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.

gener8tor Ranked a Top 15 Accelerator

sarp_logoThe Madison and Milwaukee based gener8tor startup accelerator, earned a ranking of #14 in the 2014 Seed Accelerator Rankings Project that was published today at SXSW. According to the rankings organizers, competition for the top 20 spots this year was fierce. With so many new programs coming into their own, and the addition of eligibility for non-equity-taking programs and programs with specific affiliation requirements, the pool for this year’s ranking has grown considerably. Over 150 accelerators around the US were ranked based on metrics including: valuations, fundraising, exits and survival.

More information is available on TechCrunch and the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project.

Madison Wayward Nation Episode Airs

WAYWARD_NIGHT-LOGO-16-9-0Last summer the Wayward Nation film crew traveled the country documenting the “New American Dream“. They stopped for a few days of adventure in Madison, where they spent time at Sector67 and PerBlue. You can check out the full season of episodes on Ora TV.

The full episode (#9 – “The New American Dream is Hacked”) is available here. An additional interview with Sector67 founder Chris Meyer is available here, and a video game pitch session is available here.

EatStreet Raises $4M in Funding

eat-street-logo-2EatStreet has added an additional $4M in funding to the $6M already raised this year, closing a total Series B round of $10M. EatStreet provides an online ordering platform for 15,000 restaurants in 125 cities across the US. This latest $4M round was led by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) and 4490 Ventures. EatStreet plans to invest heavily in marketing targeting university campuses across the country as well as continue to add restaurants and enter new markets.

Read more from the Wisconsin State Journal here.

MobCraft Equity Crowdfunding Launches

MobCraft-logoAfter months of getting the final pieces to fall into place, the first equity crowdfunding campaign in Wisconsin is finally off the ground. MobCraft Beer officially launched their equity crowdfunding campaign this week via the CraftFund portal and is the first company to utilize this new funding source.

MobCraft intended to start their fundraising campaign immediately after the equity crowdfunding law was passed back in June, but ran into issues with getting banks to sign on as the escrow agent for the funds, which was required by the law. The Wisconsin Bankers Association finally created a template for this type of deal, and Monona State Bank has stepped forward as the escrow agent.

MobCraft intends to raise $250,000 to $500,000 and issue up to 142,857 shares. Wisconsin residents may now purchase shares here over the next 45-90 days. Check out the recent Wisconsin State Journal article here.

Zendesk Opens Madison Office

zendesk-logoZendesk has just moved into their new 14,000 sqft Madison office on the Capitol Square. Zendesk was founded in 2007 in Copenhagen, had $72M in revenue in 2013, and recently raised $100M in an IPO in May. The company makes a customer service technology platform that serves 45,000 companies worldwide. The Madison office is the company’s primary global support center, and employs nearly 60 people with plans to add more.

Zendesk’s Madison presence started as temporary, but has now turned into the largest North American based office outside of San Francisco. They were attracted to Madison’s burgeoning tech scene and access to talent, and chose to locate in Madison over Austin, Raleigh, Boulder, and Denver. Zendesk joins significant tech companies including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon (via Shopbop) that have opened offices in Madison in the last few years.

Read more on this here and here.

Propeller Health Raises $14.5M in Funding

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

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

More information can be found on Xconomy here.

StudyBlue Raises $1.7M in Funding

studyblue-logoStudyBlue has completed a new funding round totaling $1.7M. The company has raised $17.1M in total funding to date from investors including Great Oaks Venture Capital and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Over the last year, the education technology startup has attracted over 1 million new users to their vast user-created study documents targeted at K-12 and college students.

More information on StudyBlue’s latest funding round is available from Xconomy here.

PerBlue Raises $3M in Funding

perblueMobile gaming company PerBlue has raised $3M in a Series A-2 funding round lead by Chicago based Lightbank. This funding marked Lightbank’s first investment in a Wisconsin based startup.

PerBlue designs, develops, and publishes mid-core mobile strategy games for Android and iOS platforms. Their games have been played by over 10 million people in 200 countries around the world. For more information on the funding, see coverage on Xconomy and the Wisconsin State Journal.

Madison a Top City for Information Technology Job Growth

Forbes-logoForbes has recognized Madison as having one of the quickest growing information technology sectors in the country. Madison came in 5th behind Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Boston, and Austin. Madison is the smallest city by far on this list, which is dominated by large metro areas renowned as tech hubs. Forbes points out that Madison is heading toward reaching critical mass in the industry.

A large portion of this growth is a result of Epic Systems, but the quickly growing and very active tech startup community has also played an important role in Madison’s growing information technology sector.

Read the full Forbes article here.

Governor’s Business Plan Contest Finalists Announced

gov-bpc-logoAfter three rounds of judging, the finalists for the 2014 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest have been announced, with nearly half of the 13 finalists coming from the Madison area. The Madison area finalists include: Elucent Medical, Spectrom, Little Green Pencil, MobCraft Beer, WebRacing, and Digsite.

The finalists are competing for over $100k in prizes and will present at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison, which runs from June 3-4. For more coverage on the Governor’s Business Plan Contest, go here. For more info on the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, go here.

Drifty Raises $1M; Featured on TechCrunch

drifty-logoDrifty, the makers of tools for mobile developers building websites and apps, has just announced closing on $1M in seed funding from Arthur Ventures.  This funding will be utilized to help the company grow its team and to continue it’s development on their Ionic software framework.

Drifty, founded in 2012 by Ben Sperry (CEO) and Max Lynch (CTO), helps mobile developers build apps and websites with a suite of tools, including Ionic, Codiqa, and Jetstrap. Ionic is the newest of these tools, and it works by letting developers build apps using web technologies like HTML, CSS and AngularJS.

Full TechCrunch article on Drifty’s funding can be found here.


CE Members Named to 2014 Top 40 Under 40 List

40under40This year, four Capital Entrepreneurs members were named to the InBusiness 40 Under 40 list for 2014. The 40 Under 40 list honors emerging business stars under 40 years of age in the greater Madison area.

Brad Grzesiak, co-founder and CEO of Bendyworks. Grzesiak is also very involved in Madison’s tech scene as an early member of Capital Entrepreneurs and a chair of Madisonium, a group working to raise Madison’s visibility as a tech/Internet hub. Recently, Grzesiak was named to the city of Madison’s Digital Technology Committee.

Max Lynch, founder and CTO of Drifty Co.  Lynch looks to reinvest in young tech entrepreneurs to “build software companies focused on profitability and sustainability.” He aims to have Drifty Co. “impact the world” and “put Madison on the map for Internet companies like Mailchimp and 37signals.”

Daniel Neely, founder and CEO of Networked Insights.  Neely became CEO of Networked Insights at the age of 29 and has since grown the company to over 150 employees. He has also earned a board position with UW Business School’s Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship program.

Ben Raboine, CTO of Optimal Media Group. Raboine founded his first company at the age of 21 and is currently an equal partner in six LLC enterprises: Raboine Web Matrix, Optimal Media Group, Custom Offsets, Vistrata Health, Mysteria Games, and SeeMeNow. Raboine hopes to one day become an angel investor to help more fellow Madison and Wisconsin entrepreneurs.

Bendyworks Co-Founder Featured in Wisconsin State Journal

bendyBrad Grzesiak, co-founder and CEO of Bendyworks, was featured in an article in the Wisconsin State Journal last Sunday. Grzesiak, who originally worked designing products to be launched into space, is now working to create software programs designed to meet companies specific needs through Bendyworks, which he co-founded in 2009.

Grzesiak is also very involved in Madison’s tech scene as an early member of Capital Entrepreneurs and a chair of Madisonium, a group working to raise Madison’s visibility as a tech/Internet hub. And recently, Grzesiak was named to the city of Madison’s Digital Technology Committee. Full story, including a Q&A segment with Grzesiak here.


MobCraft Named 2013 Best New Wisconsin Brewer has named local crowdsourced brewery MobCraft the 2013 Best New Wisconsin Brewer. Launched in May 2013, MobCraft is a brewery that uses customer collaboration to come up with a multitude of unique beer ideas. Customers can both submit ideas for brews to be created, as well as vote on which brews will be mass produced. Some of the interesting beers being brewed by Mobcraft include a Mayan Chocolate Chili ale with ghost chilies and cacao, and a Hazelnut Amber made with locally sourced hazelnuts.

MobCraft was also recently featured in an article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – check out the article here.

UW ACE Program Launches

ACElogo-squareUW-Madison has just launched a brand new advocacy group to help foster innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. The group, called The Advocacy Consortium for Entrepreneurs (ACE), will provide entrepreneurs with several tools to help them succeed. Led by Tomotherapy founder Rock Mackie, ACE will be established as an independent, nonprofit organization that can advocate for policies that support entrepreneurial development.

Check out more info about ACE here.

gener8tor Announces Winter 2014 Class

gener8tor-logogener8tor kicks off its Winter 2014 class in Madison this week. This is the fourth class since gener8tor launched in June 2012. Since that time, 18 companies have graduated from the program and gone on to raise more than $10 million in funding and create nearly 100 jobs.

The Winter 2014 gener8tor class had 380 applicants, of which 5 companies were chosen to participate. Those companies are:

Edison DC Systems – High efficiency direct current power systems for data centers.
Liv Blends – A Nespresso machine for freshly blended beverages.
Men’s Style Lab – A concierge clothing service.
Driblet – A smart water management solution.
Review Trackers – A review monitoring solution for multi-businesses.

For more, read the full press release here.