2015 Recap: Hardin Design and Development

hardin-logoWith 2016 on the horizon and plenty to look forward to, the staff at Hardin Design & Development wanted to take a moment to reflect on a year of exciting new projects and fun, rewarding accomplishments.

2015 has been the most successful year in company history, and we attribute much of that to the impressive caliber of our staff, to which we’ve added some outstanding business and development talent. Our team is a key element to what makes Hardin Design & Development such a dynamic place to work, and without their superior dedication, teamwork, and tenacity, we wouldn’t be the company we are today.

As members of the technology and startup community, we are always seeking out avenues to increase the public’s awareness of the tech scene and to help other Madison startups. It’s been enriching to continue building bridges with local business representatives at many of the expos and events held around the city. There have also been many opportunities to really connect with the young minds of Madison through office tours and interviews and high school career fairs. Our most interesting platform for tech representation came in the form of the Redbull Soapbox Derby, where a team of our developers rocked out in Cincinnati, OH with a Futurama inspired design and now an epic story under their belts.

Our developers have been working hard on a wide variety of interesting projects this year. Some of the major projects include an online LSAT practice portal as well an iPhone application focused on real estate sales. Our diverse clientele allowed for many domestic and international adventures, and we can’t wait to see where we end up next. We’re looking forward to all the fun projects we have in the works!

As we look forward to the new year, Hardin Design and Development is enthusiastic to continue our passion for creating awesome mobile and web applications. If next year is anything like this year, it will mean mastering new technologies, growing our development team, enhancing our workflows and reinforcing our established partnerships while creating new ones.

StartingBlock: Second Gear Event

sbm-second-gear-header-jan2016Capital Entrepreneurs is partnering with StartingBlock for an event on the evening of Thursday, January 28th. The event features guest speaker Robbie Bach (former Chief Xbox Officer at Microsoft), followed by a joint Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social at 7:30PM. The event is free and open to the public.

Please RSVP here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/startingblock-second-gear-tickets-20114663500

Full Event Details: StartingBlock is excited to announce its entrepreneurial conference series, StartingBlock: Second Gear. This inaugural event will feature keynote speaker, Robbie Bach, former Chief Xbox Officer at Microsoft, and will be produced by Madison Startup Grind. Following Bach’s presentation, Capital Entrepreneurs, VR Meetup and the Madison Game Alliance will each hold their monthly meetup. The event will start at 6 pm on January 28th at Central Library and the event is free.

The free evening program features our keynote speaker, Robbie Bach former President of Entertainment and Devices Division, Microsoft & author of Xbox Revisited: A Game Plan for Corporate and Civic Renewal. Bach led the division that was responsible for Xbox, Xbox 360, Zune, Windows Games, Windows Mobile and Microsoft TV. He was the Chief Marketing Officer for Microsoft Office when it grew from 20% to 80% market share during his tenure.

Following the interview at approximately 7:30pm, three co-located monthly meetup groups will hold gatherings: Capital Entrepreneurs, VR Meetup, and the Madison Game Alliance.

  • Capital Entrepreneurs is a group dedicated to creating new connections and a community around the amazing startups in and around Madison.
  • Madison VR is a meetup group comprised of game developers, artists, students, and other members from the community that are interested in the future of virtual reality.
  • Madison Game Alliance is a network of video game industry enthusiasts set on growing the greater Madison region.

The event is free but RSVP is required: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/startingblock-second-gear-tickets-2011466350

2015 Recap: Networked Insights

ni-logo-cyan@2x12015 proved to be a year of great developments for Networked Insights. Marketers are challenged like never before by a complex marketing environment where ad formats and content channels are multiplying and consumers are in control of which messages break through. Networked Insights is helping top consumer-facing brands like Under Armour and American Family Insurance connect to their audiences.

This year, Networked Insights introduced Hi-Def Audiences™, built upon a new partnership with Twitter. Brands with access to Hi-Def Audiences can build upon basic demographic profiling to understand their opportunity audience along more than 15,000 dimensions including everything from psychographics, to interests, affinities, to brand preferences. The partnership with Twitter, announced at the 2015 Flight Developer and Data Conference, opens new and expanded audience segmentation, insights, measurement and targeting to Twitter advertisers. Twitter selected Networked Insights as a launch partner to integrate our Kairos platform on their newest data innovation, the Audience API.

Another major partnership announced in 2015 put Kairos into the hands of more than 25,000 employees at the world’s largest media management firm, GroupM. The exclusive partnership represents one of the largest-ever marketing SaaS implementations and will give GroupM the capability to adaptively plan and continuously optimize client campaigns using real time data from the social web.

This announcement has been years in the making, beginning with a vision years ago by Networked Insights’ CEO, Dan Neely to use consumer data from social media sources to inform marketing investments across a wide variety of media platforms – not just social. In 2015, the technology caught up with that vision. We enhanced our platform with features that speed up Kairos’ ability to analyze data in real-time through a combination of machine learning, computational linguistics, and Boolean logic. These analyses now create a massive set of meta-data organized around audience segments that generate rich media planning insights for both online and offline advertising.

But, knowing what’s important to consumers is only half the equation. So, in 2015, Networked Insights launched Pinpoint, to help brands understand WHY social trends are happening. The technology is integrated throughout Kairos to help brands understand what’s important to their opportunity audience and why it’s important while there’s still time to act. We announced the new Pinpoint technology and demonstrated how it works in a webinar, which was the first in our new series of webinars, all of which are available for on-demand viewing on our website.

On the corporate front, the company moved into new office spaces in Madison, Chicago, and New York. The company also has colleagues located in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and North Carolina as well.

To learn more, visit www.networkedinsights.com or follow @netinsights.

2015 Recap: Updown Technologies

updown-logoIn 2015, Updown launched as a company and released its first product – the Updown Fitness App – on the web and on both the Apple and Google Play stores. Our team of four working out of an apartment off State Street has come a long way in the last 12 months.

We spent the first half of the year doing market research and developing the app and then started beta testing in the summer. The app, which functions as a personal trainer that customizes workouts and helps users reach their fitness goals, launched on the Google Play store in November and the Apple store in December. In just a short couple of months, we’ve managed to reach 3,000 users, and the rate of new user signups is increasing quickly as we gain traction and generate press. The initial feedback has been great, as the app maintains a 4.7 rating on the Google Play store.

2016 is all about continued development and growth for us. We are working hard on expanding the social functionality of the app, and we’re also developing a rewards system that will allow our loyal users to cash in for working out. Integration with wearables devices is also in the works. We’ve kicked off 2016 by raising $100k which will allow us to expand marketing and to grow our team, and we’ll be looking to complete a Series A funding round later this summer.

We look forward to exponential growth and a continued role in Madison’s growing entrepreneurial climate in 2016!

2015 Recap: Ten Forward Consulting

ten-forward-consulting-logoAs 2015 comes to a close, we reflect on another successful year over here at Ten Forward Consulting. Startup companies, long-time clients, innovative product development, and new hires have kept us quite busy – and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Ten Forward committed to our long-standing partnership with Mobile Doorman when Brian Samson, founder of Ten Forward, accepted a position as CTO and helped the Chicago-based tech startup secure its first round of funding, hire technical staff, and meet key technical milestones.

We’ve always felt connected with entrepreneurs and start-ups, and have been fortunate enough to partner with several this past year. Habit Catalyst is a compliance tracker and reminder application, which is designed for trainers to help their clients develop healthy habits. Built by Ten Forward and based here in Madison, this app is expected to launch publicly in early 2016. In addition, we’ve developed new mobile applications for Fanbread, a YouTube personality outreach tool, and Looper, a new way to connect golfers and caddies which is scheduled to launch in Spring 2016.

As busy as clients keep us, we try to spend any additional development time working on internal products. After some frustrations with client-facing CMS tools like WordPress we decided to work on a simple solution for small businesses to request content updates so they don’t need to learn yet another system. We have used this platform, called “CRS” internally, with several clients and look forward to expanding features in the coming year.

None of this work can happen without a lot of help. In the past year, Ten Forward has made some very important hires. Mark Norman, with over 10 years of development experience, has worked on a number of projects with Ten Forward as a contractor. In 2015, we made it official, and Mark was brought on as a senior developer and our first equity partner. We hired developers out of Epic, Omaha Code School, and interns from Madison’s YWeb Career Academy. Ten Forward nearly doubled in size from five employees in January to nine in December.

2015 has been a great year for the growth and sustainability of our young company, and we look forward to continuing that trend as we move forward in our mission to create the best software for our clients.

Have a great New Year!
Your friends at Ten Forward Consulting

2015 Recap: Underground Food Collective

ufc-logo2015 for Underground Food Collective saw continued growth and the opening of one new business. The biggest leap for us was opening a new retail location in Minneapolis called Lowry Hill Meats. Furthermore 2015 was a year of planning as we look to expand our operation in wholesale, retail and restaurants.

This was the first time we have opened a space outside of Madison and marked a new level of expansion for our company and gave us experience in how to run businesses remotely and operate under different regulatory bodies.

We saw an overall growth at Underground of around 30 percent this year led by big increases at Underground Butcher (35 percent) and Underground Meats (50 percent). Underground Meats released 3 new products into national wholesale: our Summer Sausage, Smoked Hams and Dry Cured Bacon along with continued efforts to get our dry cured salamis approved through the USDA.

We were excited to be awarded Madison’s Favorite Butcher Shop by the Isthmus, Top Caterer by Madison Magazine as well as a James Beard Nomination for Jonny Hunter for Best Chef Midwest and Chef of the Year by Madison Magazine, and Underground Meats is a finalist for the Good Food Awards.

We are looking forward to 2016, which will bring the opening of Middlewest Restaurant, a new Underground Butcher location, and potentially a Milwaukee location.

2015 Recap: OpenHomes

openhomes logoIn 2015, OpenHomes has seen +100% year over year growth in revenue and customers We’ve become a top 12% agency in our first market, south central Wisconsin, and have sold homes throughout southern Wisconsin. We sell homes faster and for more money than traditional agents, too – just 11 days on market (vs. market average of about 28), and for 99.2% of listing price (vs. market average of about 97%).

OpenHomes customers save an average of about $6,000 vs using a traditional agent. Our net promoter score is 100 points – meaning every single customer surveyed said s/he would recommend OpenHomes to a friend or colleague. Now that our tech is in great shape and our traction is strong, we’ll be opening up a $500k round to help us expand to new states and drive even more rapid growth.

Healthfinch Raises $7.5M in Funding

healthfinch-logoHealthfinch has just announced a $7.5M Series A funding round led by Adams Street Partners.

The company, which was founded in 2011 by Jonathan Baron and Lyle Berkowitz, has developed a software that automates routine tasks that physicians would other wise have to complete. For example, Healthfinch’s applications automatically fulfill medication requests and schedule appointments. To date, the technology is used by over 2,000 physicians who have completed over 2.6 million tasks using Healthfinch.

The most recent funding round will be used to launch a new framework called Charlie, a platform that will serve to link all of Healthfinch’s applications together. In addition, the Series A round will allow the company to hire additional engineers.

Healthfinch has now raised over $10 million in funding. You can read more about Healthfinch’s recent raise on Xconomy here.

2015 Recap: Noble Applications

noble-applications-logoNoble Applications is a local bootstrap startup that turned 3 years old in September. We are pleased and proud to report that we have significantly grown each year, and our model of continuously investing in upgrading our design and development talent really started showing returns in year 3, a year in which we hired 3 new employees. Having our team and processes in place led to the following financial highlights for 2015:

  • 15% revenue increase over 2014
  • 425% profit increase over 2014
  • 100% customer satisfaction and all invoices paid within 60 days
  • As always, $0 of debt

The growing core of our business continues to be providing our design and development talent to established enterprises with new mobile strategies. We added 8 new customer partnerships to this core in 2015.

For the annual Capital Entrepreneurs list, however, we like to highlight a couple startup partners that we helped bring new products to the world. We were the product-company-for-hire partners for these new and exciting companies that launched in 2015:

We want to express our gratitude to our team and our customer partners. We get to work with incredible people with amazing ideas and we are all very grateful that our customers give us the opportunity to push boundaries and bring real innovation to the mobile ecosystem.

For 2016, we are signed on to help bring mobile innovation to the following industries:

  • Tourism
  • Healthcare
  • Agriculture and Dairy
  • Employee Benefits
  • Sports Coaching and Player Development
  • Manufacturing

Stay tuned to our website (we’ll have a new one in February), where you can keep track of the new apps and platforms that are built for the world, right here in Madison.

2015 Recap: Autosport Labs

autosport labs logo2015 was a year of significant progress for Autosport Labs. The first part of the year marked improvements in the existing RaceCapture/Pro product line. Several new features were added to the hardware platform and a new version of the RaceCapture App was made publically available, unifying the experience across tablets and computers alike. In late August the company completed the design and construction of 6 working prototypes of its next generation hardware: RaceCapture. These were demoed at a trackday at Laguna Seca in September and a rainy race weekend at Portland, OR in October to very positive reviews and customer interest.

With hardware built and put through validation, the group executed the next stage of the plan and launched the RaceCapture Kickstarter. As of Jan 2, 2016, the campaign was successfully funded at 128% of its goal. With the feedback and excitement from their enthusiastic Kickstarter backers, Autosport Labs is entering 2016 with lots of momentum from the successful campaign.

New Years Kick Off


To bring us into 2016, we’ll first be looking back at 2015. 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 2015 Madison Startup Scene Recap post. The daily series will start on Monday, January 4. Stay tuned!

Redox Raises $3.5M in Funding

redox-logoHealthtech startup Redox has closed a $3.5M Series A funding round led by Flybridge Capital Partners and HealthX Ventures. Redox is developing a platform API for healthcare integration, which connects health systems to an ecosystem of health tech applications. Over 120 application developers have signed up for API access so far and Redox is targeting to increase that number to 500 by the end of 2016. Redox also recently was the winner of the Traction pitch competition at the Health 2.0 conference.

Read more on Xconomy here.

2015 Forward Festival Returns August 20-27!

FF-splashThe sixth annual Forward Festival returns August 20-27, 2015. The Forward Festival is Madison’s flagship technology and entrepreneurship festival. Since starting in 2010, it now attracts over 2,000 attendees and includes 8 full days packed with 30+ 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 25) – 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 25) – 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 27) – Wrap up the 2015 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.

Other headline summits include the Badger Startup Summit, Edible Startup Summit, and Social Good Summit. And there are a bunch of other great events encompassing tech, food, music, and more packed into the Festival, check them out!

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

Startup Showcase and Pressure Chamber Seeking Nominations

The 3rd annual Forward Festival Startup Showcase returns this year and will be bigger and better than ever! This year, the Startup Showcase will join forces with the Pressure Chamber competition for a Startup Pitch Night evening following the Forward Technology Conference on August 25, 2015. The density created by having all of these popular events together will create a truly unique experience, bringing hundreds of entrepreneurs, business, civic and education leaders together in celebration of all of the innovation happening in greater Madison.

Nominate a startup to pitch in the 2015 Startup Showcase or Pressure Chamber event by July 7 here.

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. Five to seven 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. 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. Startup Pitch Night is part of the 2015 Forward Festival, which runs August 20-27, 2015.

2015 Startup Weekend Madison Recap

RGB-StartupWeekend_LogoGFEThe 2015 Startup Weekend Madison was a huge success. This year’s 54-hour marathon event featured nine teams who worked tirelessly all weekend to create incredible projects. Congratulations to everyone who participated and we hope you enjoyed the experience. You can check out some pictures from the event here, as well as a list of all the teams here.

This year three awards were not enough. The high quality of presentations led the judges to add on a fourth award, which they named the “YOLO award.” This award was designed to recognize YOLO Pops for their innovative Jello Shot Sticks that won over everyone at Startup Weekend.

All teams did an exceptional job and we wish you all luck as you continue to pursue your goals! The top three teams this year were:

1. Blinky: An accessory for bikers, Blinky plans to revolutionize biker safety. You no longer need to worry about dangerous hand signals because Blinky will alert people behind you which way you are turning with flashing arrows. In addition to winning first place, they also won the crowd favorite award.

2. Cranberry: In order to improve the health care system, Cranberry has created an At-home UTI testing device. The goal is to connect you to a prescription in minutes rather than spending time and money on doctor visits. Cranberry is well on the way to solving an issue that could save health care providers millions in wasted costs.

3. MD Forms: Have you ever spent too long waiting to see a doctor? MD Forms has created a solution that will ensure more efficient doctor visits. Their technology will allow patients to spend more time with the doctor and less time filling out forms through their patient generated notes for clinicians.

gener8tor Graduates Winter 2015 Class

gener8torMadison and Milwaukee based startup accelerator gener8tor graduated their most recent class of 5 startups. Gener8tor’s Premiere Night took place May 14 at the Barrymore Theater in Madison, where the 5 companies took the stage along with Jack Salzwedel (CEO of American Family Insurance) and the UW Band. Graduates of gener8tor’s latest class include AltusCampus, Bright Cellars, Carson Life, GrocerKey, and Passage.

Watch the full Premiere Night video here. More information on gener8tor’s latest class and Premiere Night can be found here.

Catalyze Raises $4M in Funding

catalyze-logoCatalyze recently completed a $4M funding round. The company previously raised a $2M Series A round following completion of the gener8tor accelerator program in 2013. Catalyze provides HIPAA-compliant cloud computing services for the healthcare industry.

More information can be found on Xconomy here.

Drifty Raises $2.6M in Funding

drifty-logoDrifty recently completed an additional $2.6 million funding round led by Lightbank in Chicago, with additional participation from Arthur Ventures. Drifty previously raised $1 million in funding last year, and this latest investment marks Lightbank’s second investment in a Madison based company following their investment in PerBlue last year.

Drifty is the creator of the Ionic Framework, which makes it possible for web developers to build and publish native mobile applications. Ionic is one of the top 50 most popular open source projects in the world, and is used by developers ranging from individuals to Fortune 50 companies.

Read more about Drifty and their latest funding round on TechCrunch here.

Startup Weekend Madison Returns April 10-12!

RGB-StartupWeekend_LogoGFEStartup Weekend returns to Madison April 10-12, 2015 for the fourth annual Startup Weekend Madison event! Register by March 27 to save 25%!

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.

Healthfinch Raises $1.5M in Funding

healthfinch-logoHealthfinch recently completed a $1.5M financing round led by Jumpstart Ventures. Healthfinch has raised $2.8M total since its founding in 2011. Healthfinch focuses on automating and improving the routine, repeatable work that physicians and healthcare staff are tasked with. The company’s first product, Swoop, focuses on increasing the efficiency of prescription refill requests and is used by more than 1,000 doctors to process more than 1 million prescription refill requests since launching in 2012. Healthfinch intends to expand their product line in the coming year.

More information on this financing round can be found on Xconomy here.