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madworks accelerator

Madworks Accelerator launched in June 2014.

The Madworks Accelerator, a Madison-based accelerator program that’s just over a year old, has already graduated at least three companies that have shown promise in early stages of development.

Last month, during Madison’s entrepreneurship-focused Forward Festival, two businesses that graduated from Madworks were tapped to participate in the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce’s Pressure Chamber event: Smart UQ, an analytics software company, and Health eFilings, a healthcare records company.

Both of those companies have closed successful fundraising rounds recently, according to Madworks’ operations manager Louis Condon.

Field59, which graduated from the accelerator program last April, recently closed a deal with Exact Sciences and is planning to add to its staff.

Condon said the Madison startup scene has markedly evolved in the short time since Madworks was launched in June of 2014.  

“I think, overall, the community is getting more collaborative in identifying gaps in the entire ecosystem and trying to find solutions for those gaps,” Condon said.  

Madworks was launched by the UW-Madison Law School’s Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic with the support of University Research Park and a $90,000 grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

The first cohort of Madworks businesses, which included Smart UQ, received $10,000 from the accelerator. That amount has varied for cohorts since, according to Condon, due to changing levels of resources.

The accelerator is currently accepting applications for its fifth cohort of businesses, each of which are tentatively set to receive $3,000 in funding at the end of the program, and are eligible for $2,000 during the course of Madworks’ 10-week program.

Condon said Madworks should be considered a bridge between early-stage development programs like the UW-Madison’s Discovery to Product program and incubators like the Madison-based gener8tor, which tends to work with companies further along in their development, after they’ve begun to raise money.

The recently-launched gBETA program, an offshoot of gener8tor meant to foster earlier-stage companies, is a peer to to Madworks, Condon said.

“What we’re helping (startups) do is find the original business model, get the pitch down, explain their model effectively and concisely and start asking for early stage angel funding,” he said.

He said the size of the upcoming cohort has yet to be determined. Madworks will continue accepting applications for cohort members until Sept. 15. The program will kick off on Sept. 23 with a “boot camp” for all applicants, then a select few will continue on to the official 10-week program.


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