MadREP Report: April 26, 2017
Inside Innovation: Start-Up Ecosystem Blooms in Beloit

Last week, gener8tor celebrated its Spring 2017 gBETA cohort
at LiveBETA, a pitch night and the culmination of a six-week accelerator program for early-stage companies with local roots. During the program, companies refine their business model, meet mentors, strategize their growth, gain customer traction, and pitch investors.

LiveBETA at Irontek
Launched in July 2015, gBETA runs multiple times a year in each of its markets -- Madison, Milwaukee, and new this year -- Beloit. gBETA counts 45 graduates across nine programs, with over $1.29M in equity financing raised to date. Originally designed to support startups and entrepreneurs affiliated with Wisconsin colleges and universities, the Beloit program -- housed at Irontek -- was launched in partnership with Hendricks Commercial Properties and is open to all.

Hendricks has brought several high-tech companies including Comply365, Fat Wallet, and Acculynx to downtown Beloit through the Ironworks redevelopment, whose success has helped put the city on the map as a regional center of venture capital investment, and has helped Beloit compete for tech companies. Irontek operates at Ironworks as an in-house incubator designed to help grow local companies in Beloit.
Irontek, Beloit

"There are more employees of venture-backed digital technology startups in Beloit than Milwaukee, and Hendricks Commercial Properties is a huge reason why. (gBeta is) honored to be working with (Hendricks Commercial Properties) to complement the amazing work they've been doing for the community," gBeta Director Abby Taubner said.

Armed with a new team of gBETA directors, including Ngoc Nhi Le (Madison), Ben Stanley (Milwaukee), and Sam Petre (Beloit), applications are now open for the Summer 2017 cohort. For more information, visit
Register today!  
Capital Connection:
Local companies bring in big bucks from investors

Three Madison-area companies have boosted their finances with significant investments they've received recently. FluGen has added $2 million to an investment round that began in August 2015, putting the total amount raised in that round at $11.4 million. FluGen is working on RedeeFlu, a nasal spray vaccine to protect against influenza. Redox has drawn another $1 million, bringing the total amount for its current round to $10 million. Redox, founded in 2014, has developed a platform that helps integrate digital health care applications with the technology used by health care organizations. In all, Redox has received $14 million so far, and has 37 employees. Fitchburg-based Kiio has lined up $600,000 in convertible debt. Kiio is developing products to measure and record a patient's progress with exercise and physical therapy after an injury or illness. It recently added a chronic care program aimed specifically at people with lower back pain.
Industry Spotlight:
MEP Program Shows Nearly 9 to 1 Return to the Federal Government
A recent study by the W.E. Upjohn Institute found the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Program generates a substantial economic and financial return of nearly 9:1 for the $130 million annually invested by the federal government. MEP provides small- and medium-sized manufacturers technology-based services they need to thrive in today's economy and create well-paying manufacturing jobs. MEP centers are not-for-profit organizations that employ a network of more than 1,300 industry experts who work directly with manufacturers in the field to improve productivity and enhance competitiveness. "We're proud of the impact the MEP system generates -- year-after-year -- for more than two decades," said Buckley Brinkman, the executive director/CEO of the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity. "All of us in the system take our stewardship very seriously and it's gratifying when economic experts confirm what we already know: The MEP is a terrific investment."
On the Move:
Computer design firm Extreme Engineering plans move to Madison
A Middleton company that makes customized heavy-duty computers for manufacturers and the military plans to move into the city of Madison and grow with the help of tax incentives from the city. Extreme Engineering Solutions is proposing to build a 120,000-square-foot building on 13.6 acres in the Silicon Prairie Business Park, near Mineral Point and South Point roads. The project would cost $15.4 million and would nearly triple the 44,000 square-feet the company now leases. Extreme Engineering was founded in 2002 and started with 10 employees. Now 15 years in business, Extreme Engineering had $56 million in revenue in 2016 and has 170 full-time employees. The company also hires 50 to 60 college students a year in a nine-month cooperative program with UW-Madison and several other universities, in which the students earn school credit for their paid employment. "Our plan is to continue doing the right things and, hopefully, that translates into additional growth," said CEO and co-founder Rob Scidmore. 
Regional Economy:
21 Wisconsin School Districts Awarded Fab Lab grants 

Governor Walker and WEDC announced that 21 school districts throughout the state have been awarded a total of nearly $500,000 in grants to establish or expand local fabrication laboratory (fab lab) facilities.Through its Fab Lab Grant Program, WEDC is supporting the purchase of fab lab equipment for instructional and educational purposes by elementary, middle, junior, or high school students. Among the recipients were Madison Region school districts Stoughton and Waunakee. Individual school districts were eligible for up to $25,000 and consortiums of two or more districts were eligible for up to $50,000. WEDC received 69 applications representing over $1.58 million in funding requests. UW-Stout also received a grant from WEDC for the development of an online tool to increase collaboration and the sharing of resources among Wisconsin fab labs.

Startup Scene:
Startup Watertown looks to mentor, develop business
Looking to make a foothold for entrepreneurship in Watertown, local businessman and MadREP Board of Directors member Ron Roehl is developing a business mentorship program with help from the city's chamber of commerce. The program, titled Startup Watertown, will give local residents with an idea the opportunity to work with Roehl and other experts in various fields to develop a business. Roehl said the weekly program will span three months, with the first six weeks focusing on feasibility, identifying potential customers, competition and pricing among other factors. If the panel of business experts from the chamber of commerce thinks the idea could work, participants in the program can advance to the next six weeks where they will break into small groups to develop a comprehensive business plan. "I believe in organic growth," Roehl said. "I'd like to really look around here and think, how can we build our community? How can we take what's already here and put a bright spot on it?"

Read more.   

Business Expansion: 
CDI gets Verona City Council approval for new $40M headquarters building 
Stem cell company Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) has the blessing of the city of Verona -- along with a promise of up to $6 million in financial incentives -- to build its new headquarters in that community. Plans call for construction of a $40 million laboratory and office building on Kettle Moraine Trail. The building will be 133,700 square-feet, with clean rooms, quality control labs, processing rooms and offices. Cellular Dynamics was founded in 2004 by James Thomson, the internationally known UW-Madison pioneer in the stem cell field. Japanese conglomerate Fujifilm Holdings Corp. bought CDI for $307 million in 2015. The new building is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 and will house about 280 employees, nearly doubling CDI's staff within two years. "I think people are excited for the project," said Adam Sayre, Verona's director of planning and development. "It's a great company for us to welcome to Verona."
Funding Opportunity: Worker Training Grants for Health Science, Healthcare and Related Occupations
Deadline: May 1

$3M in Wisconsin Fast Forward worker training grants are available for health science, healthcare and related occupations. Over $18M in WFF grants have been issued to date, supporting nearly 200 worker training projects. Learn more.
Meet Rock River Capital Partners
May 2, 2pm
MGE Innovation Center, Madison

Rock River Capital Partners is the region's first Badger Fund of Funds. Join MadREP to meet the fund managers who will speak about the fund's status, size, investor and investment priorities, and targeted sectors. Contact  Michael Gay  at 608.571.0402 for more info.
gener8tor Madison 2017 Premiere Night
May 11, 6pm
Barrymore Theatre, Madison

Premiere Night is a celebration of gener8tor's latest class of innovative startups and entrepreneurship. Each of gener8tor's five Madison 2017 companies will give a five-minute pitch in front of a captive audience of investors, entrepreneurs and community members.  RSVP here.

Wisconsin International Trade Conference
May 11
Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee

Experience Wisconsin's largest and most respected conference on global trade. Attend informative workshops, hear compelling speakers, and walk away with new ideas and resources to keep your company adaptable and flexible. Learn more.
Global Trade Mission to Mexico
Application Deadline: May 12

In June 2017, Lt. Gov. Kleefisch and WEDC will lead a global trade mission to Mexico. Companies in all Wisconsin's sectors of strength -- advanced manufacturing; food and beverage processing; bioscience and medical devices; energy, power and control; water technology; and aerospace -- are encouraged to participate. Find out more.
Madison Mini Maker Faire
May 13, 10am-5pm
Monona Terrace, Madison

Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these "makers" to show hobbies, experiments, projects. Tickets are available online.
Attend the 4th annual Economic Development & Diversity Summit May 11 in Madison. 

View more events and opportunities at

Thank you to John Deere and all of our investors.


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