A year of #startuplife: Madison’s biggest startup stories of 2015

CapTimespanel_webBy Laurel White, The Capital Times

A large crowd attended a Cap Times panel discussion about startups at downtown co-working space 100state in December.
Despite a bleak picture for startup culture statewide in Wisconsin, Madison’s community is heating up.

2015 was a big year for the local startup scene, from the developments related to StartingBlock, the startup hub coming to E. Washington Ave. in 2016, to big money financing deals for budding, Madison-born businesses.

Here’s a quick look at some of the biggest startup stories of the year:

Wisconsin drops to last in national rankings for startup activity

In June, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a national non-profit that focuses on education and entrepreneurship, released a report ranking Wisconsin dead last in the country for startup activity. Wisconsin dropped to 50th in 2015 from 45th in 2014.

Scott Resnick named executive director of StartingBlock

In June, Scott Resnick, former Madison alder and mayoral candidate, was named executive director of as-yet-unopened startup hub StartingBlock.

“There are obviously challenges in Wisconsin for creating startups in general,” Resnick told the Cap Times after the announcement. “There is a culture we’re going to be up against, but it’s an exciting opportunity to have that conversation about where we’re going in the 21st century.”

The debut of gBETA

The Wisconsin-centric startup accelerator graduated its first class of startups in August. gBETA is a spin-off of gener8tor, a Madison and Milwaukee-based startup accelerator. gener8tor has been ranked by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, a national startup-ranking organization helmed by academics, as one of the country’s best accelerators. Read more …

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