Brian Jensen earned an opportunity Tuesday for his company to get valuable exposure this summer.
Jensen, president of Madison-based Fishidy — a map-based social platform for fishing aficionados — edged out five other finalists during The Pressure Chamber, a competition aimed at local technology companies patterned after the ABC TV series “Shark Tank.”
Unlike “Shark Tank,” investors didn’t make funding offers on the spot. However, at stake was a slot in a chamber delegation this summer to the Silicon Valley, where a handful of local startup companies will meet with California venture-capital firms.
The event was part of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s new event, neXXpo: Business in Fast Forward, at the Alliant Energy Center.
The entrepreneurs pitched their companies in a live competition. Winners were chosen by a panel of judges — including representatives of several area investment groups — and through audience text-messaging votes.
Chamber president Zach Brandon said Fishidy will be a great addition to the Chamber’s meetings with Silicon Valley investors. “Fishidy has a great story and innovative product with a huge market in Wisconsin. We’re excited to provide a national platform to promote their work as well as promote all of the exciting things happening here in Greater Madison.”
After surviving the local event, how will Jensen approach the California trip?
“You just have to be genuine. Know your numbers, stick to facts. One of the mantras we have at our company is to measure everything and know your stats.” You must, he added, make them recognize there is an opportunity.
Fishidy — found online at fishidy.com — has eight employees. Jensen plans to double that in the next year.
Matt Younkle, co-founder and CEO of Murfie — an online marketplace of music that makes CDs and vinyl records digitally viable — was selected as the alternate in case Jensen is unable to make the trip.
Others who competed in the finals were:
GoStrive — Mobile search app for community activities; James Jackson, president and CEO.
Intuitive Biosciences — Turn-key protein analysis tools for the life science industry; Shawn Guse, CEO.
OpenHomes — Discount brokerage directly connecting buyers and sellers through an online platform; Kelda Roys, CEO.
Thalchemy — Technology to enable smartphones to sensory process information like a human brain; Andrew Nere, co-founder and chief technology officer.