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StartingBlock, an entrepreneurial hub slated to open next year on Madison’s near east side, has already secured a healthy number of startup business tenants, according to StartingBlock executive director Scott Resnick.

“At this point, I believe we will be at about 80 percent capacity from day one,” Resnick said at last Wednesday’s 1 Million Cups meeting at Madison’s Central Library.

Mobile gaming company PerBlue and apartment searching site Abodo have signed on to be “anchor tenants,” Resnick said.

The primary tenants in the space, announced months ago, will be makerspace Sector67, which will occupy 9,000 of the 50,000 square feet of space, industry group Capital Entrepreneurs and startup incubator gener8tor.

Beekeeper, GrocerKey, WeightUp Solutions and MobileIgniter are among those slated to fill smaller tenant spaces, Resnick announced last Wednesday.

Resnick said StartingBlock hasn’t fully determined its office layout and capacity, but he expects that 50-75 businesses will filter through the space in its first few years of operation. Office rentals will be offered on a sliding scale, with many options far below the standard market rate.

StartingBlock will have the capacity to house companies with up to about 30 employees, he said, and will aim to launch companies from the space within three years.

“What we want to do is watch these companies grow, then we want to boot them out of the nest so the next companies can come on in and fill that space,” he said. “We do believe that this will be a catalyst, not only for Madison, but for the region.”

Resnick cited Ward4, a Milwaukee startup hub, as a model for StartingBlock to pursue.

In addition to offering workspace for budding businesses, StartingBlock intends to provide substantial support and mentorship for entrepreneurs.

Resnick also responded to questions about potential competition between StartingBlock and other Madison startup incubators like 100state.

He pointed to the number of startup hubs in Chicago — more than 80 — as proof that numerous incubators can peacefully and productively coexist.

Madison currently has only a handful of startup hubs and incubators, including 100state, Horizon Coworking, Madworks Coworking and MATRIX Collaborative Business Solutions.

Resnick also said StartingBlock will launch a crowdfunding campaign later this month to bolster its current fundraising efforts. The startup hub is working toward fulfilling a $1.5 million fundraising goal.

So far, StartingBlock has received large donations from the MG&E Foundation ($150,000) and the Evjue Foundation ($50,000). The organization has also received financial support from the City of Madison and American Family Insurance.

Construction is expected to begin on the building that will house StartingBlock in November or December, with a tentative completion date in winter 2016. 


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