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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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New Years Kick Off

2016

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!

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EatStreet Raises $15M in Funding

eat-street-logoEatStreet just announced that they raised an additional 15 million dollars in funding. The series C round, which was led by VC 4490 Ventures and Lumia Capital, will make EatStreet competitive with the biggest online food ordering services on the market.

EatStreet was founded in 2010 by three UW-Madison students, and five years later they have now partnered with over 15,000 restaurants in 250 cities across the U.S. They have been able to stand out in a very crowded market by targeting restaurants in smaller cities. In addition, their service is centered around online ordering. By leaving the food delivery to the restaurants themselves, EatStreet is able to focus their attention on developing the best software solution for its users.

The latest investment round will allow EatStreet to scale their business even more, and it will also provide the capital needed to hire an additional 30 employees. You can read more about EatStreet’s latest investment round in this article on TechCrunch.

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Build Madison Returns November 21-22

buildmadisonlogo_150Build Madison is back! Come join us for at the 6th 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 21st, 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!

Sector 67 is located at 2100 Winnebago St. Madison, WI 53704

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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.

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StartingBlock Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

sb-logo-greenStartingBlock Madison has just announced a crowdfunding campaign in order to help close a final funding gap. The exciting new entrepreneurial hub, which is set to break ground this winter, has already raised 85% of the necessary funds. They are now looking for community members to contribute and play a direct role in helping bring this project to reality. Starting at $25, you can purchase a “virtual block” and cement yourself as a contributing member to StartingBlock Madison!

StartingBlock-Madison-rendering-1

This project will play a crucial role in building the long term infrastructure that will bring Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to the next level and with your help, we can make it happen! You can buy a virtual block hereFor more information, check out StartingBlock Madison in the news on Madison Magazine and The Cap Times.

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2015 Forward Festival Recap

ftf-logo-smallThe 2015 Forward Festival is a wrap! This year’s Festival was a huge success drawing 3,000 attendees over the course of 8 days and 34 events. After a few weeks to take it all in, we have compiled a summary of the two headline Capital Entrepreneurs events: the Startup Showcase and the Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social.

 

Startup Showcase

The third annual Startup Showcase took place on August 25th at Monona Terrace and featured nearly 30 emerging Madison startups. This year, the Startup Showcase joined forces with the Pressure Chamber for a full Pitch Night evening. Pressure Chamber is a Shark Tank style pitch series that rewarded one startup with a trip to San Francisco to meet with potential investors. After six companies took the stage and received difficult questioning from a panel of experienced entrepreneurs, bluDiagnostics walked away with the prize. BluDiagnostics, a company that recently won the Wisconsin Governonr’s Business Plan Competition, has developed a saliva-based fertility test for women.

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Following the Pressure Chamber, the Startup Showcase featured a series of pitches from compelling Madison startups. Five new companies that have not previously presented at the Startup Showcase each gave a five minute demo-day style pitch about their company, and over 20 Startup Showcase alumni companies gave quick one-minute update pitches. Collectively, the 30 companies that took the stage at Pitch Night have created over 500 jobs and raised more than $150 million in funding. You can watch the recorded Pitch Night events (and other Forward Fest events) here.

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Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social

The Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social was held on August 27th on the beautiful Boardman & Clark rooftop terrace and atrium on the Capitol Square. The event featured MobCraft’s signature Forward Festive-Ale as well as some other premiere local taps. Nearly 200 attendees socialized and enjoyed themselves as DJ Kayla Kush played an awesome live set!

The Open Social was a great way to cap off an action filled 2015 Forward Festival! Special thanks goes out to all Forward Festival event organizers as well as all participants. We hope you enjoyed the week and we hope to see you again next year!

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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!

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Gener8tor Begins Free Accelerator Program

gener8torGener8tor has announced a free accelerator program for early stage startups tied to Wisconsin State Universities. The six week course, called gBETA, is designed to provide resources and mentoring to young companies in both the Madison and Milwaukee area. It will function similar to Gener8tor’s three month long accelerator; however, companies will not exchange any equity for participating.

Gener8tor Co-Founder Troy Vosseller wanted to create a free course for entrepreneurs that are attending Wisconsin state schools, recent graduates, or current faculty. His goal was to give back to the community and help these startups move their ideas forward. Additionally, successful graduates of this program could serve as qualified candidates to continue on to Gener8tor’s longer accelerator program. The first graduating class of 5 companies will culminate their 6 week long summer program in Madison with an invite only pitch event on August 13th. You can read more about gBETA here.

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StartingBlock Gains Donors and Executive Director

startingblock-logoWith donations from two more prominent foundations, StartingBlock Madison is gaining momentum. Following significant investments from American Family Insurance and the City of Madison, the most recent donations from the MG&E Foundation and Evjue Foundation come as StartingBlock recently named Scott Resnick as executive director of the future entrepreneurial hub in Madison.

“Our innovative enterprise businesses are sending a clear signal that they value entrepreneurship and view it as a vital piece of the success for our region in their support of StartingBlock. A key element in growing entrepreneurship is spaces that are conducive to the economic gardening necessary to grow an economy.”

– Zach Brandon, President, Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce

StartingBlock will provide emerging companies with workspace and resources that will give entrepreneurs the best chance of success and spur innovation.The many resources that will be offered at StartingBlock include coworking space, educational programming, and startup accelerators like gener8tor. In addition, Sector67 and Capital Entrepreneurs will both have new homes on the 50,000 square foot entrepreneurial hub.

Scott Resnick, COO of Hardin Design & Development and former Madison city alder, was part of the original planning group for StartingBlock and has been a passionate advocate for the concept. Resnick will serve as executive director supporting the StartingBlock board of directors during this formative period of fundraising, organizational and operations development.

StartingBlock plans to be part of a new building in the Capitol East district of downtown Madison. Construction is planned to begin in 2015 with occupants moving in at the end of 2016. For more information on StartingBlock, go here. If you are interested in contributing to the StartingBlock fundraising campaign, contact Scott.

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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.

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