New business accelerator, Madworks, takes off

2014-06-11T17:30:00Z New business accelerator, Madworks, takes offJUDY NEWMAN jdnewman@madison.com, 608-252-6156 madison.com

Eleven young companies will get a heap of business advice this summer as participants in a new, 10-week business accelerator program in Madison.

Madworks at Campus, which will launch next week, was developed by the UW-Madison Law School’s Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, with help from University Research Park and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

Anne Smith and Eric Englund started the law clinic in 2009 to offer legal services to start-ups. “And it became obvious to us that they needed more,” Smith said. So, with Madison serial entrepreneur Terry Sivesind, Smith and Englund set up Madworks.

Smith said the accelerator took a cue from D2P, the UW’s Discovery to Product program aimed at moving lab discoveries toward commercialization. “We feel we’re the next step,” she said.

Madworks sought applicants for two weeks, and nearly 70 teams applied, mostly from the Madison area .

“We were extremely excited by the variety and quality of applicants we got. It blew us away,” Smith said.

The teams chosen for the program were:

900dpi: Website management programming

BlueTips: Ice fishing hardware

CleMetric: Advanced data analytics for health care

ConfPlus: Mobile apps for use with events

Deneb Outdoors: Sustainable outdoor equipment

ivMD: Medical decision-making software for organ donors

SELA Medical: New type of anesthesia applicator

Smart UQ: Analytics to accelerate simulations for industries

VexDel: Data analytics software for customer analysis

ZeroNine: Patent search tool for lawyers

Zuntik: Online calendar distribution tool

Madworks will be based at the MGE Innovation Center at University Research Park, 505 S. Rosa Road. Each company will get up to $10,000 in investments — called seed funding — thanks to a $90,000 grant from WEDC and other potential sources, Smith said.

She said the program will host speakers and mentors chosen specifically for the needs of the 11 companies.

“After 10 weeks, what we hope will happen is that they’ll be polished up and ready to go on a fundraising round or to start selling their product,” Smith said.

In addition to Madworks, other business accelerator programs in town include gener8tor, which began holding 12-week, intensive sessions in Madison and Milwaukee in 2012.

Troy Vosseller, gener8tor co-founder, said he is “very supportive” of Madworks.

“Madworks fills the start-up training gap between university programming and programs like gener8tor,” Vosseller said. “I see Madworks as a trusted partner where start-ups can develop and validate their business models in an immersive environment.”

Unlike gener8tor, Madworks is not taking equity in the program’s participating companies — at least, not now, Smith said.

If that changes in the future, any profits would be pumped back into Madworks, she said.

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