MadREP Report: January 18, 2017
Ionic's Co-Founder & CEO Max Lynch: You don't need local money 
In 2015, UW-Madison Computer Science graduate Max Lynch joined the ranks of Forbes' 30 Under 30 for creating Ionic -- now one of the most popular open source software development kits, making it easier for web developers to build mobile applications that work across iOS, Android, and Windows devices. Developers have created nearly 4 million apps using Ionic since its founding in 2014, and the company has raised over $12 million from investors across the country -- with zero of those dollars from the state of Wisconsin.

In a recent blog post, Max discusses raising capital for Ionic (formerly Drifty) in reaction to an article about the challenges Wisconsin companies face crossing the "Valley of Death," or going from seed funding to Series A. While he sympathizes with the struggles of putting together a proper Series A -- one of the most difficult aspects of a startup's life -- he's a bit tired of hearing about the lack of local money available to startups.

"The reality is that, as a founder in the Midwest (or any other emerging locale), you're a pioneer. If you're anything like me, you're building your company here because you love the idea that you see something others overlook (like the wonderful talent pool), and you're motivated by the chance to make a huge impact on your city."

Instead of focusing on the lack of local capital, Max hopes to see more energy put into building stronger companies, thinking big instead of reducing ambitions to cater to investors, and improving the cohesion of our communities through increased involvement from successful founders in mentoring up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

"If our companies are successful, we will become tomorrow's more sophisticated angel investors and VC partners that can change the things we think need changing." In closing, Max extends an offer to help Midwest startups thinking about fundraising, or those that are struggling to do so.

Read more in his full blog post.

Special thanks to Max Lynch for permission to share his post, originally published on December 29, 2016 on his blog at

Meet Wisconsin's Trade Representative to Mexico
January 23, 11am-1pm | UW Office of Corporate Relations, Madison 

Efren Flores -- Wisconsin's Trade Representative to Mexico -- will be in Madison on Monday, January 23rd. Join MadREP for this opportunity to touch base with the state's expert on starting or growing exports to Mexico. Efren will be available to answer your direct questions, and is also interested in connecting with companies that want to learn more about the Global Trade Venture to Mexico taking place in June 2017.

RSVP to MadREP's SVP of Economic Development Michael Gay at 608.571.0402.
Partner Profile:
Helping under-served groups build business and personal success: Spotlight on WWBIC

Economic development groups around the state make up a strategic network of resources that support business growth and success for a diverse range of businesses -- a feat that would be difficult for any group to do alone. One of these groups providing valuable resources to new businesses in the state is the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC). WWBIC focuses on providing loans and business assistance to individuals who face barriers in accessing traditional financing or resources. While the group started as a response to the Women's Business Ownership Act of 1988, which aimed to increase the number of female business owners, WWBIC has since expanded its scope to aid minorities, low-income individuals, people with disabilities and more. Since its inception in 1987, WWBIC has assisted more than 55,000 individuals, loaned more than $46 million and helped businesses create and retain nearly 9,000 jobs.

Business Expansion:
Merger to bring 50 new jobs to Portage

TriEnda Holdings has acquired The PendaForm Company, creating a partnership that's expected to bring 50 new jobs to Portage.  "This makes both companies stronger and brings growth to our area," TriEnda President David Kruger said. "Our biggest challenge is we need more employees." All in all, the merger is expected to generate 50 new jobs in Portage. Adding more jobs in Portage creates a "trickle-down effect" that helps everyone, Portage Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marianne Hanson said. "It's a unique partnership. We're always excited to hear when we can add jobs in the community - that's always good for us." According to a news release from Kruger, PendaForm's customer base and capabilities combined with TriEnda's material expertise gives the company "endless possibilities" in business.

Read more.

Community Highlight:
Evansville Inventors get Wacky

Last week, the Evansville Area Inventors & Entrepreneurs Clubs' met for the annual invention contest, the eighth such event  since the group formed in 2008 as a response to an emergency community economic analysis local stakeholders rolled out that year. It was during a time when the Great Recession was already spiking unemployment and leaving some residents reeling over what to do next. Club president Sue Berg said the analysis revealed a key priority -- to foster and nurture the local entrepreneurial spirit. A few local inventors, tinkerers and entrepreneurs formed the club as a way to hatch inventions or ideas and grow them. The club has a membership that at times reaches 150 people from Dane and Rock counties, with members ranging from garage tinkerers to area entrepreneurs and inventors who have launched their own cottage industries. The group's monthly meetings give inventors and entrepreneurs a sounding board, an outlet and a network of others to develop their ideas or gadgets.

Read more.
Regional Economy:
Whitewater University Technology Park site earns state Certified In Wisconsin designation

WEDC announced that it has designated a portion of Whitewater University Technology Park as a Certified In Wisconsin development-ready site -- giving site selectors and business owners confidence knowing that building plans will not be held up by costly delays in permitting and approvals. The 35-acre site, adjacent to the Whitewater Business Park and less than 1-mile from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, is the state's 16th certified site. "I know that property managers searching for industrial land want to minimize their risks. They can be assured that when they look at Whitewater there is certainty, and what they get is the best the state has to offer," said Jeffery Knight, chairman of the Whitewater Community Development Authority.

Industry Profile:
Breaking the cheese ceiling 

Technology is lightening the load and helping women to once again take a leading role in cheesemaking. "Before the robotics became practical the job called for more brute strength to process cheese, but now brains are much more integral than muscles," said Wisconsin Cheesemakers Association executive director John Umhoefer.  Wisconsin is the fourth largest cheesemaker in the world, and is the first and still only state requiring cheesemakers to be licensed. Becoming a Master Cheesemaker means committing to a 13-year training process. The dairy industry is a massive driver of Wisconsin's economy, generating $43 billion a year to the state, dwarfing Florida's citrus harvest ($9 billion) and Idaho's potato crop ($4 billion). Wisconsin stirred, sniffed, and pressed more than 3 billion pounds of cheese in 2015.

Startup Scene:
Jobs at Madison area startups now top 1,000, a survey shows 

Madison area startups added 150 full-time and 135 part-time jobs in 2016. That means that young companies now account for at least 825 full-time and 300 part-time employees -- or a total of 1,125 people -- according to the replies of 58 companies to a poll by Capital Entrepreneurs.The startups raised a combined $114 million in funding, up 71 percent over the $66.5 million local startups drew in 2015 and $44 million in 2014. Not only did the numbers of new companies jump, so did the space they occupied. "There has been a large amount of entrepreneurial ecosystem infrastructure that has been established over the past few years between work spaces, accelerators and support resources. It provides new entrepreneurs with better access to resources that hopefully will increase their chances of success," said Forrest Woolworth, a co-founder of Capital Entrepreneurs and chief operating officer of mobile game development company PerBlue.

WIN Luncheon: Extending high-quality broadband statewide
January 24, 11:30am-1:30pm
Sheraton Hotel, Madison

Is Wisconsin making progress when it comes to extending high-quality broadband coverage to all parts of the state? Find out at the upcoming Wisconsin Innovation Network luncheon meeting.
Seminar: Water Optimization and Efficiency in the Food Processing Industry
January 27
The Water Council, Milwaukee

Attend this seminar presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and partners across the Midwest to learn about water optimization as well as the challenges and solutions with water in the food processing industry. View the event brochure.
Best of Madison Business Awards: Building Us Up
January 27, 11am-1:30pm
The Edgwater, Madison 

Join Madison Magazine as it honors six individuals who are incorporating new ideas into traditional businesses and transforming our city in the process. Purchase your ticket online by January 23rd. 
Job Opportunity: Director of gBETA (3 positions available)
Deadline: January 27

The team at gener8tor is growing, and is hiring three new gBETA directors to lead the Beloit, Madison, and Milwaukee programs. View the job description, and submit your application to
Keys to Export Compliance
February 14, 11:30am-4:15pm
Fluno Center, Madison

Attend this Madison International Trade Administration event to gain knowledge about the latest and ever-changing export compliance laws, how to deal with shipments that get stuck at port, common red tape concerns, and how to avoid costly penalties. Find out more.
Manufacturing Matters! 2017
February 23
Hyatt Regency, Milwaukee

The theme of this year's conference is Shaping the Future, and will include trends, opportunities, and solutions to help Wisconsin manufacturers thrive in a dynamic and challenging business environment. View the event flyer, and register by 1/31 for a discounted rate.
View more events and opportunities at

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