2019 Startup Showcase Seeking Nominations

The Forward Festival Startup Showcase returns again this year for the 7th annual event! Startup Showcase will cap off the headline Forward Tech Conference on August 26, 2019. 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.

Want to pitch at the 2019 Startup Showcase? Apply by July 21 here.

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 prior years’ events here.

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The Startup Showcase is presented by Capital Entrepreneurs. Startup Showcase is part of the 2019 Forward Festival, which runs August 22-29, 2019.

2018 Forward Festival is August 16-23


The 9th annual Forward Festival is August 16-23, 2018. Forward Fest is Wisconsin’s largest technology and entrepreneurship festival and includes 40+ events by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. The 2018 Festival event line up and website are here.

Looking to attend multiple events? The Forward Pass is the fastest, easiest, and the most cost-effective way to take advantage of all the Forward Fest has to offer. This one pass gets you into nearly all the 2018 Forward Festival events. Get your Forward Pass here.

Be sure to consider attending the headline Forward Tech Conference and Forward Festival Startup Showcase on August 21, as well as our Capital Entrepreneurs Rooftop Social (and Forward Fest wrap party) on August 23.


What is the Forward Festival?
It’s Madison’s flagship technology and entrepreneurship festival. Since starting in 2010, it now attracts thousands of attendees and includes 8 full days packed with 40+ events. All events are organized by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs and encompass technology, food, music, social good, art, and more. Join fellow entrepreneurs, nerds, geeks, hackers, foodies, and creatives from the Midwest in an 8-day celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Whether you’re already plugged into the Madison startup community, or you’ve been waiting for the right opportunity to sample what the area has to offer, the Forward Festival is about bringing the startup community together to learn, share, and have some fun.

2018 Startup Showcase Seeking Nominations

The 6th annual Forward Festival Startup Showcase returns this year and will again be bigger and better than ever! Startup Showcase will cap off the headline Forward Tech Conference on August 21, 2018. 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 2018 Startup Showcase by July 15 here.

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 prior years’ events here.

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The Startup Showcase is presented by Capital Entrepreneurs. Startup Showcase is part of the 2018 Forward Festival, which runs August 16-23, 2018.

2017 Forward Festival Kicks Off This Week! (Aug 17-24)


The 8th annual Forward Festival is August 17-24, 2017. Forward Fest is Wisconsin’s largest technology and entrepreneurship festival and includes 40+ events by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. See the 50+ events that are part of the 2017 line up here.

What is the Forward Festival? It’s Madison’s flagship technology and entrepreneurship festival. Check out this Introduction to the Forward Festival for an overview. Since starting in 2010, it now attracts thousands of attendees and includes 8 full days packed with 40+ events. All events are organized by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs and encompass technology, food, music, social good, art, and more. Be sure to consider attending these events in particular:

Forward Tech Conference – August 22 – The headline tech conference of the Forward Festival, the Forward Technology Conference (FTC) is geared toward startup founders, tech geeks, and those wanting to build successful technology companies. Whether you’re thinking about launching a startup business or you’re an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll find this conference relevant and insightful. You’ll get real perspective from tech startup leaders who are actually in the trenches building successful companies. You’ll hear everything from best practices to war stories, and you’ll walk away with real concrete learnings and actionables – not high level generalizations about broad topics.

This year’s conference will feature a Keynote Fireside chat from the founders of Firebase and Ionic, as well as discussions with leaders from Redox, Zapier, healthfinch, Zendesk, EatStreet, PerBlue, and many other seasoned serial entrepreneurs!

REGISTER: A few tickets are still available, get yours ASAP here


Forward Festival Startup Showcase – August 22 – The Forward Festival Startup Showcase is a high energy stage that celebrates and showcases what’s next in Madison’s startup ecosystem. It features an evening of startup pitches from some of Madison’s most compelling emerging companies. A select group of 5 rising startups will give a 5-minute “demo day” style pitch showcasing their company. In addition, over 15 Startup Showcase alumni from past years will take part in a lightning round of 1-minute update pitches highlighting their recent successes. A reception on the Memorial Union Terrace will follow.

REGISTER: Included with Forward Tech Conference registration, or you can get a stand-alone ticket here


Capital Entrepreneurs Rooftop Open Social (and Forward Fest Wrap Party) – August 24 – Join Capital Entrepreneurs as we wrap up the 2017 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 Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social. Enjoy great networking and Capitol views from Boardman & Clark’s beautiful rooftop terrace, as well as a variety of taps from local brewers and snacks from local producers.

REGISTER: RSVP here (free)

2017 Forward Festival is August 17-24


The 8th annual Forward Festival is August 17-24, 2017. Forward Fest is Wisconsin’s largest technology and entrepreneurship festival and includes 40+ events by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. The 2017 Festival event line up and website are live here.

New Forward Pass pricing this year! Thanks to our generous Festival Sponsors, tickets are more affordable than ever for entrepreneurs (current or aspiring). Forward Passes start at just $49 for entrepreneurs (current or aspiring), startup staff, and students, and include access to over 30 events, swag, and a personalized badge. That early bird price is available until July 21. Get your Forward Pass today!


What is the Forward Festival?
It’s Madison’s flagship technology and entrepreneurship festival. Since starting in 2010, it now attracts thousands of attendees and includes 8 full days packed with 40+ events. All events are organized by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs and encompass technology, food, music, social good, art, and more.

The goal of the Festival is to connect entrepreneurs to other entrepreneurs and to support organizations, as well as promote meaningful learning between entrepreneurs. This is done through a series of grassroots events that are independently organized by multiple organizations all of which take place under the Forward Fest umbrella.

2016 Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social

ce-open-social-promoThe 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.

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2016 Forward Festival Startup Showcase

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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!

Pitch Night is included with Forward Technology Conference registrations and the Forward Pass. You can also purchase Pitch Night only tickets for $30 here.

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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.

2016 Forward Festival Returns August 18-25!

2016-forward-fest-headerThe 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:

ftc-logoForward 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).

ff-pc-logosPitch 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_Logo_VertCapital 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!

2016 Startup Showcase and Pressure Chamber Seeking Nominations

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.

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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. 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.

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. Pitch Night is part of the 2016 Forward Festival, which runs August 18-25, 2016.

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!

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.