2017 Forward Festival is August 17-14


The 8th annual Forward Festival is August 17-24, 2017. Forward Fest is Wisconsin’s largest technology and entrepreneurship festival and includes 40+ events by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. The 2017 Festival event line up and website are live here.

New Forward Pass pricing this year! Thanks to our generous Festival Sponsors, tickets are more affordable than ever for entrepreneurs (current or aspiring). Forward Passes start at just $49 for entrepreneurs (current or aspiring), startup staff, and students, and include access to over 30 events, swag, and a personalized badge. That early bird price is available until July 21. Get your Forward Pass today!


What is the Forward Festival?
It’s Madison’s flagship technology and entrepreneurship festival. Since starting in 2010, it now attracts thousands of attendees and includes 8 full days packed with 40+ events. All events are organized by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs and encompass technology, food, music, social good, art, and more.

The goal of the Festival is to connect entrepreneurs to other entrepreneurs and to support organizations, as well as promote meaningful learning between entrepreneurs. This is done through a series of grassroots events that are independently organized by multiple organizations all of which take place under the Forward Fest umbrella.

2017 Startup Showcase Seeking Nominations

The 5th annual Forward Festival Startup Showcase returns this year and will again be bigger and better than ever! Startup Showcase will cap off the new Forward Summit day, which is packed with 6 different tracks of full-day conferences and events (including the headline Forward Tech Conference) on August 22, 2017. It is expected to bring hundreds of entrepreneurs, business, civic and education leaders together in celebration of all of the innovation happening in greater Madison.

Apply to pitch in the 2017 Startup Showcase by July 11 here.

The Forward Festival Startup Showcase features an evening of startup pitches from some of Madison’s most compelling emerging companies. Approximately five startups will be selected to give a 5-minute “demo day” style pitch. In addition, several Startup Showcase alumni from past years will take part in a lightning round of 1-minute update pitches. The Startup Showcase is a high energy stage that celebrates and showcases what’s next in Madison’s startup ecosystem and is open to early and later stage companies, venture and non-venture backed companies, as well as for-profit and non-profit companies. Checkout highlights from prior years’ events here.

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Looking for other pitch events to apply to or attend at the 2017 Forward Festival? Be sure to check out Pressure Chamber, Doyenne 5x5x5, Badger Startup Summit Pitch & rePlay, Challenge Cup: Madison, Dolphin Tank, Pitch Night X PechaKucha, and United Way’s Pitch to Ditch.

The Startup Showcase is presented by Capital Entrepreneurs. Startup Showcase is part of the 2017 Forward Festival, which runs August 17-24, 2017.

2017 Spring Tech Kickoff

CELOGOJoin us for Madison’s 5th Annual Spring Tech Kickoff on Thursday, April 20 from 5-7pm!

Please register here if you’re planning to attend. It’s free.

Technology business, entrepreneurship, and startups in Madison have another great year ahead. To celebrate that and get in high gear for an eventful summer, Capital Entrepreneurs, Horizon Coworking, and the Forward Festival invite our community and its supporters to the 5th Annual Spring Tech Kickoff!

This year’s gathering is in the brand new Galaxie building Phase 2 on East Washington Ave.

Once again a lot has happened since last year’s spring event, and with new energy, new employers, and new support and funding resources for entrepreneurs we foresee even more coming this year. Anyone is welcome, this is a place where folks who want to connect and participate can easily plug in and help move our community forward.

A variety of beverages and delicious snacks will be on hand.

Presented by: Capital Entrepreneurs, Forward Festival, and Horizon Coworking.

2017 Madison Startup Fair

Capital EntrepeneursThe Madison Startup Fair is back! The 2017 Madison Startup Fair features successful startups from the Madison area. The goal of the 5th annual event is to enable startups to connect with students on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus as well as raise the awareness of Madison startups in general. We’ve partnered with the Engineering Career Services (ECS) Career Fair, and the Startup Fair will be co-located with the Spring ECS Career Fair on the UW campus.

When: Thursday, February 2, 2017 from 1pm-7pm
Where: Gordon Dining & Event Center

This event is FREE for UW students and alumni to attend. 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.

Startups attending include PerBlue, Ionic, Dock Technologies, EatStreet, Hardin Design & Development, AkitaBox, OpenHomes, Redox, C-Motive Technologies, and more including startup resources such as gener8tor, Madworks Seed Accelerator, and UW Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic!

2016 Recap: The Madison Startup Scene

In 2016, Madison startups continued to be an engine of economic growth. They drove strong net job creation, raised a record amount of funding, and solidified as well as expanded their physical presence in the community.

Madison startups now employ 825 full-time and 300 part-time people*. In 2016 they created 150 new full-time and 135 part-time positions. Tech startups raised a record $114M* in funding in 2016, which is a 70% increase over the prior year’s funding total. Two dozen companies raised rounds of $500k or more, with the largest later stage capital raises (>$4M) coming from Propeller Health, EatStreet, Ionic, Understory, Healthmyne, Catalyze.io, PerBlue, ABODO, Moxe Health, Forward Health Group, and Pegasus Sustainability Solutions.

The physical footprint of the startup community continued to expand and became a more permanent fixture within the broader Madison community. Individual startups expanded their footprints by tens of thousands of square feet of office space all over downtown Madison. There was a bustle of new activity in particular at 316 W Washington Ave as startups took over multiple floors of the newly renovated building.

Madison was studied as a hub for tech innovation and entrepreneurship by the Atlantic Council and was recognized as having one of the fastest growing high tech industries in the country by the Brookings Institute. The locations of technology companies and supporting resources was even mapped by MadREP to better visual their impact on the city.

Many entrepreneur focused workspaces grew and transitioned from temporary spaces into long term homes. Horizon Coworking and Madworks Coworking expanded. 100state expanded and moved into a brand new space. Sector67 launched a capital campaign to fund their new permanent home. And after 4 years of planning, StartingBlock Madison completed their capital campaign, received final City approvals, and will be breaking ground in just a few short weeks. StartingBlock’s 50,000 sqft entrepreneurial hub will provide long term homes to gener8tor, the Doyenne Group, and many other startup resources.

Capital Entrepreneurs continued our mission of connecting the Madison entrepreneurial community. Throughout the year we held joint meetings with StartingBlock, 100state, Horizon Coworking, and gBETA. We stepped up our initiative to better connect student entrepreneurs to the broader Madison entrepreneurial community through our support of the Transcend Innovation Competition, establishing an informal mentoring system, and hosting the annual Madison Startup Fair on the UW campus. This year’s Madison Startup Fair co-located with the UW Engineering Career Service’s Spring Career Fair which gave Madison startups large scale exposure to over 1,500 engineering and STEM students.

The annual Spring Tech Kickoff is our biggest social event of the year, and this year’s fourth annual event was the largest to date attracting over 400 attendees to the newly completed Galaxie building in the Capitol East District (overlooking the future StartingBlock site). The fifth annual Startup Showcase featured 5 new startups and updates from over 20 past presenters. The Forward Festival continued to expand, and has come a long way since its first year in 2010. It has grown from 5 events with a few hundred attendees in the first year, to 43 events and over 4,000 attendees this year and featured events organized by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs encompassing tech, food, social good, and art.


To help showcase the variety of activity in the burgeoning Madison entrepreneurial ecosystem, here are some 2016 highlights directly from some key entrepreneurial organizations:

In 2016 100state announced that it would move from 30 W. Mifflin St to the 6th floor of 316 W. Washington Ave. 100state is Wisconsin’s largest coworking community, and this move brings 100state members to the the same building as notable Madison companies like EatStreet, Abodo, 5NINES, Catalyze, Filament Games, and HealthX Ventures. In order to accommodate the growth of 100state, they doubled the size of their coworking space, adding 19 new private offices, a classroom, and modern event space specifically designed for the innovative community’s needs. A new classroom will be dedicated to providing opportunities for entrepreneurial and tech education for youth and adults alike. A specially designed arts space will host art-related workshops and provide space where artists can work. 100state also added two new members to their board of directors, Rachel Neil of Carex Consulting and Drew Coursin of Neider & Boucher. 100state’s first day in the new location was 1/2/17.

Doyenne had an amazing 2016! We secured over $800,000 in funding through a City of Madison Grant, WEDC, A Fund for Women, private fundraising and matching dollars from WWBIC and in-kind donations from local collaborators. These funds will be used in 2017 & 2018 through the Doyenne Evergreen Fund to provide grants, loans, equity investments, and programming for women-led ventures based in Madison and across Wisconsin. We saw a 35% increase in Doyenne programming participation and have more than 150 members based primarily in Madison and Dane County, and all across Wisconsin.

In 2016, gener8tor was ranked “Gold,” amongst the top 15 startup accelerators in the United States, by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project. To date, gener8tor has completed 9 cohorts and invested in 49 companies. Cumulatively, those companies have raised more than $100M in follow-on financing. Madison-based gener8tor investments in 2016 include: Allergy Amulet, Curate and Behold.ai. gBETA–a free, six-week accelerator for early-stage companies with local roots–completed its fifth cohort. 15 companies graduated from gBETA Madison in 2015. gBETA expanded in 2016 to run programs in Milwaukee and Minneapolis. gener8tor added Madison entrepreneur, Mark McGuire, to lead expansion efforts in Minnesota. In 2017 gener8tor looks forward to its Madison 2017 program, growth of gBETA and Minneapolis expansion.

In 2016, Madworks Seed Accelerator mentored 17 early stage companies, which since inception, brings the total number of teams mentored to 59. As a collective, our companies employed over 90 people, raised over $4.6M, and have revenues close to $3.4M. Always looking for ways to fulfill needs in the community, we augmented our services since the summer by helping entrepreneurs build corporate governance acumen (i.e., legal, financial, and board management skills). We look forward to helping nascent food and beverage related entrepreneurs in our next cohort starting mid-February. Madworks Coworking continued its growth in 2016, increasing total membership to over 50 people. University Research Park knocked down a wall, giving Madworks an extra 1,000 square feet, and the space can now accommodate 42 dedicated desks, up from 24, a 75% increase in capacity.

2016 was a big year for StartingBlock Madison. In September, StartingBlock completed its $3M capital building campaign. In November, the U.S. EDA announced StartingBlock as one of 35 i6 Challenge grant winners. The $475,000 grant will support staff funding for a Director of Programming, a recruiting consultant, a part-time Lab Coordinator, and mentor-in-residence. In December, “The Spark” project completed the city approval process, setting up for breaking ground in early 2017 and opening in Spring 2018. StartingBlock also added Laura Strong to its board and Chandra Miller Fienen as its Director of Operations and Programming.


Diversity and inclusiveness emerged as important priorities over the last few years for organizations across the startup community. Nearly all organizations have made conscious adjustments to ensure their groups and events are as open and accessible as possible, with a focus on continuing to improve this. This mindfulness by event organizers, coupled with more direct efforts by groups like the Doyenne Group, have begun to alter the startup community into one that is becoming noticeably more diverse and inclusive.

The Madison startup community saw another year of consistent growth and impact. Companies have been able to attract sizable funding rounds, and a cohort of successful later stage startups has emerged. PerBlue sold their DragonSoul mobile game for a reported $35M, and if that is any indication of what’s to come next, this type of exit and return to investors is important in order to continue to strengthen the funding environment and continue to build up the ecosystem as a whole in order to support the next wave of companies. Cheers to 2017!

Be sure to also check out individual company recaps for 2016 here, as well as past startup scene recaps from 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

* Employment data is sourced from a voluntary self reporting survey of CE startup companies, with 58 companies reporting. Because of the voluntary nature, these employment numbers are likely conservative representations of the actual employment impact of all startups. Funding amounts listed are also based on the CE survey data in combination with other public sources, and includes both debt and equity funding rounds closed in 2016. For the sake of better representing a clear cohort, aggregate funding reported for “tech startups” here does not include biotech/lifescience companies.

2016 Recap: PerBlue

The year of 2016 was another action-packed year for PerBlue. Much of the year was focused on scaling our newest game DragonSoul into the largest and most successful title we’ve released to date. In less than 1 year since launch it amassed over 9 million players, emerged as a top 10 mobile RPG, and grew to a Top 50 Grossing App in the US. We even ran large scale national TV ad campaigns throughout the year, so you may have seen it on TV!

The culmination of all this came in October when DragonSoul was officially acquired by GREE International Entertainment, which is the Western division of the Japanese global mobile-social company, GREE. The sale enables the DragonSoul franchise to continue to scale globally and operate under GREE, while enabling our team at PerBlue to remain independent and focus on new product development.

Throughout the year we continued to grow our team. A number of very talented people from the Madison area as well as all over the country joined us, and we’ve nearly doubled the size of our office space over the year to accommodate. The broader Madison game development community also saw a lot of momentum as the Madison Games Alliance continued to take root and grow.

We’re excited for our next big chapter at PerBlue. Cheers to 2017!

2016 Recap: Ionic

2016 was a great year for the Ionic Team. Earlier this Spring we closed our $9M Series A led by General Catalyst in Boston and Palo Alto, grew the team in Madison, and continued to build out a powerful suite of tools and services to help developers build better mobile apps faster and cheaper than ever before.

The Ionic Team also continued to build strong partnerships with leaders in the mobile app space, including Microsoft which integrated Ionic 2 into Visual Studio, and Amazon Web Services adding official documentation for using Ionic with AWS.

We were proud to see major brands continue to adopt Ionic, including Diesel, Dow Jones MarketWatch, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Developers in the Ionic community went on to create over 1.5M new apps with Ionic in 2016.

We also recently made our first major C-level hire, bringing in Swami Kumaresan from Boston, who was employee #5 and EVP at Carbonite.

As we look to 2017, we’re focused on expanding our commercialization efforts to help teams collaborate more effectively on app projects, as well as helping Ionic developers rapidly build apps with Ionic Creator and add powerful backend functionality with Ionic Cloud. With nearly 700,000 developers signed up, Ionic is quickly becoming one of the major developer platforms in the world.

As ever, we’re committed to growing our team here in Madison right above the Merchant, and we look forward to watching and helping the Madison startup scene grow!

2016 Recap: Rabble

The year was a defining one for Rabble and MUSICat, the local music platform we’re building with public libraries. We launched several new sites: PlayBack with The Seattle Public Library in August, BoomBox with Nashville Public Library in October, and an upgraded Yahara Music Library with Madison Public Library in December.

Edmonton Public Library’s MUSICat site Capital City Records won the Canadian Library Association/OCLC Award for Innovative Technology. Madison Public Library nabbed an IMLS National Medal, the nation’s highest honor for library service to communities, based in part on its MUSICat site, Yahara.

Rabble was honored to be a finalist in multiple competitions in 2016 including the Knight News Challenge that asked “How might libraries serve 21st century information needs?” the Force for Positive Change competition headed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and the Wisconsin Innovation Awards. We were also chosen to take part in the Forward Fest Startup Showcase.

In the new year, we’ll rewrite MUSICat to improve site performance and facilitate developer integration, improvements that will bring us closer to our long term goals to release a Software as a Service version of MUSICat and an open source DIY toolkit. Rabble is on track to bring 10 additional library partners on board in 2017.

2016 Recap: Field59

After two years of winding down a legacy CMS company and ramping up another, Field59 officially took off. We brought in new, multi-year video contracts for a 72% increase in revenue over 2015. We’re still bootstrapping our business, and even turned down an opportunity that wasn’t right for us. One thing that remains the same, however, is our mission is to empower our customer partners to reach their business goals through online video. Our first priority has always been to value their rights as video content owners and publishers.

Field59 offers a start-to-finish video solution for media companies. These companies are primarily television and radio broadcasters, newspapers, and educational organizations – anyone that produces premium video content online. From live stream production, to video library management, to online delivery, the Field59 Video Platform offers tools for video publishing and distribution to the web and over-the-top devices, such as ROKU, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV. We’ve built an easy-to-use video system that’s always on, 24/7, for live stream and pre-recorded content, so audiences can tune in, anytime, anywhere.

This system, along with our automated syndication, smart playlist technology, customizable video players, and top-notch customer support, is what we offer, and we look forward to bringing new innovative solutions to our customer partners in 2017.

Reflecting on the past year, we’re grateful for the opportunities, partnerships, and customers that we’ve had the pleasure of working with in 2016. We welcomed five Calkins newspapers, eight Casa Grande Valley newspapers, 24 CNHI newspapers, the broadcasting ABC affiliate WTXL ABC 27, Bloomington Herald-Times’ Hoosier Sports Report (Indiana University sports) and Edutopia.

We also strengthened our business partnerships with Forscene in London, who offers live-feed capture and professional video editing software, and Calkins Digital, a mobile and over-the-top video app developer. Our partnerships with these two companies allow us to provide time-saving, efficient, and intuitive workflows for a complete video publishing and delivering solution, with the goal of keeping our customers relevant and competitive in the age of video streaming.

Our customers have always had an easy way to add their videos to any website. But now, we offer API integration into any CMS. TownNews.com’s BLOX CMS integrated Field59 directly into their CMS this year, and our joint customers have seen a definitive workflow improvement in publishing their news.

But what has been really exciting was watching the Bloomington Herald-Times produce the Hoosier Sports Report, bringing their local Indiana University sports coverage to the next level. With constantly updated videos of the latest sports news, discussion, and personalities, Field59 powers the delivery of their sports video to the web, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV devices.

We’re also extremely proud to have begun working with Edutopia, a non-profit resource for educators and parents created by the George Lucas Educational Foundation. Field59 delivers Edutopia’s premium video content to new audiences via over-the-top devices. These ROKU, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV apps provide a big-screen experience in homes and classrooms, allowing viewers to discover best practices in education from these original and curated content channels.

Earlier this year, Field59 was one of a dozen companies selected to exhibit in the “Innovation Lounge” at the Digital Entertainment World Expo in Los Angeles. The DEW Expo is an annual gathering of leading media and technology companies in the entertainment industry. Closer to home, Field59 has been heavily involved in the Madison community, producing weekly live and recorded video of presentations by Madison-area entrepreneurs for 1 Million Cups Madison; producing and managing 100Live, the 100State coworking community’s live video events; live streaming the Madison Area Music Association Awards show with our Madison production partner, Hinckley Productions; live streaming the spring and fall graduating classes of startup accelerator, gener8tor; producing four live streamed and recorded events at Forward Fest, Madison’s technology and entrepreneurship festival, including: the Social Good Summit, The System, The Failures, and The Consequences on The Country, a Startup Roundtable with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin and Doyenne Group & 1 Million Cups Madison’s 5x5x5 Pitch Event; and producing various live streamed and recorded events for the Madison Women in Tech meetup.

We’ve just moved into a new office at 100State in the 316 Building, and we’re thrilled continue being a part of Madison’s entrepreneurial and coworking communities. We can’t think of a better place to be.

Online video is a billion dollar market, and we’re excited to be innovating in this space. In 2017, we’ll continue to help our customer partners deliver premium online video to where their audiences are watching, whether on handheld devices or on the TVs in their living rooms.

Best wishes for a prosperous 2017!

2016 Recap: Noble Applications

2016 was a great year for Noble Applications, and as we do every year, we want to express our gratitude to our team, customers, partners, and the local business community. We turned 4 years old in September, we moved our offices to 44 East Mifflin in October, and we recently launched our new website. We are pleased and proud to report that we continued on our growth path as our revenue increased by 26% over 2015. This provided us the opportunity to grow our team and show our appreciation for making us what we are today.

The growing core of our business continues to be providing our design and development talent to established enterprises with new mobile strategies. As we say, “You know your business. We build your apps.” We added 13 new customer partnerships to this core in 2016.

For the annual Capital Entrepreneurs recap, we like to take the opportunity to show our appreciation to local customer partners, so this year, we’re sending a special shout-out of appreciation to…

i3 Product Development: We have a special partnership with i3PD that allows us both to bring truly innovative products to the world, that are created right here in Madison. They are our engineering partner, and we are their mobile app partner, and we have collaborated on several products during the course of the year – fitness and medical wearables integrated to app platforms, integrating agricultural machinery to app platforms, and several more Internet of Things projects. We have many more on the docket for 2017.
Original Wisconsin Ducks: Going to the Dells to ride the Ducks and take the boat tours is a family tradition. We built them a platform with integrated e-commerce, box office apps, and dispatch apps, so everyone can put their focus on having fun and enjoying the scenery.
Strive Orthopedics: this is the first and only platform for remote orthopedic care, and you will definitely be hearing more about them in the year to come.

We will always be grateful to the Madison business community, and would like to thank the amazing teams at Urban Land Interests, Baker Tilly, Capital Entrepreneurs, and the local treasure that is Gail Selk.

We get to work with incredible people that have amazing ideas and we are all very grateful that our customers and team give us the opportunity to push boundaries and bring real innovation to the world.

Stay tuned to our website, where you can keep track of the new apps and platforms that are built for the world, right here in Madison.

2016 Recap: Updown Technologies

2016 was a year of growth for Updown as we continue to build our vision of delivering a personalized workout experience. We saw our user base for the Updown Fitness app grow from 3,000 to nearly 50,000 and the app consistently has maintained a very high rating. We released the paid subscription version of the application in June and have started generating revenues. Over the summer we hired several UW students as interns who contributed to development of the product and business development.

We’ve also started integrating our application with fitness professionals. In summer of 2016, we released a product for gyms to integrate Updown with their members. We implemented and tested at 10 different gyms in the Madison area and featured the product at the Club Industry conference in Chicago.

Early 2017 will see the release of our largest project to date – the first platform that connects high-quality workouts from fitness professionals with exercisers around the globe. Several of our Madison gym partners are participating as workout contributors, and we’ve signed several of the top fitness channels on YouTube as partners. With this new product, we will rely heavily on network effects and expanding distribution channels to facilitate increased growth in users and revenue in 2017.

We look forward to continued growth in 2017 and will be kicking off a $1 million round in Q1 to help us scale our product. Stay tuned for some major updates in the next couple of months!

2016 Recap: Arch Virtual

In 2016, we nearly doubled the size of our team and project revenue building custom virtual reality applications. We completed a large Oculus Rift virtual reality application for a $360 million student community at Texas A&M, along with a trade show application for Wessels, an industrial product manufacturer to showcase their products. We also completed several HTC Vive and Oculus Rift applications for real estate developers that enable buyers to configure luxury homes before they break ground.

We’re putting the finishing touches on a new project for American Family Insurance’s ‘DreamBank’ where we installed 3 Oculus Rifts in their front room facing the capital square on East Washington, along with a series of custom VR experiences. We also created an Oculus Rift experience for the ‘Spark’ building here in Madison, which enabled project stakeholders to visualize this exciting new project.

Find out more about Arch Virtual here and experience their technology here.

New Years Kick Off

2017

To bring us into 2017, we’ll first be looking back at 2016. A lot of great things happened within the Capital Entrepreneurs community and the Madison Startup Scene and we’d like to share them. As in prior years, we’ll be kicking off with a series of posts from Capital Entrepreneurs companies summarizing their year in review, and we’ll cap it off with a full 2016 Madison Startup Scene Recap post. Stay tuned!

Build Madison Returns November 19-20, 2016

buildmadisonlogo_150Build Madison is back! Come join us for at the 7th annual hackathon event coordinated by Capital Entrepreneurs and Sector67. The event, which will be hosted at Sector67, gives entrepreneurs an awesome opportunity to get going on that project you have been putting off for too long.

The 24 hour community create-a-thon will start Saturday, November 19, at 11:00 am and will go through the night and into the early ours of Sunday morning. Come ready with a short pitch (<1 minute) if you have an idea you want to start working on. If you do not have a specific project in mind, then you can come collaborate with others and spend the next 24 hours helping to make an idea come to reality. At the end of the event, we will come together for short project presentations as well as feedback sessions. This event is FREE and is open to anyone who wants to tap into their entrepreneurial ambitions. We encourage participation from students, software developers, artists, hackers, business minded people, engineers, and anyone else who wants to get involved!

Please register at the Build Madison Website if you want to attend, and we hope to see you there!

2016 Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social

ce-open-social-promoThe 2016 Forward Festival kicks off today and runs August 18-25! There are 40+ events on the schedule, and be sure to join us for our annual Capital Entrepreneurs Rooftop Open Social on August 25! This event doubles as the Wrap Party for the 2016 Forward Festival.

  • What: CE Rooftop Open Social
  • When: Thursday, August 25 from 5:30-7:30pm
  • Where: Boardman & Clark (US Bank Building, 4th Floor)

Wrap up the 2016 Forward Festival with a rooftop celebration on the Capitol Square. We’ll have plenty of beverages (including the 2016 Forward Festive-Ale, Restoration Cider, and other local brewers) as well as snacks from Lucille. The event is free to attend.

Please RSVP here if you’re planning to attend.

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2016 Forward Festival Startup Showcase

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The fourth annual Forward Festival Startup Showcase is almost here! The Startup Showcase features an evening of startup pitches from 5 of Madison’s most compelling emerging companies, as well as update pitches from 20 companies that presented in prior years. The Startup Showcase is a high energy stage that celebrates and showcases what’s next (and what is going on now) in Madison’s startup ecosystem.

The Startup Showcase will kick off at 4 pm on Tuesday, August 23rd at the Monona Terrace, and is part of Pitch Night. Pitch Night includes the Startup Showcase (4pm), neXXpo (5pm), and Pressure Chamber (7pm) plus complimentary appetizers and beverages!

Pitch Night is included with Forward Technology Conference registrations and the Forward Pass. You can also purchase Pitch Night only tickets for $30 here.

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Our line up of new presenters for the 2016 Startup Showcase:

  • The Rabble – The Rabble started with a simple idea: libraries deserve software that reflects their values. MUSICat is a fully open sourced platform designed by The Rabble with libraries to empower them to share local music and support creative communities.
  • Export Abroad – Export Abroad is a global intelligence software and emerging markets advisory company. The core mission is to break down the barriers of international expansion and provide companies with the tools to be successful in any market.
  • EnsoData – EnsoData is creating machine intelligent software to unlock the vast wealth of clinical expertise lying dormant in archived data. Their first product automates sleep data analysis for sleep clinics.
  • Understory – Understory detects rain, hail, wind and other weather events directly at the earth’s surface, where the risk to life and property is greatest. The ground-truth-based detection is a marked enhancement in both resolution and fidelity, providing real time datasets and graphical views of the movement and intensity of weather events, which leads to better insight and early detection of risks.
  • The BikeMobile – The BikeMobile is a fully stocked mobile bicycle repair van that provides on-site service to individuals at home, or in a group setting, in Madison, WI.

The Forward Festival Startup Showcase is presented by Capital Entrepreneurs and Accelerate Madison.

2016 Forward Festival Returns August 18-25!

2016-forward-fest-headerThe seventh annual Forward Festival returns August 18-25, 2016. The Forward Festival is Madison’s flagship technology and entrepreneurship festival. Since starting in 2010, it now attracts over 3,000 attendees and includes 8 full days packed with 40+ events organized by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. Check out the full Festival event lineup of conferences, summits, happy hours, and more here.

The Festival has continued to grow – in particular, we would like to invite you to attend the headline tech conference and Capital Entrepreneurs hosted events:

ftc-logoForward Technology Conference (August 23) – The headline tech conference of the Festival. Whether you’re thinking about launching a startup business or you’re an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll find this conference relevant and insightful (childcare available).

ff-pc-logosPitch Night Featuring the Startup Showcase and Pressure Chamber (August 23) – An energetic evening featuring a reception, the Pressure Chamber pitch competition, and the Startup Showcase with pitches from some of Madison’s most compelling emerging companies showcasing what’s next in Madison’s startup ecosystem.

Capital_Entrepreneurs_Logo_VertCapital Entrepreneurs Open Social (August 25) – Wrap up the 2016 Forward Festival with a rooftop celebration on the Capitol Square. Come mingle with Madison’s up-and-coming innovators working on a wide variety of interesting startups at the annual Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social.

There are a bunch of other great events encompassing tech, food, music, art (new!), and more packed into the Festival, check them out! Whether you’re already plugged into the Midwest tech scene, or you’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to sample what the area has to offer, the Forward Festival is about bringing the technology and startup communities together to learn, share, and have some fun.

Be sure to register now for the events. If you’re planning to attend multiple events, get a Forward Pass!

2016 Startup Showcase and Pressure Chamber Seeking Nominations

The 4th annual Forward Festival Startup Showcase returns this year and will again be bigger and better than ever! Startup Showcase joins the Pressure Chamber for a Pitch Night evening that will take place following the Forward Technology Conference on August 23, 2016. It is expected to bring hundreds of entrepreneurs, business, civic and education leaders together in celebration of all of the innovation happening in greater Madison.

Apply to pitch in the 2016 Startup Showcase or Pressure Chamber by July 8 here.

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startup-showcase-logoAbout Startup Showcase: The Forward Festival Startup Showcase features an evening of startup pitches from some of Madison’s most compelling emerging companies. Approximately five startups will be selected to give a 5- minute “demo day” style pitch. In addition, several Startup Showcase alumni from past years will take part in a lightning round of 1-minute update pitches. The Startup Showcase is a high energy stage that celebrates and showcases what’s next in Madison’s startup ecosystem and is open to early and later stage companies, venture and non-venture backed companies, as well as for-profit and non-profit companies. Checkout highlights from last year’s event here.

pressure-chamber-logoAbout Pressure Chamber: Whether your company is currently raising or planning to raise investment capital in the future, Pressure Chamber is a valuable platform to tell your story and make new connections across the country. A select number of companies will be chosen to pitch in front of a panel of investors, business executives and a live audience at the Pressure Chamber event. In addition to receiving the coveted golden suitcase and other prizes, the winning company receives an all-expenses paid spot on the Chamber’s exclusive Madison-area startup delegation to Palo Alto in October for meetings with top Silicon Valley investment firms.

The Startup Showcase is presented by Capital Entrepreneurs and Accelerate Madison, and the Pressure Chamber is presented by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and Michael Best & Friedrich. Pitch Night is part of the 2016 Forward Festival, which runs August 18-25, 2016.

Startup Weekend Madison Returns April 22-24!

RGB-StartupWeekend_LogoGFEStartup Weekend returns to Madison April 22-24, 2016 for the fifth annual Startup Weekend Madison event!

Startup Weekend is a weekend long event where developers, designers, marketers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups. To get a better idea about the event, check out a brief video trailer here.

More info and to register: REGISTER NOW

Startup Weekend is a true risk-free environment and a great opportunity for both new and seasoned entrepreneurs to gain valuable entrepreneurial experiences and put their unique skill sets to use, meet great people, and have fun. People of all different backgrounds and with all different skills are encouraged to participate.

Organizing partners for the event include Capital Entrepreneurs, Sector67, The Doyenne Group, UW-Madison, Edgewood College, and Madworks Coworking. The event is hosted by University Research Park.

2016 Spring Tech Kickoff

CELOGOJoin us for Madison’s 4th Annual Spring Tech Kickoff on Wednesday, April 6 from 5-7pm!

Please register here if you’re planning to attend. It’s free.

Technology business, entrepreneurship, and startups in Madison have another great year ahead. To celebrate that and get in high gear for an eventful summer – Capital Entrepreneurs, Forward Festival, and Horizon Coworking invite our community and its supporters to the 4th Annual Spring Tech Kickoff!

This year’s gathering is in the brand new Galaxie building on East Washington Ave.

Once again a lot has happened since last year’s spring event, and with new energy, new employers, and new support and funding resources for entrepreneurs we foresee even more coming this year.

Come celebrate achievements and we’ll share a little about what’s new in an open informal event. Anyone is welcome, this is a place where folks who want to connect and participate can easily plug in and help move our community forward.

A variety of beverages and delicious snacks will be on hand.

Presented by: Capital Entrepreneurs, Forward Festival, and Horizon Coworking.