Madison Startup Weekend

This past weekend I participated in the first-ever Madison Startup Weekend. This was the first Startup Weekend in Wisconsin and, from my perspective, it was a huge success.

If you’re not familiar, the Startup Weekend organization is a global network of passionate leaders and entrepreneurs on a mission to inspire, educate, and empower individuals, teams and communities.

Each Startup Weekend brings together 75 to 100 software developers, graphics designers and business people to share ideas, form teams, and launch startups during an intense 54-hour event which focuses on building web and mobile applications in a friendly yet competitive format.

Madison Startup Weekend had 106 would-be entrepreneurs who pitched 61 ideas. Of these, 15 were selected by the participants for development into startups. Teams self-organized on Friday night and then worked Saturday and Sunday on their applications and business models. On Sunday night the teams presented the results of their work and a panel of judges selected winners.Mentors and organizers were available throughout the weekend to give advice, and several successful Wisconsin-area entrepreneurs told their stories and answered questions.

The event was held at the West location of the Madison Area Technical College, which turned out to be a really great facility with lots of space and super fast wireless Internet access. Meals, drinks and snacks (which were more than plentiful and delicious) were provided by local restaurants, and the event was sponsored by a panel of local and global sponsors.The winning startups/applications were:

  • 1st Place: Bushwhack Apps is building a platform for the next generation of leisure sport technology (@bushwhackApps)
  • 2nd Place: PACMapper will provide market intelligence to post-acute care providers across the nation (no links yet)
  • 3rd PlaceSeatSwapr lets you swap seats with another passenger on your flight; they’re price, your choice! (@SeatSwapr)
  • Honorable Mention: Ringterest lets you design the engagement ring of your dreams. Guys, ask for help. Girls, tell him what you want. (@Ringterest1)
  • Best PresentationTrovu facilitates dating in pre-existing social circles by requiring mutual interest before alerting both parties (@TrovuApp)

The remaining startups are listed in alphabetical order:

  • babbleSPARK, a web service providing events for singles with similar interests to connect
  • Blazonly creates unique “blazons”, images that can be used for personal branding, conferences, and networking (@Blazonly)
  • Create Madison plans to provide retreats to bring professionals together to start creative projects (@CreateMadison)
  • Dandelion connects all your devices to other people’s devices, like VPN 2.0. Personal VPN network (no links yet)
  • FindFresh is an app geared towards helping Farmer’s Market enthusiasts learn about products and vendors (@FindFresh)
  • InfoActive is “a game changer in visual storytelling” (@InfoActive)
  • OnePetPass is an online health record and registration management system to license, board, and travel with pets (@OnePetPass)
  • StalkStuff is a social, fun & simple way to stalk items you want until they go on sale (@StalkStuff)
  • Trinker is an app aimed at encouraging responsible drinking (@TrinkerApp)

Overall, Madison Startup Weekend was an amazing experience full of interesting people with passion and energy. The organizers and sponsors deserve much credit and many thanks for their part, as do the participants who made this one of the most memorable events I can recall.

I enjoyed the Madison Startup Weekend so much I’d like to help organize a Startup Weekend for Milwaukee. Is this something you’d be interested in attending? Any thoughts on dates or a venue? Would you like to help organize, too? Let’s start the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #SWMilwaukee.

Update: You can sign-up to be notified about Startup Weekend Milwaukee by visiting: http://Signup.StartupWeekendMilwaukee.Org 

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section by clicking on the link just below the title of this article.

6 thoughts on “Madison Startup Weekend

  1. Dirk

    I’d like to learn more about the startup weekend in Milwaukee. My friend had a blast in Madison and got me psyched up. Thanks!

    1. Clint Laskowski Post author

      Thanks for your interest, Dirk; and my apologies for this late reply. You can learn more about Startup Weekend Milwaukee by signing up for the mail-list at So far, we’ve put together an organizing committee and tentatively selected a weekend in November. As soon as we have venue selected, we’ll send an update to the mail-list. Thanks for asking!

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