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

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.

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.

Forward Fest Startup Showcase and Open Social Recap

ftf logo smallThe 2014 Forward Festival is a wrap! The 2014 Festival was the best yet, with 20 awesome events over 8 days that drew 2,500 attendees. After a few weeks to decompress and reflect, we were finally able to compile and put together a summary of the two headline Capital Entrepreneurs events: the Forward Festival Startup Showcase and the Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social.

Forward Festival Startup Showcase

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The second annual Startup Showcase had 10 exciting young companies present at the Majestic Theater in Madison on August 27. DJ Nick Nice kept the energy levels up at the event which drew 250 attendees to see 5 minute pitches from the class of new companies, as well as 1 minute update pitches from 10 of the companies that presented at last year’s Startup Showcase. Check out more pictures from the Startup Showcase here.

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Watch each new company’s five minute pitch here:

  • Deneb Outdoors: Producing high quality, functional, and sustainable outdoor apparel and equipment for both extreme adventurers as well as for the casual outdoors enthusiast
  • Dock Technologies: Developing simple visual reminders for healthcare providers
  • HealthMyne: Improving patient outcomes by allowing providers to efficiently search medical images using the search, analytics, and imaging (SAI) technology
  • 900dpi: A Hosted CMS, Built for Designers
  • ForkForce: A Social Network tailored to ease hiring for the food and beverage services industry
  • Clemetric: Providing data analytics technology to improve healthcare delivery, including intensive care units
  • BankMyBiz: Matching Lenders and Business Owners
  • DigSite: Online insight communities to let businesses gather in-depth insights in a confidential and secure way
  • Iristocracy: Combining the Virtual Look technology with the great local care you receive from your trusted eyewear experts
  • MobCraft: The World’s first totally crowdsourced brewery

Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social

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The Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social was held on August 28 and was a great way to wrap up the Festival. The Open Social was held on Boardman & Clark’s beautiful rooftop terrace and atrium on the Capitol Square. Over 100 people attended the event, and socialized to the beats of DJs Kayla Kush and Captain Smooth. Attendees enjoyed MobCraft’s signature Forward Festive-Ale, taps from other local brewers, and great snacks highlighting local producers prepared by Underground Food Collective and Wisconsin From Scratch. Check out more pictures from the Open Social here.

The Open Social rooftop party concluded the 2014 Forward Festival, and discussions are already underway on how to make the 2015 Festival even better. Special thanks goes out to all Forward Festival event organizers, as well as Yuri Zapuchlak, Noah Willman, and Steve Faulkner for helping capture these events in photos.

Madworks Accelerator Accepting Applications For Fall Class

logo-madworks-campusWith the successful completion of their inaugural class this summer, the Madworks Accelerator is now accepting applications for their Fall 2014 class to be held at the Madworks on Campus coworking space. Madworks is a 10 week early stage seed accelerator program which provides mentoring, training and financing of up to $4,000 (for the Fall 2014 class) to early stage companies.

Applications for the Fall 2014 class are due September 19. Apply here.

Propeller Health Raises $14.5M in Funding

propeller-health-logoPropeller Health recently completed a $14.5M Series B funding round, led by Safeguard Scientifics with participation from The Social+Capital Partnership. Propeller Health will use the funding to accelerate product development, strategic alliances, client services, sales and marketing as it tackles the $100 billion cost of treating asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Propeller is a digital therapeutic designed to help patients and their physicians better understand and control COPD, asthma and other respiratory disease, reducing preventable emergency room visits, hospitalizations and unnecessary suffering. The company has raised a total of $23M since its 2010 founding.

More information can be found on Xconomy here.