Greater Madison Startups Meeting with Investors in Silicon Valley

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (October 11, 2016)

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

MADISON – Some of Greater Madison’s most promising startups are in Silicon Valley this week to meet with prominent venture capital firms as part of an exclusive delegation led by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce. In addition to the five companies, the delegation features state economic development partners and Chamber leaders including Board Chair Beth Donley of Stemina Biomarker Discovery.

“The Chamber is proud to provide an opportunity for these growing companies to meet with top investors as we promote Greater Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “Our economic momentum is real, and it is important that we continue to tell Greater Madison’s story as a world-class place to build and invest. We are thrilled to be able to do that by showcasing an exciting group of companies and helping them make important connections in Silicon Valley.”

The Silicon Valley trip is the culmination of the Chamber’s popular Pressure Chamber startup pitch competition, which took place in August during the Forward Festival, an eight-day celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in Madison. This year’s Pressure Chamber winner, the top vote-getter from both the audience and a panel of investor judges, is POLCO, a platform that improves civic engagement by connecting members of the community with their local representatives on active policy proposals.

It has been an exciting year for POLCO. In addition to their Pressure Chamber victory, they also won the best presentation award at the Madworks business accelerator pitch night and the “Peoples’ Choice” award at the Wisconsin Innovation Awards. They also won in the Information Technology category at the statewide Governor’s Business Plan Competition and are the first company-in-residence at Bunker Labs Wisconsin, a nonprofit that helps military veterans start and grow businesses.

Joining POLCO on the trip are four other exciting, emerging companies representing diverse industries driving Greater Madison’s economy. They include:

  • AkitaBox (Madison) – A SaaS application for proactive building management that automates maintenance, planning and inspections, AkitaBox is a gener8tor company and 2016 Pressure Chamber finalist.
  • GrocerKey (Madison) – Another gener8tor company, GrocerKey helps grocery and convenience stores leverage their brand through eCommerce by providing a mobile optimized online store, management dashboard and a back-end app for operational efficiency.
  • Markable (Madison) – A fashion technology company and member of 100state that helps social network users shop using visual search technology to connect photos and products.
  • Moxe (Madison) – A technology-driven, service-oriented group helping vendors and health systems navigate the challenges of interoperability.

The trip began with a tour of YouTube, led by the founder of Vidmaker, a Madison company acquired by YouTube in 2014. Later in the evening, an exclusive invite-only dinner provided an opportunity for investor interaction and private discussion with business partners. The second day includes company pitches with a dozen global investment firms, followed by a reception sponsored by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation with support from the Badger Entrepreneurship Forum, a Bay Area organization of UW-Madison alumni.

Pressure Chamber and the Silicon Valley trips are supported by Michael Best & Friedrich, with support from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, American Family Ventures, Baird Capital, 4490 Ventures, HealthX Ventures, Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, Three Oaks Venture Capital and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

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 9,500 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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