Forward Festival Kicks Off This Week

ftf logo smallThe 2014 Forward Festival kicks off this week! The Festival runs from August 21-28 and is now in its fifth year. There are 20 different exciting events lined up, and there’s still time to secure your spot at many of them. Check out the full event list here.

Be sure to join us for the Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social on Thursday, August 28. The Open Social takes place on a rooftop on the Capitol Square, and will feature MobCraft’s 2014 Forward Festive-Ale, taps from other local brewers and other beverages, as well as snacks from a variety of local producers and food entrepreneurs. For more information and to RSVP (it’s free!), go here.

We’ve also got another exciting Startup Showcase coming up on Wednesday, August 27. We’ll feature 10 exciting new startups who are revolutionizing everything from healthcare to software publishing to banking and more. You’ll also hear an update from the startups that presented at last year’s Startup Showcase. More information is available here, and a limited number of event tickets are now available here.

Be sure to attend the headline Festival event – the Forward Technology Conference, as well as other great events including the Badger Startup Summit, Edible Startup Summit, the Wisconsin Innovation Awards and more. Check out the full lineup of events here.

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ABODO Raises $1.25M in Funding

abodo-logoThe hyperlocal online rental marketplace ABODO announced today it has closed $1.25 million in Series A financing, led by American Family Ventures. Also joining the round are 4490 Ventures and Lakewest Venture Partners, and this investment is the first for the new 4490 Ventures fund. ABODO is an apartment listing service that has already launched in 6 markets, with plans to expand to 25 nationwide in the coming year. ABODO is a graduate of the 2012 gener8tor accelerator class.

More info about ABODO and their raise can be found here.

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Forward Festival Startup Showcase Seeking Nominations

ftf logo smallThe Forward Festival Startup Showcase features an evening of lightning round startup pitches from some of Madison’s most compelling emerging companies on the “big stage” at the Majestic Theatre.

Last year, the inaugural Startup Showcase brought nearly 200 entrepreneurs, business leaders, and civic leaders together to hear pitches from emerging companies in the Madison area. For this year’s event, we are looking to find ten new startups to take to the stage and tell us their story in just five minutes.


Nominate a startup to pitch in the 2014 Startup Showcase by July 25 here.

Check out the video from last year’s event here. The Startup Showcase is organized by Capital Entrepreneurs and Accelerate Madison.

Sign up for Festival updates here, and help create this year’s Forward Festive-Ale here!

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gener8tor Summer 2014 Class Announced

gener8torMadison and Milwaukee based startup accelerator gener8tor has announced their Summer 2014 class of companies. This is now the fifth gener8tor class, and since launching in 2012 gener8tor’s 23 portfolio companies have gone on to raise nearly $25 million in financing and created over 150 jobs.

gener8tor selected the five companies for the current class from over 450 applicants. The 12-week program just kicked off, and the gener8tor Summer 2014 Class includes:

Beekeeper (Madison, WI) – Beekeeper Data allows companies to make smarter decisions with their vast amounts of data. Beekeeper’s collaborative software platform democratizes data analytics in the same way the Github has democratized software engineering.

HITLIST (Provo, UT) – HITLIST takes the annoyance out of advertising. The HITLIST SaaS application uses gamification techniques to provide online publishers with an embedded display ad widget to increase user site duration, user engagement, and customer targeting.

Modern Movement (Madison, WI) – Modern Movement is creating the next generation of balance training products. Beginners to elite athletes, including those on the U.S. Ski and Snowboarding teams, are using Modern Movement products to improve their balance. The new, patented designs will combine instability and 3-dimensional movement with sensor-based performance measurement and tracking.

Project Foundry (Milwaukee, WI) – Project Foundry is an intuitive, web-based platform that helps students and teachers manage and expedite authentic personalized learning. Project Foundry is the most complete workflow management system available for project-based learning.

Stock Mfg. Co. (Chicago, IL) – Stock is a vertically integrated, domestically made clothing brand that blends an innovative sales model with old school, American craftsmanship. By skipping the traditional retail middlemen that inflate the cost of clothing, and selling directly to customers, Stock is able to deliver premium, American-made garments at price points that are affordable to the average consumer.

Read the full announcement here

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900dpi Launches Blog CMS

900_256The founders of 900dpi, the leading fully intuitive website content management system, recently launched an easy-to-use and implement blog CMS platform.

Using nothing more than a toolbar and straightforward editing box, users are able to add dynamic blog content including images, videos, lists, links and more. The tool provides all the functionality of more complicated blogging applications, but does so in a simple, fun-to-use package.

“When we envisioned what blogging would look like on 900dpi, we knew it had to be incredibly simple to implement while still giving designers full control over the look and feel of their designs,” – Aaron Larner, 900dpi Co-Founder

Read the full press release here.

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2014 Forward Festival Returns August 21-28

ftf logo smallThe Forward (Technology) Festival returns for its 5th year! Registration is now open for many of the 2014 Forward Festival events. This year’s Festival takes place from August 21-28. In addition to some of the favorite events from past years, new events will be added around food, health tech, and music.

Check out for the current event calendar and links to register.

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Apply for Doyenne Group’s 5x5x5 Pitch Competition

doyenne-logo-2014The Doyenne Group is taking applications for women-led ventures to submit their businesses to compete to be awarded $5,000 in Seed Funding. Of the applicants, 5 women led businesses will be chosen and will have 5 minutes to pitch their business for a chance to win $5,000 during the Doyenne Breakfast part of the Forward Technology Festival on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.

Apply by July 9th. For more information and to apply, go here.

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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.

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Make Music Madison is This Saturday!

Make-Music-Madison-Blog3Make Music Madison, an annual day-long citywide, free, outdoor music festival held on the Summer Solstice, is this Saturday, June 21. Back for its second year, the festival will include 380 free public concerts across the city. Powered by Madison start-up Solstice, Make Music Madison will include all types of genres, ethnicities, and styles of music, both amateur and professional musicians, and will occur in various public and private spaces throughout the city.


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Madworks Accelerator Announces Inaugural Class

logo-madworks-campusThe Madworks Accelerator has announced the first class of companies to participate in its summer 2014 seed accelerator program. Madworks is an early stage seed accelerator which will provide mentoring, training and financing of up to $10,000 to early stage companies. The companies accepted into the inaugural class are:

900dpi – 900dpi eliminates the set-up and support hassle that comes with building websites as a freelance web designer or developer.
BlueTipz – Ice fishing hardware startup with smartphone-connected alerting device that lets you catch more fish faster.
CleMetric – CleMetric combines the power of streams computing, machine learning and visual discovery to develop advanced data analytics software for healthcare operations management and medical research.
ConfPlus – ConfPlus provides event mobile solutions to enhance the user experience for all event participants.
Deneb Outdoors – Deneb Outdoors is an outdoor brand that is creating the next generation of outdoor products that are high performing, sustainable and cost competitive.
ivMD – Medical software startup that handles medical decision making for organ donors and other patient populations that are critically ill.
Metamodeling Analytics – We feature best-in-class analytics to significantly accelerate and enhance complex simulations.
SELA Medical – SELA overcomes the limitations of current topical anesthetic applicators and offers healthcare providers a universal applicator with selectable spray options, enabling its effective use with both indirect and direct laryngoscopes as well as other airway visualization devices.
ZeroNine – ZeroNine makes attorneys more effective at prior art search through a unique approach to search and various workflow improvements.
Zuntik – Zuntik is an online calendar distribution tool that allows user to create, upload and manage virtual calendars and share them with their community.

Madworks Coworking is also hosting an event on June 17 from 4-6:30pm to celebrate the co-working space’s 1 year anniversary and the kickoff of the summer accelerator (RSVP here).

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Fishidy Raises $1.5M in Funding

fishidy_LOGO_v1Fishidy, an online map-based fishing social network, is planning its next moves after raising $1.5 million in its latest round of funding.

Formed in 2011, Fishidy launched its app in early 2013 and currently has more than 160,000 members nationwide. The app supplies users with map-based fishing tips, as well as a fishing social network.

Per CEO Brian Jensen, the new funds will help Fishidy to expand membership as well as add more features and revenue channels.

Additional info on Fishidy’s latest funding here.


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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.

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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.

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Yahara Music Library Launches

yahara-music-library-logoThe Yahara Music Library, a collaborative project between the Madison Public Library and Murfie Music, recently launched.

Using technology from Murfie’s online music streaming platform, the Yahara Music Library enables any library card holder to stream music from the Yahara Music Library using any web browser or download albums in multiple formats to a variety of devices. The diverse collection of music in Yahara includes established musicians and up and coming artists who play everything from rock, hip hop, classical, and more. Murfie and the Library are releasing technical elements of the Yahara Music Library under an open source license.

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gener8tor Madison Office Hours, Meetup and Application Deadline

gener8torgener8tor has a handful of upcoming events leading up to the application deadline for the Summer 2014 class on June 1st.

They are holding Madison Office Hours on Wednesday, May 28th from 10am-1pm as well as a Meetup starting at 5:30pm at their office on the Capitol Square. Learn more about their Milwaukee 2014 accelerator program, pitch your startup, get feedback and ask questions at these events. The application deadline for gener8tor’s Summer 2014 class is June 1st. Apply to gener8tor for your chance at up to $70,000 in startup funding and 12-weeks of intense, mentorship-driven programming. To apply, go here.

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