read reviews on local hotspots as they travel the world. They can even meet up with other DÅsojin users. At DÅsojin we aim to leverage multiple technologies to make the planning and travel experience more unique, fun, and personal.
The Pitch Panel was a great event, and was followed by the Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social. The Open Social allowed anyone to get a peek into the Madison startup community, and attracted nearly 100 people for the event.
The 2012 Forward Technology Festival is off to an amazing start. A few tickets still remain for the nearly sold out Forward Technology Conference which takes place Wednesday, August 22. The 2012 Forward Technology Conference represents the summer’s best opportunity to spend a day networking with some of the area’s top entrepreneurs and hearing from experts on a wide range of topics relevant to your technology business. Register now!
This is also your last chance to enter the Capital Entrepreneurs Pitch Contest. Do you have an idea for a startup company? Upload a 1 minute video pitch or vote for your favorite, and the top 3 pitches will then pitch in-person on August 23 at the Capital Entrepreneurs Pitch Panel. The winners will receive prizes, get introduced to the Madison startup scene, and receive very valuable feedback from an experienced panel of serial entrepreneurs and investors. Enter the contest now!
Capital Entrepreneurs member company Flextory has recently launched a free public beta of its inventory system. Flextory is a web-based inventory system designed to handle many asset tracking scenarios through the use of customizable item types, categories, and attribute data types. Flextory also includes an Android app that lets you scan in barcodes generated by the software, as well as pre-existing barcodes so you can easily add and modify assets. Flextory also has various other features and is very interested in any comments, feature requests, and or bug reports from anyone.
In the recent past, Flextory has won first place in the Qualcomm Wireless Innovations Competition, as well as fourth place in the Burrill Business Plan Competition. Flextory is also currently participating at Venturelab Wisconsin.
The 2012 Forward Technology Festival kicks off today and begins an 11 day series of events that showcase Madisonâ€™s entrepreneurship and creative communities. The Festival is highlighted by the Forward Technology Conference, and be sure to check out the other awesome events coming up.
Capital Entrepreneurs is hosting a pitch contest as part of the festival. Do you have an idea for a startup company? Upload a 1 minute video pitch now through August 22. Vote for your favorite, and the top 3 pitches will then pitch in-person on August 23 at the Capital Entrepreneurs Pitch Panel. The winners will receive prizes, get introduced to the Madison startup scene, and receive very valuable feedback from an experienced panel of entrepreneurs. The panelists include:
Shawn Broderick – Serial Entrepreneur, Former Director of TechStars Boston
Scott Button – Managing Director at Venture Investors
Justin Beck – Co-Founder and CEO of PerBlue
Capital Entrepreneurs is also opening it’s doors during FTF. Get a peek into Madison’s burgeoning entrepreneurial community with the Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social following the Pitch Panel.
PerBlue Co-Founder and CEO Justin Beck kicked off the Game Developers Conference Europe this week with a presentation titled “Bootstrapping 101”. The session highlighted the fork-in-the-road moments of PerBlue’s path from bootstrapping, to raising money, to today. PerBlue’s “Parallel” series of location-based RPG mobile games have over 1.5 million players worldwide. PerBlue also sees Android outpacing iOS in almost every way, calling Android “a freight train.”