2013 FTF: Forward Technology Conference

FTF-logoThe 2013 Forward Technology Festival runs from August 15-24, and encompasses 10 days of tech and entrepreneurship focused events throughout Madison. For a full event list and more information, go here.

ftc-logoThe 2013 Forward Technology Conference takes place Wednesday, August 21 and represents the summer’s best opportunity to spend a day networking with some of the area’s top entrepreneurs and hearing from experts on a wide range of topics relevant to your technology business. Whether you’re thinking about launching a startup business or you’re an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll find this conference relevant and insightful.

Exact Sciences CEO Kevin Conroy will give a keynote, and there will be panels and sessions on co-founders, bootstrapping, funding, startup resources, customer acquisition, and more. Eric Reis will also be giving a remote bonus session.

For more information and to register to attend, go here.

Forward Technology Festival Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social

The Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social will be this Wednesday August 24th from 7-9pm at Brocach.  Our open social is part of the Forward Technology Festival, a 10 day series of events highlighting technology and entrepreneurship in Madison.  The event is free and is one of the best ways to meet and network with some of Madison’s entrepreneurs.  If you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve wanted to join, but haven’t made it our or someone in the community interested in entrepreneurship, come out to the CE open social for some beers, snacks and networking.

Registration is required, just send us an email with your name and what you do to let us know you’re coming so we can make sure we have enough space for everyone.

2nd Annual Forward Technology Conference is August 26th

Note: This post originally appeared on Nathan Lustig’s Staying out of the Cubicle and is being reposted here.

I’m excited to be working with Matt Younkle and Bryan Chan again this year to help put on Forward Technology Festival for the second year in a row.  Last year was a huge success, and I’m really excited for this years version, which runs from August 18th-27th.  The Forward Technology Festival is a ten day long series of events that showcases Madison’s entrepreneurship and creative community.  It starts with the 10th anniversary of High Tech Happy Hour and includes Madison Ruby Conference, Barcamp, a Capital Entrepreneurs meeting, an open networking event at Sector67, business pitches from Spreenkler Talent Labs seed accelerator participants and is headlined by the 2nd annual Forward Technology Conference (register here).

I’m most excited for the Forward Technology Conference, which is slated for August 26th at the Memorial Union.  Last year’s inaugural conference had more than 125 attendees and Fred Foster’s keynote was the highlight of the festival and I can’t wait for the 2011 version.  We’ll kick off the day with breakfast at 9am, followed by Madison Failcon, a session dedicated to lessons that founders learned when their businesses did not actually succeed.  I love this session, especially since I see the fear of failure as one of the biggest obstacles to Madison’s success as an entrepreneurial center.

Next, three successful Madison entrepreneurs will share their experiences starting and running a startup in Madison.  Justin Beck will talk about how he started and grew PerBlue and the lessons he learned doing it.  Greg Tracy of Asthmapolis will share his story as well.  I love hearing founders tell their stories, so it should be a great session.  After a lunch break, five up and coming Madison startups will share what they’ve been up to and ask the community for feedback and ideas on how to improve their business.  Last year’s pitch your biz participant Heidi Allstop of Student Spill ended up in Techstars and has since been featured in hundreds of publications, so this is your chance to hear about up and coming businesses before they make it big.

In the afternoon, Silicon Valley expert Brant Cooper will talk about customer development and the lean startup method and how startups can use it get started more quickly, while spending less money.  The customer development method is one of the hottest topics in the startup world right now and Madison hasn’t seen any of the top experts until now, so Cooper’s session is a can’t miss.

Laurie Benson will give our FTC 2011 keynote address, during which she’ll tell her story about how she started technology services business Inacom and grew it to one of the largest companies in her industry, leading to its acquisition.  Laurie has been extremely active in mentoring young founders and served on my MERLIN Mentor team with Entrustet (she’s awesome!).  She’s got a great story and I can’t wait to hear here tell it at the conference.  After the keynote, we’ll have a reception above the Union Terrace with snacks and drinks.

I’m really looking forward to the entire week of events and it’s been great to see Madison’s tech community come together to make the Festival a success.  If you’d like more information on any of the events, visit the Forward Technology Festival website or the Forward Technology Conference registration page.  While most of the events are free, the conference costs $50, but we have 50% off discounted tickets available until August 1st. These events really showcase Madison as an up and coming technology and innovation center in the Midwest and I’m excited to be a part of it.

Forward Technology Festival Starts Today!

The 9th anniversary edition of High Tech Happy Hour has kicked off Madison’s first Forward Technology Festival, a series of events over the next eleven days designed to encourage interaction and collaboration across the area’s technology, business and creative communities. Other Festival events include the Capital Entrepreneur’s open social, the Forward Technology Conference, Madison BarCamp, and a Sector67 workshop. Supporting organizations include Accelerate Madison, Design Madison, Madison MAGNET and MERLIN Mentors.

“Think of the Forward Technology Festival as a ‘Taste of Madison’ for technology and business networking organizations,” said Matt Younkle, a Festival co-organizer. “Madison already has many networking groups which is a great thing. FTF aims to strengthen the start-up, tech and creative communities by providing an opportunity for members from all of these organizations to interact with one another at a variety of events in fun settings.”

The one-day Forward Technology Conference on August 27 is unique in that it has been designed by entrepreneurs for the benefit of other entrepreneurs. The conference includes sessions like Startups 101, a panel of business founders with businesses at various stages of development and capitalization, All About LLCs, where an experienced attorney and CPA are paired to discuss the a common structure for new startups, and Pitch Your Biz, a rapid-fire feedback forum for early stage entrepreneurs. The keynote speaker is Fred Foster, the founder and CEO of Electronic Theatre Controls.

The main networking event for the Festival is the evening reception that takes place Friday, August 27 at 6 pm at Memorial Union. Neider & Boucher, a Madison-based law firm and long-time supporter of the local entrepreneurial community is the presenting sponsor for the Festival.

The Festival organizers, all local entrepreneurs, hope to see the combination of educational and networking events strengthen Madison’s creative culture.

“We’re trying to build, in a very grass-roots way, the foundation for a major annual event that could become the Midwest equivalent of South by Southwest,” said Nathan Lustig, one of the Festival co-organizers, referring to the popular series of festivals and conferences that take place each year in Austin, Texas.

“The Madison area is the epicenter of the Midwest creative community,” added Bryan Chan, another co-organizer. “It really makes sense to launch something like this here.”

More information about the Forward Technology Festival, including links to register to take part in the various events, can be found at www.ftf2010.com.

Announcing Forward Technology Conference

Forward Technology Conference is coming on August 27th, 2010 at the Memorial Union.  FTC 2010 is

[T]he summer’s best opportunity to spend a day networking with some of the area’s top entrepreneurs and hearing from experts on a wide range of topics relevant to your technology business. Whether you’re thinking about launching a startup business or you’re an experienced entrepreneur, you’ll find this conference relevant and insightful.

The conference will have interesting sessions including:

Startup 101 – A panel of experienced entrepreneurs will go through the steps to starting a startup and tell stories from the trenches.

All About LLCs – A panel with an attorney, accountant and entrepreneur designed to answer all of your questions about business formation

Pitch your Biz – Presenters have 5 minutes to pitch their biz and then the audience will have 10 minutes to provide feedback

If you’re interested in attending, check out the Forward Technology Conference website and then sign up!  It’s going to be a great way for you to learn while meeting new people and enjoying the beautiful setting that is the Memorial Union.