2014 Recap: Ten Forward Consulting

ten-forward-consulting-logo365 days sounds like a pretty long time, but for a group of people that moves as fast as we do, it quickly flew by. Looking over the past year, Ten Forward Consulting has worked to strengthen our stance in the software consulting space with the help of our awesome clients, team members, and URP.

We’ve had a lot of fun dipping our toes in different industries while working with each of our unique clients. Mobile Doorman, a residency communication app based in Chicago, IL, had us operating with property owners all over the nation while clients like Wellbe and UWLE kept us busy locally, right here in Madison, WI.

Although we love working with our clients, we can’t help but also pay just a little attention to our own laundry list of software ideas. Cloud Five is an ongoing internal project that provides a more coherent alternative to the familiar programs, Eclipse or Xcode. It allows developers to simplify the unavoidable workload that comes with building a mobile HTML5-based app. More recently, we launched a professional document creation tool, Handshake, to help other small businesses like us become more efficient in their proposal writing processes.

In order to ensure we properly execute both external and internal projects, our team has grown in size! We hired on Zach, a full-time developer and Sophia, our Office Manager. Both joined us at our coworking location, Madworks Coworking, in University Research Park (URP). We love being surrounded by a room of diverse, busy minds (and beer!).

As a whole, 2014 was a year for growth. We took on bigger clients than we had in the past, expanded our geographical client map, added members to our team, and upgraded from a mini fridge of beer bottles to a full-blown kegerator. We are thankful for the many experiences of 2014 and are ready and excited for those to come in 2015.

Thanks for reading. Happy New Year!

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2014 Recap: Digsite

digsite-logoIn 2014, Digsite went from a great idea to a real product with paying customers.

Digsite officially launched in June 2014, based on an idea that had been brewing for a couple of years. Digsite CEO Monika Wingate was running a boutique brand consulting firm. Her clients wanted the kind of in-depth insights they got from focus groups, but were looking for a more cost- and time-effective way to get them. Monika looked for an online solution, and realized that there was a gap in the market. Social media sites were great for creating community discussions, but lacked privacy, security and research tools. At the other end of the spectrum, enterprise community software offered a platform, but one that only worked if you had lots of time, money and IT expertise. With experience with and input from real customers, Digsite became a reality.

Digsite transforms the focus group into a social media-style community that’s as fun and easy as Facebook. Businesses can sign up for a single community that runs up to 30 days, or buy an annual license that gives them unlimited communities for a year. And they are! Our customers include Sub-Zero|Wolf, Organic Valley, Fiskars, Madison College and more.

In October of 2014, we introduced Digsite to research consultants at an industry event. These consultants are important, both as influencers as well as users on behalf of their clients. The response was enthusiastic! We’ve since trained more than 25 research consultants, equipping them to introduce Digsite to their clients (and to support Digsite customer companies). We’ve already seen sales as a result, with much more to come in 2015.

We have big plans for 2015, and we are putting together the team to make them happen. Jane Boutelle joined Monika Wingate as CMO/co-founder in June of 2014. More recently, Chris Patterson came on as Director of Application Development. We also have a talented team of advisors working with us. Look for more announcements in the near future.

There’s much in store for Digsite in 2015. We hope you’ll follow along on Facebook, Twitter and our blog.

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2014 Recap: Murfie

murfie_logo_black2014 flew by! Murfie continued to grow our member base and inventory numbers, hitting a milestone of one-half million CDs under management in our warehouse.

We had some awesome and unexpected media mentions including The Huffington Post, Cracked, USA Today, Inc., and CNET. A crew from The Start Up TV Show came to the office to film our operations and feature us in an episode.

This year, Murfie integrated with Samsung Shape and NAD Bluesound, enabling members to stream in mp3 and lossless FLAC format on those devices.

We announced that you can buy CDs from third-party retailers and ship them right to your Murfie collection, helping us become the digital shelf in the cloud for your physical collection. We also have been improving the website UI and have an improved version of the Web Player in beta.

Our vinyl ripping service is officially in action and growing. We’re past the planning phase of our service for DVDs, and are putting the framework together for a launch. Pay us a visit at murfie.com!

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2014 Recap: Hardin Design & Development

hardin-logoWith 2014 quickly coming to an end, and no work shortage in sight, the staff at Hardin Design & Development wanted to take a moment to review all that we’ve accomplished.

We experienced another year of growth and are excited to have impressive new programmers in the office. One of the things that makes Hardin Design & Development such a dynamic place to work is our staff. Without their superior talent, teamwork and tenacity, we wouldn’t be the company we are today.

We had a great time attending Madworks Crypto­Currency Hackathon in February and Forward Tech Festival in September. We also had the opportunity to connect with future developers and designers at the Madison Area Computer Science Job Fair. We also hosted a discussion about technology and diversity in the tech world with YWCA Madison’s YWeb Career Academy in December. 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.

Our developers have been working hard on some exciting projects this year including the launch of a dozen iPhone and Android applications, a software product focused on residential life management for university campuses, and new releases of our corporate real estate dashboard. We’re looking forward to all the fun projects we have in the works for the coming year!

As we look towards 2015, 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.

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2014 Recap: OpenHomes

openhomes logoOpenHomes has had a great 2014, starting off the year by closing a successful seed investment round. This year, OpenHomes is active in three MLS regions, covering all of Southern Wisconsin and Door County.

In the fall, we were one of 100 startups globally to be selected to pitch at the PITCH ALPHA competition at Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, Europe’s largest tech conference. We also were selected to pitch at the investor track at the 2014 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium. Perhaps most exciting, we hired a new CTO, Josh Treichel; Josh was previously a software engineer at Networked Insights. This year, OpenHomes was featured in Madison Magazine and the Wisconsin State Journal, among many other press outlets. Keep in touch with us in 2015 on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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2014 Recap: FillMyRecipe

fillmyrecipe logo2014 was a year filled with activity and strong growth at FillMyRecipe. During this year, FillMyRecipe experienced growth in revenue and units sold, while expanding its market and introducing a new product line. Our company’s participation at trade shows and in-store demos attracted many new and repeat customers. We participated at various events and presented pitches that increased awareness about the company and its offerings. We were also featured in local magazines and blogs.

We saw an increase of 83% in sales volume and 94% rise in revenues. The number of retailers carrying our products more than doubled during 2014, contributing to growth in sales. We introduced our organic line of products at Whole Foods Market in March. This was well received by customers, as evidenced by sales numbers and response to in-store demos. The four products in our top-selling organic line have accounted for 27% of revenues this year.

Participation at regional trade shows presented us with an opportunity to show case our products and create awareness. We took part in two trade shows and the attendees lined up at our booth to taste the recipes we sampled. Sales at the trade shows were brisk and the concept of our recipe kits won accolades from many attendees.

We had several opportunities to participate in summits and pitch our business. We attended Edible Startup Summit, Forward Technology Fest, and Badger Summit. We were selected to pitch at the 5x5x5 event organized by Doyenne group and we appreciated this opportunity to compete for a $5000 grant. These events provided a great opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs and learn from them.

FillMyRecipe was featured in Madison Magazine and BRAVA. In addition, our products were reviewed in the following blogs – Wisconsin From Scratch, MixItUp, and Things I Made Today.

In Fall of 2014, we engaged a focus group to try out six of our recipes and provide feedback. We were very fortunate to receive constructive and candid feedback. We are implementing these suggestions in our expansion program, which is scheduled to kick-in next year.

Most notable event this year was our attendance at the Doyenne Group retreat. We were fortunate to meet many mentors and experienced entrepreneurs during the retreat. They provided a whole new perspective and made us think out of the box. Since then, we have been looking at our business differently, which has opened up new opportunities for us.

Based on our experience at the retreat and feedback from the focus group, we have chalked out an ambitious growth plan for our company in the next couple of years. Our growth plan includes a number of changes to reposition our brand, revamp the website, redesign our packaging and increase our marketing channels to reach a larger customer base.

We are extremely excited about our future plans and are confident that 2015 will be a year of stellar growth.

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2014 Recap: MobCraft

MobCraft-logoMobCraft is the world’s first crowdsourced brewery, turning ideas into beer. Craft beer fans from around the United States submit ideas for beer recipes, which are voted upon, on a monthly basis. The winning beer is brewed packaged and can be shipped to customers in 40 states. Check out the past winners HERE.

In January 2014 MobCraft was named the Top New Brewer of the year by the global beer rating website www.ratebeer.com. Every year ratebeer’s beer reviewers from around the globe release the best of beer list where MobCraft was featured.

PBS’s Show Startup paid a visit to the brewery in April to film an episode. The show will air across the US and can be viewed online in January.

On the business side of things MobCraft reached revenue positive in October, has secured over $350K in financing, brewed 40 batches and has grown to over 80 retail accounts.

MobCraft participated in the Governors Business Plan Competition which consisted of a 250 word, 1000 word, 25 page business plan and 7 minute presentation spanning January-July. MobCraft took first place in advanced manufacturing in the competition.

October brought MobCraft to the Great American Beer Festival, where 5500 beers were judged and 60,000 attendees sampled beers from over 700 breweries. MobCraft won a silver medal in the coffee beer category out of 109 entries.

Shortly after, MobCraft was a finalist in the Rise of the Rest competition, where although they didn’t secure financing, MobCraft Founder Henry Schwartz was invited by Steve Case to attend the Forbes Under 30 Summit.

Update: MobCraft is also the first company to raise funds through the new equity crowdfunding law in Wisconsin. Their campaign is in the final stretch, but is still open to investments for a few more days from WI residents. More info is here.

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Drifty Co-Founder Named to Forbes 30 Under 30

Forbes-logoDrifty co-founder Max Lynch has been named to the 2015 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Enterprise Technology. The winners were chosen based on their success at leading a team building tools that will change the face of business or government, and create profitable revenue growth. Drifty is the creator of the Ionic Framework, which is one of the top 50 most popular open source projects in the world.

Check out more here.

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2014 Recap: Verdanterra

Verdanterra-LogotransresizeVerdanterra launched in February and 11 months later, we continue to grow and develop exciting new plans for 2015 and beyond. From our successful 2014 start, we envision soon having an established and well-respected brand in the environmental consulting world.

We focus on providing regulatory guidance for developers, owners, and operators of energy infrastructure projects. We have created a workplace where collaboration, creativity, expertise, and efficiency contribute to meeting our client’s needs. We have some big new ideas on how we might accomplish these goals, and we expect 2015 will see substantial progress in achieving these targets.

Our initial few months was a little scattered – frantic even – but thanks to a successful seed capital round, we hit the ground running in spring with a solid financial foundation that allowed us to pursue some exciting projects. Our work capacity expanded quickly and, at the close of our first year, Verdanterra has provided strategic regulatory, cultural resource, and biological advice on energy infrastructure projects located from our beloved Wisconsin to Florida and from North Dakota to Maine. The more complex the project, the better we like it – and the more our staff talents can really shine and assist clients with thorny regulatory issues.

Lead by our Managing Director Jonathan Ryan, we created the workplace and culture we sought, and we are poised to grow significantly in 2015. Two short-term goals are key: become more engaged in local organizations – like Capital Entrepreneurs – and begin working on community-benefitting projects in partnership with non-profits, land trusts, and other public entities.

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2014 Recap: MadisonStartups.com

MadisonStartups LogoWe continued to build many great relationships in 2014 as we did the year before. WisBusiness.com now syndicates our news, and the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is developing a startups events calendar for us.

We also enjoyed being a part of the startup ecosystem. We were again active participants in events hosted by gener8tor, the Wisconsin Technology Council, Capital Entrepreneurs, Forward Festival, Rise of the Rest and Madworks Coworking. In October, our editor-in-chief spoke about the “Top Five Killer Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make” at the American Family Insurance DreamBank. In December, Madison College invited us and other people involved in the city’s startup scene to discuss how the college can strengthen its role with the community.

A fun moment for Madison Startups occurred when the Huffington Post mentioned our startup database. We also received referral traffic from other media such as Reddit, Xconomy, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and The Capital Times.

In 2014, we wrote feature stories on many startups, including 900dpi, 32auctions, Fishidy and Flux. We also covered Hospter’s acquisition, AmFam’s investment in StartingBlock Madison and the closing of Nexxt.

For 2015, we hope to get the events calendar up-and-running, add a jobs board and enhance our startups database.

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2014 Recap: Rabble

rabble-logoPreston Austin, Kelly Hiser, and Matt Wheeler co-founded Rabble in August 2014, but our history begins nearly a year earlier. Beginning in the fall of 2013, Preston and Kelly worked with Murfie and the Madison Public Library to create the Yahara Music Library, an online collection of local music freely available the library’s cardholders. We founded Rabble to make it possible for all libraries to host collections like YaharaMusic.org.

In the fall, we began developing our MUSICat software, which expands the capacity of Yahara’s software. We’re working out of Horizon, a location that allows us to continue to consult with the folks at Murfie.

Just a month after our start, Xconomy ran a great article on Rabble, with sound bites from both Preston and Kelly.

In December, we finalized a partnership with the Edmonton Public Library, Library Journal’s 2014 Library of the Year. Together, we’re preparing the library’s Capital City Records project for a spring 2015 launch. Capital City Records will be both a collection of local music and a record of the city’s musical past. We’re also continuing to work with the forward-thinking Madison Public Library to enhance YaharaMusic.org.

Over the next year, Rabble will partner with about a dozen libraries to build local music collections and continue to develop MUSICat in preparation for the open release of its source code and its broad availability as a Software as a Service in late 2015. We’re looking forward to all kinds of other fun things in the new year, including the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference and a partnership with the UW-Madison Center for the Humanities.

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Wellbe Raises $2.42M in Funding

Wellbe_logoWellbe has closed a new $2.42 million funding round. Wellbe helps hospitals adapt to new market expectations for value-driven care by leveraging patient navigation to reduce risk, improve efficiency and increase competitiveness. The cloud-based platform combines vital tools for patient engagement and care coordination to help patients and care teams achieve satisfying outcomes by actively engaging them with step-by-step guidance along their journey of care.

More information is available here.

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2014 Recap: Noble Applications

noble-applications-logo2014 Capital Entrepreneurs Recap Series: This is Day 1 of our multi-day series of posts from Capital Entrepreneurs companies highlighting their year in review.

First up: Noble Applications.

At Noble Applications, our exciting second full year was highlighted by:

  • Doubling our revenue over year 1
  • Adding staff and adjusting processes to ensure that we maintain our 100% success rate
  • Having great customers that give us the opportunity to challenge the standards for design and function in the mobile and web application ecosystems with each release

As hired guns, we measure success by profitably executing every project and having every customer be reference-worthy after successful release. For over two years now, we have achieved a 100% success rate on those metrics. We are very proud of that, and grateful to our staff and our customers.

Here are a couple of the entrepreneurial customers that we helped release new products to the market this year:

The foundation of our business is built with established enterprises, but we like to highlight entrepreneurial endeavors that bring new products to the world for the annual CE list. Plus, these tend to be the most creative and fun projects, that allow us to push what is possible.

For the next year, we look forward to challenging the standards for design with the new Apple and Android products and operating systems. We have 3 new health/medical platform releases coming in Q1 to get the new year started, and we are already signed on to release 8 new platforms in 2015. Stay tuned to our website to learn more about platforms and apps that are built for the world, right here in Madison.

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New Years Kick Off

2015

To bring us into 2015, we’ll first be looking back at 2014. A lot of great things happened within the Capital Entrepreneurs community and the Madison Startup Scene and we’d like to share them. 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 2014 Madison Startup Scene Recap post. The daily series will start on Monday, January 5. Stay tuned!

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Vidmaker Acquired by YouTube

vidmaker logoVidmaker has been acquired by YouTube for an undisclosed sum. Vidmaker created an online collaborative video editor which enables real time editing, sharing, and management of videos between multiple people.

The company was founded in 2011 and previously raised approximately $650,000 in funding. Vidmaker was also a participant in the first class of the TechStars San Antonio accelerator in 2012.

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