Home Never Mind the Valley: Here’s Madison

Never Mind the Valley: Here’s Madison

Madison, Wisconsin has always been known as a progressive town – in part because it’s home to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But over the last few years, the city has gained a reputation as an emerging technology startup hub in the Midwest.

Earlier this year, Forbes Magazine named Madison the 7th most innovative city in the U.S., ranking it ahead of the noted startup hotspot of Boston.

Like many cities that foster thriving startup communities, Madison benefits from strong university and government support (the latter in the form of a 25% tax credit for angel investors and a 2% forgivable loan for startups), as well as a number of entrepreneur-friendly events organizations.

Local Programs to Develop Entrepreneurship

RWW’s Never Mind the Valley series:

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.

In the Fall of 2009, the university received a Kaufman grant to foster entrepreneurship on campus. And between the Burrill Business Plan competition, the Entrepreneurial Residential Learning Community – a dormitory that is geared towards those interested in entrepreneurship, and a Student Business Incubator, there are a number of programs on campus that help develop the startup community.

This summer was the first year for the Forward Tech Festival/Conference which hopes to become a mini SXSW for the Midwest region.

Notable startups from Madison include the social media and gaming company PerBlue, social media listening tool Networked Insights, student peer-to-peer support site Student Spill, and Entrustet, which allows people to delegate what will happen to their digital assets when they pass away (and whose co-founder Nate Lustig I’d like to thank for spurring me to write about Madison and for providing much of the research for this article).

Photo credits: Flickr users Holly Ramsey and John Benson

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.