Propeller Health, an Asthma tracking startup, raised $21.5 million in series C funding. They will use the new funds to expand their product portfolio, which already includes 45 programs. According to CEO David Van Sickle, Propeller would also like to expand globally. The company launch in 2010 and has been growing rapidly thanks to relationships with key healthcare partners including Dignity Health and government programs like Molina Healthcare. You can learn more about Propeller here.
EatStreet is reported to have raised 11 million in another big round of funding.
The mobile food ordering platform is growing rapidly as they now serve 15,000 restaurants in over 250 cities across the US. EatStreet recently moved to new offices on the Capitol Square as they continue to expand. The Madison based company has now raised a total of 38.5 million dollars to date. You can read more about EatStreet here.
The DragonSoul franchise has become a household name in mobile gaming with over 9 million players worldwide. GREE international plans to build upon the success of DragonSoul and further increase its reach across Europe and around the world. As for PerBlue, the acquisition will allow the Madison company to continue managing their current collection of games as well as develop new mobile role playing games. You can read more about the acquisition here and here.
HealthMyne, a Madison-based health IT startup received $6.9 million in a recent funding round. This includes an investment from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. HealthMyne’s technology analyzes tumor images to help radiologists identify and track cancerous tumors. The product has been approved by the FDA and there are already pilot products in three hospitals. You can read more about HealthMyne here.
HealthX Ventures has raised a total of $20 million for an investment fund that focuses on early stage health startups. Founded in 2015 by Mark Bakken, HealthX is already invested in 5 companies (Redox, EnsoData, MovingAnalytics, HealthiPASS, and Epharmix), and they plan to invest in another 5 to 7 companies in the coming few years. The portfolio consists of companies that will be an integral part in lowering healthcare costs and improving the lives of many patients in the process. You can read more about HealthX here.
Moxe Health has recently announced a $5.5 million round of funding. The Madison-based company has developed tools that improve the flow of data in the healthcare industry. Among its many uses, Moxe’s software aids in the transfer of information between healthcare systems that use different software for handling patient records. The additional funds will allow Moxe to hire more employees and boost sales as they aim to double in size in the next year. You can read more about Moxe Health here.
Madison health IT startup Catalyze recently raised $6.5 million in funding. The growing Madison company does cloud computing for hospitals, facilitating communication between their electronic systems and other digital health companies. Catalyze will use the new funds to expand their team and develop new products that will help the broader healthcare industry use data to analyze the quality of health care their customers receive. You can read more about Catalyze here.
ABODO recently announced a $4.8 million round of funding.
The Madison-based startup is the creator of a popular software used by renters to locate apartments. Their service is already offered in 30 cities across the US, and they plan to use the funding to double that number by the end of 2017. In addition, the funding round led by 4490 Ventures will allow ABODO to move to bigger offices to accommodate their growing company.
With over 500,000 users per month, ABODO has positioned itself as a leader in the apartment search industry. They have now raised over $8 million to date. You can read more about ABODO here.
The 2016 Forward Festival kicks off today and runs August 18-25! There are 40+ events on the schedule, and be sure to join us for our annual Capital Entrepreneurs Rooftop Open Social on August 25! This event doubles as the Wrap Party for the 2016 Forward Festival.
- What: CE Rooftop Open Social
- When: Thursday, August 25 from 5:30-7:30pm
- Where: Boardman & Clark (US Bank Building, 4th Floor)
Wrap up the 2016 Forward Festival with a rooftop celebration on the Capitol Square. We’ll have plenty of beverages (including the 2016 Forward Festive-Ale, Restoration Cider, and other local brewers) as well as snacks from Lucille. The event is free to attend.
Please RSVP here if you’re planning to attend.
The fourth annual Forward Festival Startup Showcase is almost here! The Startup Showcase features an evening of startup pitches from 5 of Madison’s most compelling emerging companies, as well as update pitches from 20 companies that presented in prior years. The Startup Showcase is a high energy stage that celebrates and showcases what’s next (and what is going on now) in Madison’s startup ecosystem.
The Startup Showcase will kick off at 4 pm on Tuesday, August 23rd at the Monona Terrace, and is part of Pitch Night. Pitch Night includes the Startup Showcase (4pm), neXXpo (5pm), and Pressure Chamber (7pm) plus complimentary appetizers and beverages!
Our line up of new presenters for the 2016 Startup Showcase:
- The Rabble – The Rabble started with a simple idea: libraries deserve software that reflects their values. MUSICat is a fully open sourced platform designed by The Rabble with libraries to empower them to share local music and support creative communities.
- Export Abroad – Export Abroad is a global intelligence software and emerging markets advisory company. The core mission is to break down the barriers of international expansion and provide companies with the tools to be successful in any market.
- EnsoData – EnsoData is creating machine intelligent software to unlock the vast wealth of clinical expertise lying dormant in archived data. Their first product automates sleep data analysis for sleep clinics.
- Understory – Understory detects rain, hail, wind and other weather events directly at the earth’s surface, where the risk to life and property is greatest. The ground-truth-based detection is a marked enhancement in both resolution and fidelity, providing real time datasets and graphical views of the movement and intensity of weather events, which leads to better insight and early detection of risks.
- The BikeMobile – The BikeMobile is a fully stocked mobile bicycle repair van that provides on-site service to individuals at home, or in a group setting, in Madison, WI.
The Forward Festival Startup Showcase is presented by Capital Entrepreneurs and Accelerate Madison.
The seventh annual Forward Festival returns August 18-25, 2016. The Forward Festival is Madison’s flagship technology and entrepreneurship festival. Since starting in 2010, it now attracts over 3,000 attendees and includes 8 full days packed with 40+ 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:
Forward Technology Conference (August 23) – 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).
Pitch Night Featuring the Startup Showcase and Pressure Chamber (August 23) – 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 Open Social (August 25) – Wrap up the 2016 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.
There are a bunch of other great events encompassing tech, food, music, art (new!), and more packed into the Festival, check them out! Whether you’re already plugged into the Midwest tech scene, or you’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to sample what the area has to offer, the Forward Festival is about bringing the technology and startup communities together to learn, share, and have some fun.
Be sure to register now for the events. If you’re planning to attend multiple events, get a Forward Pass!
The 4th annual Forward Festival Startup Showcase returns this year and will again be bigger and better than ever! Startup Showcase joins the Pressure Chamber for a Pitch Night evening that will take place following the Forward Technology Conference on August 23, 2016. It is expected to bring hundreds of entrepreneurs, business, civic and education leaders together in celebration of all of the innovation happening in greater Madison.
Apply to pitch in the 2016 Startup Showcase or Pressure Chamber by July 8 here.
About Startup Showcase: The Forward Festival Startup Showcase features an evening of startup pitches from some of Madison’s most compelling emerging companies. Approximately five 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 and is open to early and later stage companies, venture and non-venture backed companies, as well as for-profit and non-profit companies. Checkout highlights from last year’s event here.
About 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. Pitch Night is part of the 2016 Forward Festival, which runs August 18-25, 2016.
Ionic recently announced an $8.5 million round of funding.
Since the company’s inception in 2011, over 2 million apps have been created using the Ionic framework. The current round of funding will be used to boost sales and continue building out commercial services that go along with the open-sourced SDK. You can read more about Ionic’s raise here.
Madison based startup, AkitaBox, recently announced a $1.1 million round in seed funding.
The young company, which was founded in 2015, has developed a software that is used for managing buildings. More specifically, building operators use AkitaBox as a tool for optimizing operations and automating workflow. Previously, building operators had to spend an excess amount of time on tasks like manual data entry and building management. AkitaBox provides a solution that will ultimately allow managers to identify and prevent problems before they occur and save them time and money in the process.
AkitaBox already sells their software to national brands, such as UW Health and Aramark. They plan to use this round of funding to boost sales growth and further develop their product. You can read more about AkitaBox on Xconomy here.
Startup Weekend returns to Madison April 22-24, 2016 for the fifth annual Startup Weekend Madison event!
Startup Weekend is a weekend long event where developers, designers, marketers, and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups. To get a better idea about the event, check out a brief video trailer here.
More info and to register: REGISTER NOW
Startup Weekend is a true risk-free environment and a great opportunity for both new and seasoned entrepreneurs to gain valuable entrepreneurial experiences and put their unique skill sets to use, meet great people, and have fun. People of all different backgrounds and with all different skills are encouraged to participate.
Organizing partners for the event include Capital Entrepreneurs, Sector67, The Doyenne Group, UW-Madison, Edgewood College, and Madworks Coworking. The event is hosted by University Research Park.
Join us for Madison’s 4th Annual Spring Tech Kickoff on Wednesday, April 6 from 5-7pm!
Please register here if you’re planning to attend. It’s free.
Technology business, entrepreneurship, and startups in Madison have another great year ahead. To celebrate that and get in high gear for an eventful summer – Capital Entrepreneurs, Forward Festival, and Horizon Coworking invite our community and its supporters to the 4th Annual Spring Tech Kickoff!
This year’s gathering is in the brand new Galaxie building on East Washington Ave.
Once again a lot has happened since last year’s spring event, and with new energy, new employers, and new support and funding resources for entrepreneurs we foresee even more coming this year.
Come celebrate achievements and we’ll share a little about what’s new in an open informal event. Anyone is welcome, this is a place where folks who want to connect and participate can easily plug in and help move our community forward.
A variety of beverages and delicious snacks will be on hand.
Presented by: Capital Entrepreneurs, Forward Festival, and Horizon Coworking.
Understory recently announced that they raised $7.5 million in a Series A round.
In addition, the company formerly known as Subsidence is moving its headquarters back to Madison, Wisconsin. Founded in 2012 and a graduate of the Gener8tor accelerator program, Understory is a tech startup that has developed a device that monitors information about the weather. Specifically, the solar powered technology is able to track humidity levels, temperature, rainfall, hail, and the speed and direction of the wind. Understory has gained a competitive advantage because their measurements are incredibly accurate, a product of collecting weather information from Earth’s surface as opposed to from the atmosphere.
The latest round of funding will allow Understory to build up to 250 new stations around the U.S. and hire additional employees to manage the growth. The company says it is moving its headquarters back to Madison for strategic reasons and also credits the move to the major growth in the Madison startup scene in recent years.
Understory has now raised $9.7 million to date. You can read more about Understory on Xconomy here.
The Madison Startup Fair is back and will be bigger and better than ever! The 2016 Madison Startup Fair features successful startups from the Madison area. The goal of the 4th annual event is to enable startups to connect with potential intern and full time employees, as well as raise the awareness of Madison startups on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. This year, we’ve partnered with the Engineering Career Services (ECS) Career Fair, and the Startup Fair will be co-located with the Spring ECS Career Fair on the UW campus.
When: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 from 11am-5pm
Where: Gordon Dining & Event Center
This event is FREE for UW students and alumni to attend. Anyone interested in technology and entrepreneurship can talk one-on-one in an informal environment with startup founders and employees about their experiences. Find out more about the burgeoning Madison startup scene and the opportunities startups have to offer, including ways you can get involved by starting your own company or through internships and full-time positions with existing startups. Check out coverage from last year’s event here.
Startups attending include PerBlue, Flux Mopeds, Matrix Solutions, Ionic, Field59, Dock Technologies, Updown Technologies, AkitaBox, AltusCampus, Hardin Design & Development, gener8tor, Equity For Business, Strategic Partners Marketing, WeightUp Solutions, Emonix, Propeller Health, Exis, OpenHomes, HealthMyne, MobileIgniter, Export Abroad, Safe Cycle, SmartUQ, and more!
The event is organized by Capital Entrepreneurs in cooperation with on campus partners including Engineering Career Services, UW Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, Advocacy Consortium for Entrepreneurs (ACE), UW Office of Corporate Relations, and University Research Park.
In 2015, Madison startups launched new products, expanded to new markets, and closed deals with major companies. Their products and services were used by millions of people around the world, and generated multi-million dollar revenue streams.
Madison startups continued to have an increasing impact on the local economy. In 2015 they created 215 full-time jobs, and now employ over 675 people full-time (and 165 part-time). Tech startups raised $66.5M in funding in 2015, with 15 companies raising $1M or more (an increase of 50% over the prior year). The largest of these deals include EatStreet ($15M), Healthfinch ($7.5M), Shoutlet ($5M), HealthMyne ($4.5M), Fetch Rewards ($4M), Catalyze ($4M), and Redox ($3.5M).
This is the third consecutive year that tech startups raised $40M or more, and this year saw an increasing number of local VC level activity from both established and new funds. This activity was complemented by a large percentage of imported capital that came from out-of-state investors. The connections formed by this imported capital help bridge the Madison startup scene with other startup hotbeds around the country, in particular San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. There were also a handful of acquisitions, including Shoutlet being acquired by SpredFast, and Quickstep Technologies being acquired by Pivotal.
Healthtech, foodtech, and gaming have shown potential as emerging industry segments. Following an increasing amount of attention last year, healthtech startups saw a lot of growth in 2015 and Madison has emerged as a leading healthtech hub. An increasing amount of foodtech startups are seeing success, and video game developers saw a lot of growth and are pushing towards critical mass.
Nearly 1,000 people attended Capital Entrepreneurs organized core events in 2015. Staple yearly events including the Madison Startup Fair, Spring Tech Kickoff, Startup Weekend, CE Open Social, and the Startup Showcase all returned and were bigger and better than ever.
The sixth annual Forward Festival was a resounding success, taking place in and around Madison on August 20-27. The 2015 Festival exceeded expectations with a record number of over 3,000 attendees. It was the most visible and wide-reaching Festival to date and featured 34 events that brought together a diverse set of organizations and people from across the city. We brought in new audiences with the Video Game Industry Meetup and Social Good Summit, and events drew notable national speakers as well as attendees from all over.
The StartingBlock Madison entrepreneurial hub continued to gain momentum and made progress towards becoming reality. The project received key city approvals, has surpassed 90% of its fundraising goal, and anticipates a 2016 groundbreaking. StartingBlock formed a number of partnerships with local collaborating partners, and is also forming new partnerships to link Madison’s entrepreneurship community to cities throughout the country.
One of the main goals of Capital Entrepreneurs is to be the “social fabric” that connects the Madison entrepreneurial community – both by welcoming new entrepreneurs, as well as keeping existing entrepreneurs and resources connected. We continued to expand this effort in 2015, including a curation of Madison Entrepreneurial Resources and by holding joint meetings with the Madison Area Chefs Network (MACN), the Doyenne Group, and 1 Million Cups.
To help showcase the variety of activity in the burgeoning Madison entrepreneurial ecosystem, some of the leading entrepreneurial organizations highlight their 2015 successes directly:
100state has been excited to play a major role in Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We have grown to more than 240 members making us the largest co-working space in the state. In 2015 we announced our new Executive Director Gregory St. Fort, we opened our membership to brick and mortar small businesses, our 100arts program was recognized on the Madison Magazine M-List, and our partnerships with Field59, Madison365, and the The CapTimes have helped us to showcase the success Madison can have when a diverse community builds together.
In 2015 Doyenne Group received our 501c(3) status and began actively fundraising for our $400,000 Doyenne Evergreen Fund to invest in women-led companies across Wisconsin. We were accepted into WEDC’s Capital Catalyst program for the Evergreen Fund to receive matching funds. Our end of year participant totals include: 90 members comprised of entrepreneurs and ambassadors/mentors, 400 attendees at Doyenne hosted events, 130 individual Office Hours appointments, as well as many new collaborative relationships with community partners as we move into 2016. As we move into 2016, we are looking for corporate donations to help us continue to reach our fundraising goal of $250,000.
In 2015, gener8tor was ranked the #14 accelerator in the United States by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project. To date, gener8tor has completed 7 cohorts and invested in 38 companies. Cumulatively, those companies have raised over $65M in follow-on financing. Madison-based gener8tor investments in 2015 include: GrocerKey, AltusCampus and AkitaBox. In 2015, gener8tor also launched gBETA – a free, six-week, pre-seed accelerator for startups with a connection to any Wisconsin college or university. 9 companies graduated from gBETA in 2015, including Madison-based 23Vivi, Cheddah, Emonix, EnsoData, Exis, and WeightUp Solutions. The program will run three times in 2016 with cohorts in the spring, summer and fall. For 2016, gener8tor looks forward to the construction of their new home, StartingBlock.
Madworks Accelerator celebrated its one year anniversary this past June. Finishing its fifth class in December, Madworks Accelerator has graduated 46 companies that have raised almost $4 million in financing and have created over 60 jobs. Madworks Coworking continued to grow in 2015, increasing our total membership from 29 to 42 people. One member company, RaceCapture, raised over $64,000 on Kickstarter and another member, gameFI, went live with clients on three continents for their employee engagement platform. Madworks is also planning on expanding to the new @1403 building on the University of Wisconsin campus in 2016.
The Madison startup community has come a long way in the last 6 years since Capital Entrepreneurs formed. What started out as a small group of people who saw a lot of potential in Madison to become a great place for startups has now emerged into a full-fledged vibrant and growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over these years there has been an increasing amount of entrepreneurial activity as new events, resources, and companies formed, and existing ones saw growth and success.
A strong foundation has been built that has the potential to produce even more successes. This community has created meaningful economic and cultural impact as it has become more established, and this last year in particular has highlighted the continued trend of this consistent (and growing) impact.
Though many great things are happening in the Madison startup world, it’s still relatively small and fragile. It’s up to each of us to play a continued role in helping strengthen the ecosystem and community. We have a huge opportunity in front of us, but it comes with a big responsibility in which everyone needs to play a part. By working together, we can continue to build even more successful companies and an even more vibrant, accessible, and inclusive startup ecosystem. We can make Madison a truly great place for startups and innovation. Cheers to 2016!
* Employment data is sourced from a voluntary self reporting survey of CE startup companies, with 57 companies reporting. Because of the voluntary nature, these employment numbers are likely conservative representations of the actual employment impact of all startups. Funding amounts listed are also based on the CE survey data, in combination with other public sources. For the sake of better representing a clear cohort, aggregate funding reported for “tech startups” here does not include biotech/lifescience companies.
The year of 2015 was an action-packed year for PerBlue. Our team was heads down working on some exciting things, culminating in the launch of our newest game DragonSoul. We also continued to build out our team and were joined by a number of great people.
We started the year with the addition of our new Chief Product Officer, Matt Ricchetti. We also added some very talented people to nearly every area of our team throughout the year, including developers, UI, marketing, and support. We were joined by people both from the Madison area as well as many that relocated from all across the country. Welcome!
These new teammates joined our amazing veteran team members to form the most well-rounded and talented team we’ve ever had (and we’re still looking for a few more people to join us!). We were also honored to be named one of the Best Places to Work by Madison Magazine, which is great recognition of our continual focus on making sure our employees can flourish.
The Madison startup community continued to grow, and we are always proud to play a leadership role in helping make it even more vibrant. We’re happy to be part of the startup community, and are looking forward to joining as an anchor tenant of the StartingBlock Madison entrepreneurial hub next year.
We’re also helping bring together the burgeoning Madison game developer community, and have partnered with other local game studios to launch the Madison Game Alliance. The goal is to unite the existing diverse Madison game development community of studios, indies, and educators to form a more cohesive “scene” and raise Madison’s profile as a game development hub.
On the product front, after months of research, production, development, and a successful Beta, we launched our latest game worldwide in September. DragonSoul is a wildly outrageous mobile role-playing game (RPG) where players take on dragons and monsters as they battle their way through an epic story campaign freeing heroes along the way.
DragonSoul received features from both Google and Apple, and has been the most successful product launch we’ve had as a company. We also ran our first ever national TV ad campaign with commercials airing on major TV stations across the country – keep an eye out for them!
We’re proud of the team and games we’ve built, and are excited for what the future holds for us. Cheers to 2016!