Chamber and Capital Entrepreneurs Accepting Applications for Pressure Chamber and Startup Showcase


Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)

MADISON – The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and Capital Entrepreneurs announced today they are accepting applications for this year’s Pressure Chamber competition and Startup Showcase celebration, which will take place August 23 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center during the Forward Festival, an eight-day celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in Madison. The pitch events return this year as part of a popular evening of programming, including the Forward Technology Conference, neXXpo and a happy hour sponsored by Zendesk.

“If you are a startup in Greater Madison looking to raise capital and attract talent and new business opportunities, you should be applying for Pressure Chamber and Startup Showcase,” said Chamber Vice President Kevin Little. “Nowhere else will you have access to this number of local, regional and global investors, as well as the visibility associated with taking the stage in front of a packed room of potential customers and employees at Forward Fest.”

Applicants for Pressure Chamber go through a screening process that may include presentations with prominent Wisconsin investors. From there, a select number of companies will be chosen to pitch in front of a panel of out-of-state investors, business executives and a live audience during Forward Fest. The winning company is decided based on a combination of judges scoring and audience votes. In addition to receiving the coveted “golden suitcase,” the winning company will also receive an all-expenses paid spot on the Chamber’s exclusive Madison-area startup delegation to Palo Alto in October for meetings with top Silicon Valley investment firms.

Both the 2014 Pressure Chamber winner, Fishidy, and the 2015 winner, bluDiagnostics, closed successful funding rounds following their presentations at Pressure Chamber.

Applicants may also apply for the Forward Festival Startup Showcase, sponsored by Capital Entrepreneurs and Accelerate Madison. The Startup Showcase features an evening of startup pitches from some of Madison’s most compelling emerging companies. Five to seven startups will be selected to give a five-minute “demo day” style pitch. In addition, several Startup Showcase alumni from past years will take part in a lightning round of one-minute update pitches.

Both Pressure Chamber and Startup Showcase are open to any industry, as long as the company meets the following requirements:

  • Must be a member of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce or Capital Entrepreneurs
  • Must be located in Dane County or plan to locate to Dane County by August 23, 2016
  • Must have raised at least $25,000, excluding personal investment by company founders
  • Application must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, July 8, 2016

The full application can be accessed here:

Pressure Chamber is presented by Michael Best & Friedrich, with support from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, American Family Ventures, Baird Capital and 4490 Ventures.

For more information about Forward Fest, please visit

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 8,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at


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