July 25, 2010
Madison Wisconsin: Land of Cows, Cheese, Beer, Fairs & Whoaah Start-UpsThere's a cool post over on TechCrunch about the growth of technology start-ups in Madison Wisconsin, soon to be the Silicon Valley of the Midwest? Madison-based GeoHuddle Steve Faulkner wrote a guest post sharing the latest and greatest from some of the start-ups in the area, including his own, which is a start-up that develops community geothermal heating and cooling systems.
When I visited Madison (only once in my life), I was taken to a county fair and given a ton of cheese, although I couldn't find a nice glass of wine anywhere to go with that fabulous mid-west cheese. Beer baby beer, along with cows, farms and sports. Now, entrepreneurs are emerging, and start-ups are launching. I learn from their overview that "Madison was recently ranked as the 7th most innovative city in the country by Forbes magazine – just above perennial powerhouse Boston, MA."
As for technology specifically, below is a summary of the companies Faulkner lists that are worth knowing about:
Entrustet: It's about security baby.....get it from the fact they have 'trust' baked into its name? With Entrustet, you can store your digital assets -- online accounts and files on your PC -- and either have them transferred or deleted when you pass away. Kind of cool - they pitch it as Will for your digital life. Sounds really useful.
Virent: The Virent team is commercializing a proprietary sugar to hydrocarbon conversion process developed at the University of Wisconsin. This means they can take biomass and directly convert it to gasoline, which has attracted a lot of interest from the oil industry. Most recently, they received a $46 million dollar investment from Shell.
PerBlue: Ahhhh, blue. I tried hard to get 'blue' into a company name once. Perblue is all about social gaming in a mobile world, mostly known for their game Parallel Kingdom, which currently has over 150,000 players worldwide and was the first location based RPG for the iOS and Android platforms. What's very cool is that PerBlue was founded by University of Wisconsin students with their own limited cash, and continues to grow organically without traditional funding.
Alice: This service allows you to purchase home essentials directly from the manufacturer and have them shipped, for free, to your door. Based on your user profile, it will also remind you when it is time to restock on common items. (egads, now a service that knows how wquickly I use things but hopefully not how as well. Useful for busy people who want things automated but at some point, it will all hit us how much personal information we're giving away to vendors - this isn't about Alice, it's about the growing trend that all services are creeping into our personal data and lives).
Metworked Insights: They do social media analytics, largely for big brands such as Kraft, Omnicom, PG&G and others in its league. Their tool listens to conversations, analyzes them and then gives you data based on that analysis, narrowing down what is most useful for the brand.
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I love Madison, I spent some time there as a kid and made it back a few times as an adult. It really is a progressive town with some amazing things happening, but also has all the charm and the things you love about Midwest life!
Posted by: Pablo Edwards | Jul 26, 2010 10:33:28 AM
Agreed Pablo. Good to see Madison embrace start-up culture :-)
Posted by: Renee Blodgett | Jul 26, 2010 6:19:32 PM