Pressure Chamber/Startup Showcase

Pressure Chamber/Startup Showcase

Pressure Chamber and Startup Showcase return August 23, 2016 as part of the eight-day Forward Festival at Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center!

Pressure Chamber and Startup Showcase are Back!

On August 23, 2016, Pressure Chamber and Startup Showcase return as part of the biggest Madison-area entrepreneurship and business day of the year!

The popular pitch events will be held at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center during the Forward Festival, an eight-day celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in Madison. Also included in this exciting evening of programming are the Forward Technology Conference and neXXpo, plus complimentary appetizers and drinks courtesy of Zendesk. The density created by having all of these popular events together will create a unique experience, bringing hundreds of entrepreneurs, business, civic and education leaders together in celebration of all of the innovation happening in greater Madison.

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.

“The Pressure Chamber competition was a game-changer for Fishidy. Not only did it help us secure and close an outside financing round, but it gave us valuable experience in pitching in these types of settings. As a result we were selected to other prominent pitch events including the Rise of the Rise Tour and Collision 2015.” – Brian Jensen, CEO, Fishidy

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.

For more information about Forward Fest, please visit

The 2016 application deadline has passed for Pressure Chamber and Startup Showcase.

For additional questions, contact:

Kevin Little
Vice President
Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce
(608) 443-1949

The 2016 application deadline has passed for Pressure Chamber and Startup Showcase.

  • Akitabox (Madison) – A SaaS application for proactive building management that automates maintenance, planning and inspections.
  • Lynx Biosciences (Madison) – Developing technologies enabling the prediction of clinical treatment response for multiple myeloma and other blood cancer patients.
  • Manifestly (Madison) – Mobile and web software that uses visual checklists and Slack integration to manage companies’ recurring workflows.
  • POLCO (Madison) – A platform improving civic engagement by connecting members of the community with their local representatives on active policy proposals.
  • Rigbot (Madison) – A product suite that uses telematics and big data analytics to improve revenue and reduce costs for the trucking industry.


The Pressure Chamber is presented by Michael Best & Friedrich LLP.

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.

What Others Have Said

  • Kudos to the Chamber and the Small Business Advisory Council for the creation of the Road Construction Survival Guide. It connects the affected businesses with the city departments and the construction company in charge. The regular meetings and contact with the correct people makes a huge difference in coping.

    Teena Browder, Cork ‘n Bottle
  • My small business has a voice in local politics with the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, I have a voice here. We’re all business people and we look at the bottom line. The return on investment from my Chamber membership and the advocacy it provides is far above what I get from other organizations.

    Tim Lightner, Owner, Two Men and a Truck
  • The Chamber has worked tirelessly to promote the interests of the local business community, and to create and preserve the conditions that allow businesses to thrive, for the good of the entire community. I can think of no organization that is better equipped to guide us through this time than the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, and we all owe it our full support, to our mutual benefit.

    David Stark, President, Stark Company Realtors
  • The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce has been an excellent resource for my small business. The Chamber provides multiple channels for business awareness, networking opportunities and helpful educational programs. Being a member of the Chamber has really made a difference in helping expand my business visibility, growth and development in Dane County.

    John Vardallas, CAE, Founder/CEO, The American BoomeR Consulting Group