Student Spill Selected for TechStars Boston

Heidi Allstop of Spill will be moving to Boston this summer after being selected for TechStars.  Techstars is one of the top two seed accelerators in the United States and just closed it’s newest class.  Heidi will be joining 10 other startups that made the cut.  Techstars startups have an incredibly high track record of success compared to startups that don’t go through an accelerator, so it’s a huge honor for Heidi to be picked.  From the link:

Spill [creates] an anonymous, peer-to-peer support system for college students. Ten schools are already using it. The founders suggest that students will more readily talk about difficult issues — whether drug use or loneliness — if they don’t have to go to a counseling center in person. Team is from Madison, Wisconsin, and plans to sell the service to universities as a way to better understand the mental health and environmental stresses students are dealing with.

While we’re sad to sere Heidi leaving Madison for Boston, we’re all excited for her to represent Madison in Techstars!  Congrats and good luck in Boston!

Capital Entrepreneurs Featured in Madison Magazine

Capital Entrepreneurs was featured in an article in Madison Magazine on expanding the number of urban high-tech business downtown and in the Capitol East District. CE members Nate Lustig of Entrustet and Heidi Allstop of Student SPILL were also featured in the article. From the article:

“A lot of the people in high-tech and creative industries really want urban settings,” says Cieslewicz. “With the Capitol East District we can offer them what they want, so they’ll develop all their amazing entrepreneurial ideas here rather than in Palo Alto or Ann Arbor or Boston.”

And what they want, according to Cieslewicz and others working hard to bring Capitol East to life, is to be where it’s all happening, both at work and at play.

“All of the startups I’ve been talking to want to be located downtown, within walking distance of other startups,” says Nate Lustig. “It’s really important to us to have that cluster of high-tech new businesses sharing ideas, people and all kinds of resources.”

Defrag Conference – Day 1 Recap

Defrag Conference 2010 is taking place this week in Denver, CO and Capital Entrepreneurs is attending.  The Kaufmann Foundation sponsored 25 young entrepreneurs to come to the conference and four Capital Entrepreneurs members were lucky recipients: Steve Faulkner of Real Time Txts, Dan Gordon and Mike Fenchel of Momenta Technologies, and Heidi Allstop of Student SPILL.

Here are some highlights of day 1:

  • Alex Wright, Director of UX for the New York Times, gave a fantastic opening talk about the history of social networks.  Take away message: Social networks have been around forever, the medium has just changed, not the behavior or the motivation.
  • Blekko is here demoing their new search engine.  All of us were skeptical, but after the CEO gave us a personal demo we were singing a different tune.  If the use of slashtags really takes off, Blekko could be a much better way to search the web.  Google is getting gamed by content farms and spammers and there has to be a solution.  Blekko may be it.
  • Vivek Wadhwa literally ranted and raved for 45 minutes on the sad state of innovation in the US and most other countries.  The talk was very polarizing and there were mixed reactions from the crowd.  He did applaud the Startup Chile program which Capital Entrepreneurs members Nate Lustig and Jesse Davis of Entrustet just started this week!
  • Jeff Ma, the inspiration for the movie “21”, gave the final keynote.  Great talk, great story.  Black jack is completely data driven so the information was very appropriate.  Also, he did not get beat up like in the movie… or so he claims.

Overall, the conference has been awesome so far.  We have all met some amazing people and are thrilled that Kaufmann allowed us to attend.  We will be posting tomorrow to recap Day 2.

Student Spill Featured in New York Times and ReadWriteWeb

Capital Entrepreneurs member Student Spill was featured in an article on ReadWriteWeb which was picked up by the New York Times.  Student Spill is a service used by universities to aid students in dealing with personal problems.  Students can anonymously submit descriptions of their personal problems and receive responses within 24 hours from trained student supporters.  Student Spill has now expanded to 10 campuses across the country.  From the article:

“Fifteen to twenty percent of students feel comfortable enough with a counselor to seek out that kind of help,” Allstop says. “Schools are getting all their data from that small group. 82% of Spill’s users indicated embarrassment or fear as the number one factor that had prevented them from utilizing campus counseling facilities in the past.” Allstop argues that her service is a non-threatening way to gather more representative data about actual student concerns, while also providing direct support to students in distress.

Nevermind the Valley: Here’s Madison feature on Read Write Web

Audrey Watters of Read Write Web is doing a series about entrepreneurship outside Silicon Valley and Madison was the most recent featured city.  The article called Nevermind the Valley: Here’s Madison talks about Capital Entrepreneurs, Merlin Mentors, The University of Wisconsin and a bunch of CE member companies including Entrustet, Student Spill and Networked Insights.

Along with Steve Faulkner’s post on TechCrunch last month, Madison is really starting to get on the map as a startup hub in the midwest.  From the link:

Since early 2009, Capital Entrepreneurs has held a monthly meet-up for entrepreneurs. With over 60 member companies, the group has helped bring the Madison entrepreneur community together. The group also has its own Capital Entrepreneurs Angel List, based off of a similar program out of Venture Hacks.

Based off a successful program at MIT, Merlin Mentors pairs new startups with successful business people in the community, who act as mentors and as an informal board of advisors. Merlin (short for Madison Entrepreneur Resource, Learning and Innovation Network) Mentors was developed with the support of various programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Student Spill Featured on Discovering Startups

Capital Entrepreneurs member company Student Spill was featured on Discovering Startups.  From the link:

Why could Student Spill LLC be BIG?

The need for mental health support services is apparent, and SPILL provides a tool that is greatly accepted and appreciated by both students and university personnel.

In addition, most schools have large sums of money reserved for “preventative programming” or “direct student services” used to purchase things like alcohol awareness programs or sexual assault intervention programs for anywhere from $50,000-80,000 annually. Unlike these, however, SPILL is not restricted to one specific issue, and gives students an outlet for all types of stressors. UW-Madison granted SPILL with $70,000 for 2010 after seeing the impact the program made within one year, and the company has been approached by over 25 interested schools over the last year. The program originated at UW-Madison and has since begun operations at 4 other colleges in the US. An additional 7 other campuses–schools such as Berkeley and Purdue–will be set up over the summer of 2010.

Burrill Winners: Congrats to Sector67 and Student Spill

Capital Entrepreneurs members Sector67 and Student Spill took home awards in the 2010 Burrill Business Plan Competition held at UW yesterday.  Chris Meyer of Sector67 took home 2nd place and won $7,000 while Heidi Allstop of Student Spill took home $1,000 and free office space in the Metro Innovation Center worth over $15,000.  You can watch the presentations on the Burrill websites.

For a more in depth review of the 2010 Burrill, check out a post by CE member Nathan Lustig.

Congrats to Chris and Heidi and all of the other 2010 participants!

Capital Entrepreneurs Welcomes New Members Posipair, Student Spill and Flatt Cola

We’d like to welcome our newest members, Posipair, StudentSpill and Flatt Cola, brining our member companies to 40.  Here’s a short description of our newest members:

Student Spill – Heidi Allstop – SPILL, or Supporting Peers in Laid-back Listening, is a peer-based online support networkby and for UW students that provides a confidential, student-based “venting outlet” where they can write in about issues they want to get off of their chests.  We connect them with other students who have dealt with that specific issue, providing the “spiller” withsupport, feedback, and resources for dealing with that specific issue.

PosipairSarah Manski – At PosiPair we’re building the internet architecture of the new green economy: An online retail and networking platform serving green businesses, consumers, and nonprofits in the rapidly expanding green products and services market.

Flatt ColaDave Kruse & Paul Pucci – Flatt Cola is an Energy Cola company based in Madison, WI made with all natural sugar, vitamin C, and extra caffeine.  A beverage with a sarcastic brand image, Flatt Cola’s tagline is Everyday World Domination.  Flatt can be found at Metcalfe’s Sentry in Hilldale, Woodman’s East and West, Steve’s Liquor on University, and the Old Fashioned, with new locations being added daily.  Try it out, its pretty tasty.