A profile of Madison’s startup ecosystem

A profile of Madison’s startup ecosystem

#StartupsEverywhere interview with StartingBlock’s Scott Resnick and gener8tor’s Sara Woldt


downtown-madison-wi-arts-entertainment-and-politics-1What are your respective roles in the Madison ecosystem?

Scott Resnick: Ten years ago, I co-founded Hardin Design & Development, an enterprise web application shop, in Madison. The startup now has a nationwide presence with offices in Madison and Dallas and clients such as FedEx, IBM, and Coleman Campers. Over that same period, I’ve also been involved in a number of endeavors to help grow the Madison startup ecosystem. I helped to found Capital Entrepreneurs, a 200 member association of startups, and most recently was named the Resident-in-Entrepreneur for StartingBlock, a soon-to-open entrepreneurial hub in downtown Madison.

Sara Woldt: I currently serve as the Director of Business Development at gener8tor, a “Top 15” U.S. accelerator with offices in Madison, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Minneapolis, Minnesota. I execute the accelerator’s corporate and industry partnership strategy, as well as manage relationships with our sponsors, investors, key stakeholders and the media. I am also the co-founder of the OnRamp Conference Series, a series that brings together industry leaders, top venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs transforming different verticals. OnRamp benefits startups at all stages of growth, regardless of their connection to gener8tor.

Can you tell us a little more about gener8tor and StartingBlock, specifically?

Sara: gener8tor is a nationally ranked accelerator that invests in high-growth startups. Three times per year, we invest up to $140,000 in each of five startups who participate in our 12-week program. gener8tor supports the growth of these startups through our network of experienced mentors, technologists, corporate partners, angel investors and venture capitalists.

Scott: StartingBlock Madison will be a 50,000 square-foot entrepreneurial hub where entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and community members can connect, share innovative ideas, and create next-generation businesses. Through the leadership of partners like gener8tor, Bunker Labs, and the Doyenne Group, StartingBlock will provide an affordable and flexible workspace, access to professional advisors/mentors, accelerator programs, and education and community programming.

Sara: We’re excited that gener8tor will be one of the core members of StartingBlock once it opens in 2018!

What is the most exciting thing that has happened in Madison over the past year?

Sara: For me, it would actually be StartingBlock breaking ground. I think the hub is going to serve as a catalyst for new startups and investments, as well as help to brand Madison as a vibrant technology hub. One of our local startups, EatStreet, also raised $40M and has grown to more than 1,500 employees. EatStreet has been an anchor startup for Madison with a national footprint and venture capital investors from Silicon Valley and beyond, so seeing them grow here in Madison has been incredibly encouraging.

Scott: Beyond EatStreet, the past year has been record setting in terms of venture capital activity in Madison. Thirty-two startups raised a record $114M in funding, a 70% increase over the previous year. In fact, Madison’s venture capital per capita, which holds for our small metro size, ranks in the top 15 worldwide. Read more …