Verdanterra 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.
We 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.
Preston 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.
Wellbe 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.
2014 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.
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!
Vidmaker 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.
At a breakfast event attended by nearly 100 business and community leaders, including Toni Sikes, Mayor Paul Soglin, MGE CEO Gary J. Wolter and American Family Insurance CEO Jack Salzwedel, StartingBlock Madison announced more details of its plan to create a 50,000 square-foot entrepreneurial hub in the Capitol East District of downtown Madison.
Headlining the event was the announcement that American Family Insurance has pledged a major investment toward construction of the project, joining the City of Madison which has already committed $1.5 million in its 2015 budget. StartingBlock is now looking for additional private funding to match the $1.5 million contribution from the city, as well as $1.5 million for an operating reserve.
This represents a significant milestone for the StartingBlock Madison project, which has now been in the works for 2 years. The project is spearheaded by Capital Entrepreneurs, gener8tor, Sector67, as well as a group of business and community leaders. Pending additional funding from the private sector, construction of the building would begin in the fall of 2015, with an opening slated by the end of 2016.
“The potential of StartingBlock Madison to foster economic growth and job creation in our community is strong and definitely worth pursuing. It will not only help create our region’s next generation of companies, it will develop talented, motivated young people needed by existing employers to innovate in their marketplace.” – Jack Salzwedel, CEO of American Family Insurance
More information on the StartingBlock Madison project is available here, and more information on this most recent announcement is available here.
Madison soon will be the newest home of a national program to engage, educate and connect local entrepreneurs. 1 Million Cups — based on the notion that entrepreneurs network and discover solutions over a million cups of coffee — is a free, weekly gathering in which every Wednesday morning, one or two early-stage startups present their companies to an audience of mentors, advisers and other entrepreneurs. Each founder presents for six minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with the audience.
1 Million Cups began in 2012 at the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo. More information on upcoming Madison sessions is here.
Madison and Milwaukee based startup accelerator gener8tor has announced the completion of their latest fund – “gener8tor Fund II”. The $2.1 million raised will provide funding for continued operation and investments of the gener8tor accelerator program. Funding was led by CSA Partners, Venture Management, and Wisconsin Investment Partners.
Gener8tor’s 28 portfolio companies to date have raised nearly $30 million in funding. Applications are due for the next accelerator class on January 1. More information on the new fund is available here.
Madison was ranked as the 2nd best city in the country for young entrepreneurs by finance site NerdWallet. The site compiled ratings based on access to funds, networking and mentoring opportunities, the strength of the local economy, and the cost-of-living.
Young entrepreneurs in Madison benefit from one of the highest per capita rates of small business loans ($799 per loan) in any major city. Three of the top five cities were located in the Midwest. The full rankings and more information is available here.
Nordic Consulting co-founder and CEO Mark Bakken is stepping aside to launch a new venture fund targeting seed and early stage healthcare IT startups in Madison. Nordic, an Epic consulting firm, has experienced rapid growth in recent years and now employs nearly 500 people. It was also recently recognized as the 46th fastest-growing privately held company in the U.S. on the annual Inc. 500 list.
“Madison is quickly gaining national recognition as a world class healthcare hub.” – Mark Bakken
More information on Nordic and the new fund is available here.
Applications for gener8tor’s “Madison 2015” program are now open. gener8tor is a startup accelerator that invests its community, capital, expertise, mentorship and network in capable, early-stage entrepreneurs with innovative business models.
gener8tor is seeking to invest in technology-enabled businesses including software, IT, web, SaaS, e-commerce, and hardware. Accepted companies receive up to $120,000 of guaranteed funding and 12 weeks of mentorship-driven programming. gener8tor is a proud member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) and is sponsored by American Family Insurance. To date, gener8tor’s 28 portfolio companies have raised nearly $30 million, with average follow-on funding exceeding $800,000 per company.
There is an Information Session in Madison on December 2, and more info is here. Applications are now being accepted through January 1 here.
Murfie was featured in an article in Inc. magazine about “5 Interesting Startups from the Midwest“. The article highlights some of the unique traits startups in the Midwest often have, including homegrown hospitality, lower over head/cost of living/small business taxes, and a little extra heart. Read the full article here.
Last 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.