Live @ Build Madison

Sunday 1:30 pm – Team presentations are finished and the prizes have been awarded. There were some awesome projects and the event was a great time. Thanks goes out to everyone who participated and made it such an amazing event. The top placing teams were:

1st – Daily Do
2nd – Goal Keeper
3rd – Boardify

A full Build Madison recap post will be up this week (including project descriptions and more prize info). Stay tuned!

Sunday 10:30 am – Morning and night have come and gone. Many team members have spent the whole night at Sector67, others are showing back up after taking a few hours to get some sleep. Teams are prepping for final presentations and making last minute touches on their projects. 30 minutes remaining…

Saturday 9:20 pm – It’s the beginning of the late hours. We’ve located some Spotted Cow and the custom Turbo Tab Chiller is sourcing delicious refreshments. Teams are getting ready for the long haul. The projects seem to be coming together, but there is still much work to do.

Saturday 6:15 pm – Teams are entering phase 2 of development. Initial planning and brainstorming behind, they’re now deep within development of their product. Some are now faced with the daunting scope of actually turning an idea into a product and are starting to think about how to cut down on scale in order to finish on time. Others who may have had a better perspective from the start are still charging forward with original plans. A few participants are showing signs of frustration from bug-hunting in their code, while others are smiling fueled by the Ian’s pizza and Flatt Cola strewn about the tables in front of them. It’s still relatively early and there’s a lot of time and ground to be covered. We’ll check back in soon with more updates from a room full of energized and creative people hard at work.

Saturday 4:40 pm – Teams are hard at work. Almost time for dinner and a break.

Saturday 3:30pm – It’s starting to rain outside, and teams are starting to code inside. A full refrigerator of drinks and a table of snacks are fueling the teams. It’s all about execution now…

Saturday 1:00 pm – Over 60 excited people gathered this morning at Sector67 and the 2nd Build Madison is now underway. People pitched 19 different potential projects to build, and around 16 attracted enough interest and are being worked on. Projects are wide ranging and involve everything from games to movies, iPods, stepper motors, cloud based services, Facebook and more. Much brainstorming and diagramming is happening and projects are starting to be defined more completely. Check out some of the teams working via the Sector67 live webcam and be sure to follow the Twitter hashtag #buildmadison. More live updates to come…

CE Members to be Featured on Entrepreneur Panel

CE members Forrest Woolworth of PerBlue, Chris Meyer of Sector67, and Troy Vosseller of Sconnie will be featured on an entrepreneurship panel this Sunday, September 25th at the Wisconsin Science Festival. Also joining them will be Heather Hilleren of LocalDirt. The 4 day festival wraps up on Sunday with a day focused on entrepreneurship, and will feature the panel discussion and a screening of The Social Network.

Local filmmaker and entrepreneur John Roach will lead a panel discussion featuring Madison-area entrepreneurs, exploring the themes of startup culture, innovation and creativity. Meet UW entrepreneurs from all fields, hear about their successes and failures, and learn what’s next on the horizon for them. After the panel, stay for a free screening of “The Social Network,” the 2010 hit movie charting the rise of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.

The event will be held at the Town Center of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery.

Build Madison Is This Weekend

Reposted from the PerBlue Blog.

Hey all of you smart people out there! The 2nd ever Build Madison is taking place this weekend. This 24 hour community create-a-thon kicks off at 11 am on Saturday, September 24 at Sector67 in Madison. PerBlue is again one of the presenting sponsors and we’re pumped.

Now what exactly is a create-a-thon? Think of it like a hackathon, but it’s not limited to just programming based projects. You can “create” just about anything. Last time teams worked on everything from iPhone and web apps to microcontrollers to stop-motion videos. There is nearly $1000 is cash prizes + a bunch of other prizes too. Registration is free, and there will be food and drinks throughout the event. It’s being organized by Capital Entrepreneurs and is sponsored by Google, Sony, PerBlue, SupraNet, 94labs, Schematical, Flatt Cola and more.

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? Attend as a free agent and bring your skill set (whatever it may be – programming, glass blowing, marketing, etc) and find an interesting project there to work on and bring to life.

Be sure to register for this on the Build Madison website, and check out the live blog from the last Build Madison. We hope to see you there!

Sector67, 94labs, and Build Madison in WI State Journal

CE member company Sector67 and 94labs were recently featured in the Sunday edition of the Wisconsin State Journal. Sector67 and 94labs were highlighted as entrepreneurial hubs in Madison and are “helping entrepreneurs create products and start companies more rapidly than ever before.”

CE member Michael Fenchel’s mobile art collective was also highlighted, as well as the upcoming Build Madison – a 24 hour community create-a-thon taking place at Sector67 this weekend.

Check out the full article here.

Fresh Madison Market and SnowShoeFood Launch “True Local” Mobile App for Android

Fresh Madison Market and CE member company SnowShoeFood, LLC. announce the release of the True Local mobile app for Android users. This app has been available since February for iPhone users and has had over 800 downloads. The True Local app is part of Fresh Madison Market’s commitment to supporting local businesses and is part of an integrated marketing campaign. The app can be used to find local product in the store’s inventory, learn more about the product and company, and download money-saving coupons.

Read the full press release.

Murfie.com Featured in The Wall Street Journal

CE member company Murfie.com was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal. Murfie will take all of those CDs you have sitting around into the cloud age. They’ll send you a nice box in the mail, and then you send them your CDs. They’ll rip them and you’ll have digital versions on their website that you can sell and trade. It’s basically a huge online used CD store where you can buy/sell/trade albums for a good price point.

From the article:

Murfie wants to become the Internet’s largest used-CD emporium. (It takes a 30% cut.) As a used-CD store, they are unique in that buyers don’t need to wait for a disc in the mail—the music can be downloaded. And because these are used-CDs you’re buying, the prices are lower than normal. An example: I found John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps” for $4 ($3 for the CD plus $1 for the rip and download) on Murfie. It’s $8 on iTunes.

Read the full article here (if you’re not a WSJ subscriber, just Google the article’s title: ‘Sending Your Discs to Cloud Heaven’ and click through from there to read the full article).

Madison StartUp Accelerator This Weekend

The first ever Madison area Startup Accelerator is coming to Sector67 this weekend. If you are interested in small business and entrepreneurship, be sure to attend StartUp Accelerator Saturday, July 23 at Sector67 in Madison.

StartUp Accelerator is an “unconference”, meaning that attendees propose the agenda at the beginning of the day. This event is free and everyone is encouraged to learn, teach, and network. For more information and to register, go to http://startupaccelerator.org.

Happy Two Year Anniversary Capital Entrepreneurs

Reposted from CE co-founder Nathan Lustig’s blog.

It’s been two years since I started Capital Entrepreneurs, an organization to help Madison entrepreneurs connect. I’ve been blown away by how fast CE has grown and how quickly time has gone by. On our two year anniversary, here’s the story of how we got to where we are today.

In April 2009, I was a month short of gruduating from UW. I had just started my second company, Entrustet, with my business partner Jesse Davis. Many of our friends were taking jobs outside of Madison and the two of us were going to be staying in Madison to startup Entrustet. We both had been a part of the UW entrepreneur scene and had received support from other students, professors and the university itself, but since we were graduating, we were worried that we would not be able to take advantage of the support system any more.

I realized that most people make new friends after college via their job, but since Jesse and I were the only people in our company, I worried that we’d get isolated. I knew that there were other founders in town who were graduating who likely felt the same and wanted to do something make us more like coworkers, even though we were all working on separate businesses.

I’d been to most of the startup focused meetups and events around town and thought that there was a niche for a group that was specifically for founders that could compliment the existing networking events like High Tech Happy Hour and Madison Magnet. I wanted to create a place where founders could get to know each other, hang out and talk freely about their problems, dreams and goals, without having to worry about getting pitched by attorneys, insurance agents, accounts or the press. I wanted a place where ideas flowed freely and entrepreneurs would feel comfortable both asking for help. I wanted it to be free and without structure. I wanted Madison’s entrepreneurs to be a community of friends, not a disparate group of people who just happened to start companies.

At the end of April, I talked to a few of my entrepreneur friends and asked them what they thought. Everyone loved the idea, so I started to look for a venue that would give us a private space for free, along with some other enticement to get our business. Our friends at Brocach gave us a space in their upstairs bar, along with a nice food special and we set our first meeting. I invited all of my friends who met two simple rules. They were:

  1. The founder or first employee of a Madison business
  2. Were not a service provider like an attorney, accountant, insurance agent

Our first meeting was right before graudation in May 2009. Around 10 founders showed up. We introduced ourselves, had beers and talked. It was great. We decided to do a second meeting that next month. I quickly realized that Madison entrepreneurs were doing some amazing things, but that the rest of the community had no idea. So I started a website. It’s a simple blog that gets updates whenever a CE company gets press, sends out a press release or the city itself makes news. It also includes a list of member companies, resources for Madison’s startups, along with info on how to join.

Since May 2009, CE has grown slowly, but surely each month. The second meeting had 12 founders, the 4th 17. It just kept growing. One year later, CE had 34 member companies and 60 registered members. As we grew, service providers wanted to attend to meet the entrepreneurs. We decided service providers could sponsor CE and attend ONE meeting per year. At that meeting, they are not allowed to sell their services, just answer questions and get to know the entrepreneurs. They also have to pay for our bar tab.

We were lucky enough that Neider and Boucher, Michael Best, Boardman Law Firm, Marquette Golden Angels and Venture Investors agreed to be our first sponsors. Sponsorship worked out great for CE and the sponsors. It was a great way for entrepreneurs to get to know service providers and for the service providers to get to know us. It was also a great way to attract new, high growth clients.

CE continued to grow, but I was a little worried when Jesse and I got selected for the Startup Chile program. Forrest Woolworth stepped up and ran CE while I was gone and did an amazing job. Over the last year and especially in the last six months, CE has started to take off. We now have over 75 member companies and 120 people on the email list. We’ve been featured in Techcrunch, Read Write Web, Madison Magazine and tons of other publications.

Member companies have been featured in the NY Times, The Economist, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Techcrunch, Mashabale, Forbes, BBC and hundreds of other influential blogs, newspapers and magazines. CE companies have created over 300 full and part time jobs during one of the worst economies in recent history. We’ve raise over $15m in funding. Spinback, founded by CE alumni Andrew Ferenci and Corey Capasso, was acquired. Spill, founded by CE alum Heidi Allstop was selected for Techstars. My company, Entrustet, was selected for Startup Chile. CE members have been instrumental in helping start the Forward Technology Conference, Build Madison and other entrepreneurship initiatives in Madison.

Madison’s startup scene has grown significantly in the past few years and I’m excited and proud that CE has been a part of it. I can’t wait to see what the Madison startup scene looks like in another year! I’d like to thank everyone who’s helped make Capital Entrepreneurs what it is today. It would never have been a success without all of your help!

Spreenkler Multi-city Hackathon Today

Spreenkler Talent Labs is hosting a 24 hour, multi-city hackathon starting today at 11am. The event is taking place in Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, and New York. Prizes include automatic entry into their Summer Seed Incubator Program (valued at $20,000) for 1st place, $2,000 for 2nd place, and $1,000 for 3rd place.

Zappos is also sponsoring a challenge for participants and meals and snacks will be provided. For the full schedule and more information, check out the website.

BIC Acquires Sologear

Madison based startup Sologear has been acquired by BIC Corp (of Flick Your Bic). Sologear is the maker of the ethanol-based FlameDisk charcoal alternative used for grilling. FlameDisk was developed by Madison serial entrepreneur Chad Sorenson starting in 2005. It first debuted in 2008 and is available at many major retailers. The terms and acquisition price were not disclosed.

Chad Sorenson also recently received an Entrepreneurial Achievement Award from the University of Wisconsin in recognition of his significant impact as an entrepreneur.

Isthmus Cover Story Features Sector67

CE member Sector67 is featured in the cover story of this week’s Isthmus paper. The cover story, title “Greenius at work!” features 5 inventors that are helping the environment. Chris Meyer’s Sector67 hackerspace is featured as a place where inventors can meet, share tools, equipment and ideas, and work on their projects.

Sector67 also reuses and recycles many left over materials from local companies for many of their projects, offers hands on classes, and has even built a bicycle-operated blender. Check out the full article here.

“Successful entrepreneurs,” reflects Meyer, “never start out to make money; they set out to provide for an unmet need.” Sector67 is the kind of environment where ideas to meet those needs can be fostered.