Asthmapolis Featured in The Economist

CE member company Asthmapolis was recently featured in The Economist magazine. Asthmapolis is creating an inhaler called Spiroscout that can be used by people suffering from asthma. Spiroscout contains a built-in GPS locator that broadcasts the time and location when the inhaler is used. The inhaler data can then be analyzed to determine usage patterns and aggregated to help illuminate more widespread asthma related issues. Be sure the checkout The Economist article.

Asthmapolis was also recently featured in Engadget.

PerBlue Visits Startup Chile

Forrest Woolworth of PerBlue visited Nathan Lustig and Jesse Davis of Entrustet in their Santiago, Chile office last week (both are CE member companies). Based in Madison, Entrustet has been operating from Santiago since November after being one of only 25 startups selected from around the world to participate in the Startup Chile program.

Startup Chile is a program started by the Chilean government to attract entrepreneurs to the country and ultimately increase local entrepreneurial activity. The program provides companies with a $40,000 subsidy, office space, visas, and more. Companies must operate from Chile for 6 months. Startup Chile has attracted a lot of press, and has established Chile as the entrepreneurial hotspot of South America.

Back in the US, President Obama recently announced Startup America, an initiative to “celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation.”

“Entrepreneurs embody the promise of America: the idea that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country. And in fulfilling this promise, entrepreneurs also play a critical role in expanding our economy and creating jobs.”
-President Barack Obama

The initiatives of Startup America are a great start, but could also having a program similar to Startup Chile (that provides subsides and support directly to startups) help even more in attracting and creating new startups at the local level (particularly in Madison)? Could we pull off a Startup Madison and establish Madison as even more of a startup hotspot?

Murfie.com and CE in Madison Magazine

CE member Murfie.com was featured in an article in the March edition of Madison Magazine. The article does a great job pointing out the positive impacts of innovation and entrepreneurship on the local economy and how policymakers, investors, and the media need to think a little differently to maximize the economic impacts of innovation. From the article:

But if Murfie—or any of the other sixty-some startups that meet monthly under the Capital Entrepreneurs banner—are going to survive and create jobs and prosperity for our region, many of us must think and act a little differently.

TEDx Madtown Features CE Members

Madison’s very own TEDx event wrapped up a successful day Saturday at the Promega auditorium in Fitchburg. TEDx events are independently organized TED events.

The vision for TEDx Madtown is to bring together people who are motivated to take the ideas discussed out into the state and engender new conversations in their communities, particularly about possibilities for the future of the state’s economy and educational system.

TEDx Madtown featured CE members Justin Beck of PerBlue and Greg Tracey of Asthmapolis. The videos of the TEDx Madtown talks should be posted to the TEDx YouTube channel in the next couple of weeks. Until then, you can view part of the event by checking out this stream.

Build Madison Recap

The first ever Build Madison wrapped up a successful event last weekend. Over 50 participants gathered to work on 10 different projects at Sector67 on Madison’s east side. Build Madison is a “Community Create-a-thon” where people of all ages and skill sets came together to turn ideas into real products in 24 hours.

The event started at 11am Saturday with an idea pitching session, where anyone could pitch an idea for a potential project to work on. Dozens of ideas spanned a wide range of topics, and participants then formed teams to work on different projects. Teams started by planning and designing, then proceeded to implement their idea and turn it into a real product.

Google sponsored snacks, a fully stocked refrigerator of drinks, and pizza for participants. Flatt Cola provided an endless supply of energized cola to keep everyone on their toes. Teams worked diligently throughout the day and into the evening, with many teams working through the night in an effort to complete their projects on time.

Everyone gathered on Sunday at 11am for final project presentations and demos. Teams showed off their projects to a packed room as judges kept an eye out for the top projects. After the presentations wrapped up, judges then conferred and chose the top teams.

Be sure to also check out the live blog, time lapse video, and some pictures. Thanks goes out to all the participants and sponsors who made this a great event.

The projects:

Brainsy
Winner of $500 in cash from PerBlue and 1 year of virtual co-location service from SupraNet.

Brainsy is a web application that provides a better way browse Etsy.com handmade goods. You start by picking from a random assortment of products. Other products are recommended to you based on an algorithm that predicts your preferences. Brainsy was built by Corey Losenegger, Aaron Larner, and Pitt Fagan, web developers at EarthIT. Check out the demo at http://brainsy.star-man.org.


Cheesebet
Winner of 1 year Enterprise Package social media service from Ring & Klingelhoets and HD Movie Studio Plantinum software from Sony.

Cheesebet.com is a social gambling website with digital cheese instead of money where the bets themselves are added and scored live during sporting events. Our goal as a team was to design, build and launch the website as one fluid process so that it could be live for the Super Bowl the next day. Right now, bets are submitted and scored by our team, but we would like to add a crowd-source component so that our users themselves can submit and score bets in real time. May the cheesiest fan win!


Requestd
Winner of the runner up glassware from SupraNet.


Requestd.com is a personal search engine. Find information from your Facebook, Twitter, Picasa, and other online accounts by searching in one central place.



Atom Bomb Alarm
Winner of HD Movie Studio Plantinum software from Sony.

Atom Bomb Alarm is a wake up call that also calls your friends in the event you don’t pick up or your phone is turned off. Alarms are scheduled via a simple web interface. Users also input two additional backup phone numbers. If the primary phone number doesn’t pick up, the backup phones are called and told, “Go wake your friend up! They missed their alarm!” Perfect for ultra critical moments when you need more than a traditional alarm. The service is live at www.atombombalarm.com.


Tempest RTS

Tempest is a real time strategy game in HTML5 which took inspiration from Tempest Chess, a real time chess variant. We built the core infrastructure, AI, artwork, and gameplay. It can be played at here.






iTalkBack

iTalkBack is a free text to speech application. The iTalkBack app turns the iPad into a communication device for those who need speech assistance. This iPad application replaces very expensive dedicated communication devices while providing great ease of customization that can be performed by users and/or their caretakers.

Please follow us for update and release information.
http://twitter.com/#!/iTalkBack
http://italkback.org/


NextGen X-10
Raffle winner of the $100 credit to Murfie.com.

Many people have used and sworn at X-10 remote appliance controllers for decades. They provide plug-in modules into which you can plug lights and appliances, and then remotely control the modules (and the attached devices) from hand-held key-fobs or timer-controllers or day-night controllers. X-10 is very flakey in use, the modules fail often and are increasingly expensive. High-tech replacements (ZigBee/Lustron et all) are massively more expensive yet.

This project’s goal was to prototype a timer-controller to use with cheap, off-the-self 434 Mhz RF-controlled appliance modules. An Arduino micro-controller would be hooked to a postage-stamp-size RF transmitter; software on the Arduino would receive commands over its serial port to set timed events (a device to be turned on/off daily at a stated time) and would continuously scan its table of stored events, executing them as their time arrives. A user interface running on a laptop would be developed to create event lists and download them to the Arduino’s serial port.

Using some code snippets from prior Sector67 Arduino classes and an RF transmitter I bought from Chris on the spot, I spent about 5-6 hours developing and debugging a working prototype, using the open-source Arduino development tools and and using LiveCode (www.runrev.com) on the laptop side.


Tap It

I built a casual game for the iPhone, tentatively called “Tap It.” The gameplay works very similarly to an orignal “Bop IT!”. A sound plays telling the player what to do, and then the player must do the action fast enough to continue playing. As time goes on, the gameplay gets faster.


Y Comments

Y Comments is a small piece of Javascript that embeds comment threads on the popular Hacker News discussion website on an external page. This allows bloggers and authors on the web to submit their posts to Hacker News and then include the ensuing discussion on their own site instead of simply linking to Hacker News
itself. The result is free external comment hosting (like Disqus) provided by a forum with a large and engaged community of tech professionals. More information is available at http://will.m.aier.us/ycomments.


Google Map Atwood Mashup


The project is intended to provide a map of points of interest in the immediate vicinity of Sector 67. The map centers on Sector 67, but there is nothing preventing points of interest from being added at any location on the planet.

The map can be viewed and edited by anyone who navigates to http://loganfamily.ws/atwood


Makerbits.net


makerbits.net is a website inspired by ravelry.com, thingiverse, and many other maker related websites. makerbits’ goal is to be a repository of parts, datasheets, projects, and to give users the ability to track their stuff and lend/sell parts and tools to other makers in need. It also is designed to help hackerspaces and other shared work environments more organized. makerbits.net is a work in progress, and should be live in a few more weeks.


iPad Point of Sale

The goal of our project was to make a menu and point-of-sale system on a tablet device. Each restaurant would be able to create their own distinctive menu, and provide as much data as they wanted for each item. We created a category & sub-category system that would allow diners to filter menu items down, such as “Vegetarian”. Patrons would be able to create their profiles, which would contain their payment options, accumulate loyalty rewards the restaurant might offer, and the entire table could easily split their checks for individual payment.

We chose .NET & C# for our tools to create this web service. Unfortunately we were unable to finish in time. We finished creating the database, inserted 42 menu items with pictures, graphics for an example restaurant, and created back-end maintenance screens.


Magnifying Glass Stop Motion Video


Build Madison Time Lapse

Live @ Build Madison

Sunday @ 12:45 pm The project presentations are all wrapped up and the prizes have been awarded. There were some really awesome projects that came together over the last day. A more detailed Build Madison follow up post will be available soon and will also include more information on each project. The prizes:

$500 Cash from PerBlue – Team Brainsy
1 Year of Hosting from SupraNet – Team Brainsy
Runner up prize from SupraNet – Team Requestd
Software from Sony – Team Cheesebet, Team Atom Bomb Alarm
Consulting from Ring & Klingelhoets – Team Cheesebet

Team Presentations

Sunday @ 10:40 am The smell of freshly made bacon fills the air at Sector 67 this morning. Many people have worked diligently through the night on their projects. Teams are making last minute additions to their projects and beginning to prep for their presentations which will begin shortly. 20 minutes to go…

11:30 pm Teams are pushing through and will soon be burning that midnight oil. A few teams have wrapped up their projects and are ready to call it a night. Most are still around and cranking away. A few people have even started making a stop motion movie involving kung fu. 11.5 hours to go.

10:06 pm Teams are still going strong. Many projects are starting to look like real products, others are just starting to come together. A participant from the cheesebet team said, “We have 9 people – including programmers, biz dev, designers, and writers and we’re tackling the whole project in a pretty coordinated way.” Another participant said, “I should be doing my homework, but this is more fun.”

8:23 pm The stack of Ian’s pizza is gone and teams are back to busily coding, designing, and plotting world domination. The custom made TurboTap chiller has managed to find itself a keg of Spotted Cow and is dispensing happiness for the enjoyment of all. Code and Cow are flowing freely.

The Pizza
The Cow

5:19 pmBuild Madison is fully underway. The community create-a-thon kicked off shortly after 11am this morning. Over 50 participants gathered at Sector 67 to pitch ideas for a wide variety of potential projects to work on. After some discussion and brainstorming, teams formed to work on around 10 different projects.

The ideas currently being worked on include an iPad based point of sale system for restaurants, a personal search engine, a speech based bus trip planning service, a parts database, phone syncing software, a Super Bowl betting website, a recommendation service for Etsy, an RTS grid based game, an SMS alarm clock, an embedded commenting platform, and curriculum based software for schools.

Most of the teams have finished up with the design and planning of their projects and are now fully immersed in the implementation. Google sponsored snacks and drinks for everyone (and pizza in a little while for dinner), and Flatt Cola is keeping everyone energized.

There are now less than 18 hours to go before project presentations tomorrow morning. More updates to come throughout the event…

During the idea pitching session.

Build Madison: A Community Create-a-thon

Capital Entrepreneurs is organizing Build Madison which is taking place February 5th and 6th. It’s a 24 hour create-a-thon (think hackathon + startup day + just building cool stuff). There is even a $500 cash prize (plus other prizes) going to the top teams.

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? This is your event too. Bring your skill set (whatever it may be – programming, glass blowing, marketing, etc) and find an interesting project to work on and bring to life.

For more information check out www.buildmadison.org.

Calling all creative, talented and enthusiastic Madisonians! Come together to unleash and show off our community’s potential by cooperatively creating real products in less than 24 hours. Connect with people to make your idea a reality or utilize your skill set and experience to help bring other exciting ideas to life- all while meeting cool people and generally having a blast. Plus, there’s prize money and packages for teams with the most impressive results.

Information and Itinerary
Promotional Flyer

Mithridion raises $1.25 million

Madison biopharmaceutical company Mithridion recently secured $1.25 million in funding from Venture Investors, The State of Wisconsin Investment Board, and Rocket Venture Fund. Mithridion is developing drug candidates that focus on serious Central Nervous System disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. From their press release:

“We plan to use this new funding to explore additional niche disease targets for MCD-386CR,
our lead clinical drug candidate, which is a new strategy for the company, to seek partners for
our drug candidates MCD-386CR and MI-10-022 for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and
schizophrenia, and to augment our science advisory board and board of directors,” said Trevor
M. Twose, Ph.D., the company’s Chief Executive. “We greatly appreciate the continued
confidence of our shareholders,” he added.

2010 Recap: Momenta Technologies

Year 11111011010 (aka. 2010) was an exciting, adventurous and adaptive one for Momenta. We began the year working on an Internet acceleration solution out of our apartment and ended the year developing a new website for social travel in a great office space, several ‘failed’ projects and a round of funding later.

Along the way our team, which grew from 2 to 5, completed software consulting projects, released the iPhone game Beat the Swine, and took the time to develop our skill set and let our company culture and passion develop. As 2011 begins, we are ready to leverage that passion to create the coolest possible travel experience for young professionals.

We also met and learned from tons of great people in the Madison community in the last year, which was truly the best part for us and spurred our progress throughout. We collaborated with several Capital Entrepreneurs companies, joined the Merlin Mentor program, helped plan events such as the Entrepreneurial Deli and TEDx Madtown, and worked with Planet Propaganda to design Snapp Football, our interactive TV iPhone app that didn’t quite make it out the door before our latest switch of gears.

11111011011 looks to be an even more incredible year for Madison start-ups and we’re very excited to be a part of it. We’ll soon have our new website up, which will offer Groupon-style weekend trips for young professionals looking to turn a vacation day into a real vacation. We’re also launching our company blog later this week. Check back in sometime to see what it’s all about, and have a great new year!

Contributed by Michael Fenchel of Momenta Technologies.

2010 Recap: PerBlue

The year of 2010 proved to be a very active and successful one for PerBlue. Our company and products have grown and matured much over the year. We’ve generated a lot of attention in the gaming industry and have established an increasing presence there. We are now one of the largest gaming studios in Wisconsin.

We completed our $800,000 Series A funding round in September. We’ve capitalized on this to grow the company and have doubled size of our team. PerBlue now employs 12 full time and 2 part time people and recently moved into some new spacious office space to accommodate our growing team. We were a finalist at midVenturesLAUNCH, our CEO Justin Beck was named one of the Top 40 Executives Under 40 by InBusiness Magazine, and Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle even gave us some props, saying:

“PerBlue, Inc. is built on a foundation of innovative technology and strong leadership. I am very excited to support a company that represents the future of Wisconsin’s economy.”

The mobile and social gaming space saw explosive growth this year and is now well over a billion dollar industry. The social gaming space on Facebook has exposed millions of players to a new type of gaming. The iTunes App Store and Android Market have hundreds of thousands of applications. These new types of games have become adopted by mainstream society and integrated into our daily lives. There have even been some interesting TED talks on the positive effects games have on the brain and society overall.

Our flagship product, Parallel Kingdom, saw rapid growth this year. After clearing a milestone 100,000 users in February, we now have over 285,000 users world wide. The newest age, the Age of Thrones, was launched in October. This age includes a whole bunch of really cool new features that add a whole new level of social interaction in the game.

We also launched the beta of our newest game on Facebook. It’s an adventure puzzle game called Looty where you are a treasure hunter immersed in a jungle on the quest for gold and gems. We also have some other games in the pipeline that will be launching in the coming months.

We are very excited about the upcoming year. As the mobile and social gaming space continues to evolve, look for continued enhancements to our current games as well as the launch of new titles. We hope to build on our success from 2010 and continue to innovate by making fun, innovative, and engaging games.

Contributed by Forrest Woolworth of PerBlue.

2010 Recap: Entrustet

2010 was an action packed year for us at Entrustet. We first came up with the idea to create a system to allow people, companies and attorneys to transfer and delete digital assets back in November 2008, but we really hit our stride in 2010. In January, we closed our first round of funding from investors in the midwest and the east coast. We also were approved for the Wisconsin Technology Venture Loan, a program that awarded us a low interest loan from the State of Wisconsin. We’ve seen our team expand from 2 to 7 and seen our business grow with our team.

We’ve used this money to launch our product and become the thought leaders in issues dealing with death and the Internet. In March 2010, Jesse spoke at a panel at South By Southwest called People Die, Profiles Don’t. That same day, we launched Account Guardian, which allows consumers to create a list of their online accounts and computer files and decide which should be deleted and which should be transferred to heirs when they die. Our SXSW panel allowed us to break onto the scene and we received our first press features in The Washington Post and Rocketboom Tech.

We also calculated that three Facebook users die every single minute, a stat that has been published and blogged about all over the Internet. We’ve been featured in Mashable, TechCrunch, Forbes, Fox Business, Lifehacker, Wired, BBC, Financial Times and a whole host of other publications. I attended the inaugural Digital Death Day in Mountain View, CA and Jesse and I (along with A LOT of help from our interns) have written over 170 blog posts about digital estate planning, digital assets and websites issues relating to digital death.

We’ve used our press, blog and marketing to sign up over 20 attorneys for our attorney partner program. These attorneys represent over 15,000 estate planning clients and have learned how to create wills and trusts that incorporate digital assets. In fact, Jesse and I were the first people in North America to execute wills that include all of our digital assets. Our partners and attorneys at Neider and Boucher have taken the lead as the preeminent digital estate planning firm in the United States and probably the world.

In October, we officially launched our corporate partner program. Partner websites agree to allow their users to transfer or delete their online accounts when they pass away, and Entrustet notifies each partner website whenever one of their users passes away. We’ve partnered with a bunch of websites so far, including Flavors.me, Broadjam, Vendder, Goodsie, others.

We’ve also seen a huge change in public awareness and perception of our industry. When we first started, there was only one other company in the “digital death” space. Now there are over 50, including 4 who are direct competitors in the consumer market. We love competition, as we believe it validates our market. If you Google digital estate planning, digital assets or any other keywords, you’ll find hundreds of press mentions and blog posts about digital death.

We believe that we’re nearing a tipping point where planning for your digital death becomes mainstream. Facebook, Twitter and Google now all have death policies and have actively updated them in 2010. Facebook even admitted they have a death problem. Oklahoma just passed a law that requires websites to allow executors access to deceased people’s online accounts. I’m confident that other states in the US will pass similar laws in the near future. Entrustet was even featured in a book about our industry called Your Digital Afterlife: When Facebook, Flickr and Twitter Are Your Estate, What’s Your Legacy?

In November, Entrustet was selected for Start-Up Chile and Jesse and I moved to Santiago to continue to work on the business. We’ve been here for about a month now and have enjoyed meeting all of the other startups and experiencing life in another country. We’ve had the opportunity to meet successful Chilean entrepreneurs, professors, as well as Silicon Valley icons like Steve Blank and Vivek Wadwha.

We believe that 2011 will be the year that our industry becomes mainstream. More states will pass laws similar to Oklahoma’s and more websites will realize that they need to create a plan for dealing with user deaths. We believe that we are in the right place and have the right plan to help websites, consumers and attorneys create plans for dealing with digital death. Look for big things in the digital death space in 2011, with Entrustet leading the way.

Contributed by Nathan Lustig of Entrustet.

2010 Recap: The Madison Startup Scene

The Madison startup community had a very vibrant year in 2010. Capital Entrepreneurs grew much over the course of the year and emerged as a center point for the expanding and active startup community which as taken root in Madison. Many have begun to take note of Madison’s emerging role as the startup capital of the Midwest.

Forbes declared Madison the 7th most innovative city in the country, ReadWriteWeb recognized Madison as a technology startup hub in its Never Mind the Valley Series, and TechCrunch declared Madison the Land of Beer, Cheese, and… Startups. Over the course of 2010, Madison startups raised over $62 million in funding. This funding was led by Virent, Shoutlet, Networked Insights, and PerBlue. Madison startups hired 73 full time employees this year, and now employ over 250 people.

Capital Entrepreneurs organized and hosted the first annual Forward Technology Conference. With a vision to be the SXSW of the Midwest, the inaugural Forward Technology Conference proved to be very successful, attracted an overflowing audience, and will definitely be back and better than ever next year. Capital Entrepreneurs also played a key role in organizing Madison’s official application for Google Fiber. The entire city got behind the Google Fiber effort, and the “MadFiber Cabal” (made up of CE members) was at the organizational forefront. There was even a custom MadFiber ice cream flavor created by Babock Dairy.

Capital Entrepreneurs companies had a very successful year overall. There are now over 60 CE member companies, up from 10 when the group formed in mid 2009. Throughout the year, companies received a lot of attention and were featured in the New York Times, TechCrunch, Mashable, Forbes, VentureBeat, ReadWriteWeb, numerous local publications, and many more.

Madison welcomed its first hackerspace with the opening of Sector 67. Asthmapolis won the Twilio and Union Square Ventures contest. PerBlue’s Parallel Kingdom launched its newest version, the Age of Thrones, and now has over 275,000 players worldwide. Entrustet was selected as one of only 25 startups from around the world to participate in Startup Chile. Hardin Design and Development’s apps were featured on Apple commercials and received numerous awards. Murfie launched its beta service to revolutionize the way you buy and sell music. Student SPILL expanded to an additional 10 college campuses. BrazenCareerist opened a new office in Washington, DC. UlluTek pitched at the WI Early Stage Symposium. HealthFinch and GoBuzz were selected to pitch for Paul Graham’s Y Combinator. And Flatt Cola helped all of us achieve everyday world domination.

All in all, 2010 was a great year for Madison startups. Based on the momentum of this year, 2011 will prove to be a very exciting time for the Madison startup scene. So if you’ve got that entrepreneurial itch and are thinking of doing a startup, Madison is a great place to do it. Be sure to keep an eye on the CE website for the latest updates from Madison startups.

Contributed by Forrest Woolworth of PerBlue.

Capital Entrepreneurs Featured in Madison Magazine

Capital Entrepreneurs was featured in an article in Madison Magazine on expanding the number of urban high-tech business downtown and in the Capitol East District. CE members Nate Lustig of Entrustet and Heidi Allstop of Student SPILL were also featured in the article. From the article:

“A lot of the people in high-tech and creative industries really want urban settings,” says Cieslewicz. “With the Capitol East District we can offer them what they want, so they’ll develop all their amazing entrepreneurial ideas here rather than in Palo Alto or Ann Arbor or Boston.”

And what they want, according to Cieslewicz and others working hard to bring Capitol East to life, is to be where it’s all happening, both at work and at play.

“All of the startups I’ve been talking to want to be located downtown, within walking distance of other startups,” says Nate Lustig. “It’s really important to us to have that cluster of high-tech new businesses sharing ideas, people and all kinds of resources.”

Badger Trips Selected as Finalist at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards

Capital Entrepreneurs member Badger Trips has been selected as a finalist at the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards held at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City.   Badger Trips is one of 33 finalists selected from more than 1,500 competitors and is in the running for $150,000 in cash and services.  Badger Trips provides students a TrueFan experience by organizing transportation, luxurious hospitality, premier tailgate and post-game parties for away sporting events.  More information on the competition is available here.

Student Spill Featured in New York Times and ReadWriteWeb

Capital Entrepreneurs member Student Spill was featured in an article on ReadWriteWeb which was picked up by the New York Times.  Student Spill is a service used by universities to aid students in dealing with personal problems.  Students can anonymously submit descriptions of their personal problems and receive responses within 24 hours from trained student supporters.  Student Spill has now expanded to 10 campuses across the country.  From the article:

“Fifteen to twenty percent of students feel comfortable enough with a counselor to seek out that kind of help,” Allstop says. “Schools are getting all their data from that small group. 82% of Spill’s users indicated embarrassment or fear as the number one factor that had prevented them from utilizing campus counseling facilities in the past.” Allstop argues that her service is a non-threatening way to gather more representative data about actual student concerns, while also providing direct support to students in distress.