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 Startup Showcase Seeking Nominations

The 5th annual Forward Festival Startup Showcase returns this year and will again be bigger and better than ever! Startup Showcase will cap off the new Forward Summit day, which is packed with 6 different tracks of full-day conferences and events (including the headline Forward Tech Conference) on August 22, 2017. 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 2017 Startup Showcase by July 11 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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Looking for other pitch events to apply to or attend at the 2017 Forward Festival? Be sure to check out Pressure Chamber, Doyenne 5x5x5, Badger Startup Summit Pitch & rePlay, Challenge Cup: Madison, Dolphin Tank, Pitch Night X PechaKucha, and United Way’s Pitch to Ditch.

The Startup Showcase is presented by Capital Entrepreneurs. Startup Showcase is part of the 2017 Forward Festival, which runs August 17-24, 2017.

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 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.

Forward Fest Startup Showcase and Open Social Recap

ftf logo smallThe 2014 Forward Festival is a wrap! The 2014 Festival was the best yet, with 20 awesome events over 8 days that drew 2,500 attendees. After a few weeks to decompress and reflect, we were finally able to compile and put together a summary of the two headline Capital Entrepreneurs events: the Forward Festival Startup Showcase and the Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social.

Forward Festival Startup Showcase

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The second annual Startup Showcase had 10 exciting young companies present at the Majestic Theater in Madison on August 27. DJ Nick Nice kept the energy levels up at the event which drew 250 attendees to see 5 minute pitches from the class of new companies, as well as 1 minute update pitches from 10 of the companies that presented at last year’s Startup Showcase. Check out more pictures from the Startup Showcase here.

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Watch each new company’s five minute pitch here:

  • Deneb Outdoors: Producing high quality, functional, and sustainable outdoor apparel and equipment for both extreme adventurers as well as for the casual outdoors enthusiast
  • Dock Technologies: Developing simple visual reminders for healthcare providers
  • HealthMyne: Improving patient outcomes by allowing providers to efficiently search medical images using the search, analytics, and imaging (SAI) technology
  • 900dpi: A Hosted CMS, Built for Designers
  • ForkForce: A Social Network tailored to ease hiring for the food and beverage services industry
  • Clemetric: Providing data analytics technology to improve healthcare delivery, including intensive care units
  • BankMyBiz: Matching Lenders and Business Owners
  • DigSite: Online insight communities to let businesses gather in-depth insights in a confidential and secure way
  • Iristocracy: Combining the Virtual Look technology with the great local care you receive from your trusted eyewear experts
  • MobCraft: The World’s first totally crowdsourced brewery

Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social

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The Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social was held on August 28 and was a great way to wrap up the Festival. The Open Social was held on Boardman & Clark’s beautiful rooftop terrace and atrium on the Capitol Square. Over 100 people attended the event, and socialized to the beats of DJs Kayla Kush and Captain Smooth. Attendees enjoyed MobCraft’s signature Forward Festive-Ale, taps from other local brewers, and great snacks highlighting local producers prepared by Underground Food Collective and Wisconsin From Scratch. Check out more pictures from the Open Social here.

The Open Social rooftop party concluded the 2014 Forward Festival, and discussions are already underway on how to make the 2015 Festival even better. Special thanks goes out to all Forward Festival event organizers, as well as Yuri Zapuchlak, Noah Willman, and Steve Faulkner for helping capture these events in photos.

Join us for the Startup Showcase and Open Social

ftf logo smallThe 2014 Forward Festival is in full swing! Join us for these upcoming Capital Entrepreneurs events:

Forward Festival Startup Showcase on Wednesday, August 27 from 5-8pm – Join us at the Majestic Theatre as we 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.

Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social on Thursday, August 28 from 6-8pm – The Open Social takes place on a rooftop atrium on the Capitol Square, and will feature MobCraft’s 2014 Forward Festive-Ale, taps from other local brewers and other beverages, snacks from a variety of local producers and food entrepreneurs, as well as music. For more information and to RSVP (it’s free!), go here.

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.

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.

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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!

2013 FTF: Capital Entrepreneurs Events Recap

FTF-logoAfter 10 eventful days, the 2013 Forward Technology Festival has come to a close. We’re still recovering from the 22 different events, and this year saw the most excitement around the Festival and highest caliber of events yet. Though Capital Entrepreneurs and our members were heavily involved throughout the Festival, we hosted two keynote events: the Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social and the Madison Startup Showcase.

The Capital Entrepreneurs Open Social (and FTF kick off) was enjoyed by 125 people on a beautiful evening on the 4th floor terrace of the US Bank building overlooking the Capitol Square. We released the signature beer of the Festival – the Forward Festive-Ale, which was brewed by Capital Entrepreneurs member MobCraft, and enjoyed drinks, snacks, beats, and good company. Check out more pictures from the event here.

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The first ever Madison Startup Showcase was presented by Capital Entrepreneurs and Accelerate Madison. The event brought 200 entrepreneurs, business leaders, and civic leaders together at the Majestic Theatre where sixteen emerging companies were showcased, each taking the stage for 5 minutes. Presenting companies included PerBlue, Murfie, Drifty Co, EatStreet, Asthmapolis, HealthFinch, SnowShoe, MobileIgniter, Quintessence Bioscience, Networked Insights, C-Motive Technologies, OpenHomes, StudyBlue, Ronin Studios, Abodo, and Wellbe. You can view the full video livecast from the event courtesy of Sonic Foundry here.
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Be sure to check out some press for the Festival here and here. We look forward to another great Forward Technology Festival next year!

2013 FTF: Madison Startup Showcase

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.

Accelerate Madison and Capital Entrepreneurs present a lightning round of startup pitches from some of Madison’s most compelling emerging companies on the “big stage” at the Majestic Theatre. The Madison Startup Showcase, part of the Wisconsin Startup Night series, will take place Monday, August 19 with networking beginning at 5pm, and presentations starting at 6pm. Hear about the interesting and innovate things Madison startups are working on, with short 5 minute presentations by each company.

Presenting companies include: PerBlue, Murfie, Drifty Co, EatStreet, Asthmapolis, HealthFinch, SnowShoe, MobileIgniter, Quintessence Bioscience, Networked Insights, C-Motive Technologies, OpenHomes, StudyBlue, and Ronin Studios.

Registration is FREE through August 14, and $10 after that. Register to attend here.