Start Me Up

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive in Madison, but is it enough to propel the region to tech hub status?

As Madison fights for a spot among the best cities for tech, a few barriers that could keep us from clinching national recognition stand out. Retaining UW talent and recruiting from other top universities routinely trouble the biz scene, but at a March gathering at Monona Terrace dubbed Wisconsin Startup Night, hundreds of community members interested in the local start-up scene listened to speakers state the same message: having the talent isn’t enough; you need funding, collaboration and mentors to really have a shot at a successful new business venture. For a tech company to start in Madison and stay in Madison, we need an ecosystem of support, and that’s where these guys come in—the people and places that champion start-ups in the Madison community. 

Accelerate Madison

Grab your nametag. Smile. Shake hands. Repeat. 

Through hosting educational and networking events, like March’s Wisconsin Startup Night, Accelerate Madison aims to connect players from the technology and business sectors and leaders from academia and government to everyone’s mutual advantage.

Capital Entrepreneurs

Out of our 200+ members, one has probably already made the mistake you’re about to.

Capital Entrepreneurs unites other support groups and founders of area start-ups from all different industries, from tech to retail to nonprofits. The diversity of members is its greatest resource.

The Doyenne Group

Girls Rule! But guys don’t always get that. 

Founders Heather Wentler and Amy Gannon created the Doyenne Group, a women-only support group, so that females interested in the tech industry no longer had to feel like the only woman in the room at meet-ups, conferences and networking events.


Pedal to the metal.

Gener8tor is an accelerator committed to turning good business ideas into great business models, with an emphasis on tech companies. During a twelve-week program, they provide office space, capital and a support crew of mentors and fellow entrepreneurs.


Pool our resources and bump tech to the next level.

With board members like Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce president Zach Brandon and CEOs from Bendyworks and Murfie, Madisonium seeks to unite the tech sector and attract new businesses. To do: establish a Web District downtown and create a guide to the Madison tech scene.


Geeks unite!

Sector67 is a community workspace that, through shared tools and resources, encourages entrepreneurs, hobbyists, thinkers, tinkerers, artists and students to create together. Local start-up companies like Fractal and wuntusk run their businesses right out of it.

Wisconsin Technology Council

Tackle business development from all sides.

Advising state-level lawmakers on the issues of technology and entrepreneurship, the Wisconsin Technology Council seeks to make the state a better place to start a successful business. WTC has its toes in many an economic and development pool, from the Wisconsin Angel Network to the Governor’s Business Plan Contest to the Wisconsin Innovation Network.

Grace Edquist is associate/web editor of Madison Magazine

This article has been revised to reflect the following update:

Update: March 26, 2013
An earlier version of this article listed former mayor Dave Cieslewicz as a board member of Madisonium. He no longer serves on the board. Zach Brandon, president of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, was recently elected to the board. The article has been updated to reflect these changes. 

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