UWM can be catalyst for entrepreneurship

by John Torinus via BizTimes

The accelerated pace of startup activity in the M7 region provides a golden opportunity for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to rebrand itself as an E-University – E for Entrepreneur.

Unlike UW-Madison, a major player in an academic R&D in the world, UWM has the major advantage of being in the middle of Wisconsin’s powerful business community. Much of the state’s horsepower in business resides in the M7 region. That is an enormous resource.

The M7 reservoir of business acumen shows up in many ways:

• The deal flow for startups is robust, often from entrepreneurs jumping out of major corporations in the region.

• Their business plans are close to fully baked, as opposed to those ginned up by researchers. The M7 entrepreneurs, often middle age, know what business is all about.

• Mentors for the new ventures are readily available from the ranks of experienced business leaders.

• A growing cadre of angel investors is stepping into the startup game. An example is the recent creation of a $10 million early stage fund by a prominent local Milwaukeean.

Read the rest at BizTimes: Milwaukee.

StartupMKE Launches New Coworking Space – 96Square

BlatzWashHouseGoogleBeginning as a wash house for the original Blatz Brewery, the historic Blatz Wash House, the recent home of VETransfer, is now 96Square, a coworking space for Milwaukee’s next generation of tech startups. By providing entrepreneurs access to affordable, scalable office space, mentorship, potential investors, talent, and a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, 96square is a game changer for Milwaukee’s community of innovative entrepreneurs. Similar spaces around the country include 1871 in Chicago, 1776 in DC and Rocket Space in SF.

Companies such as AlithiasFind My SpotOnkolRent College Pads, SAR32 Technologies, UCAP, LLC, Voxelmetric, and the Wisconsin Super Angel Fund are among the early adopters taking advantage of this new opportunity. Memberships for entrepreneurs, startups, and technical/creative talent are available starting at $110/month.

For more details visit 96square.org.

96Square is located at 1101 N Market St, Milwaukee, WI 53202, right behind Bar Louie, a happy coincidence, I’m sure….

Milwaukee-based game company seeking to raise funds

by Kathleen Gallagher

Cleverhouse Games and Toys LLC, a Milwaukee company founded by an ex-convict to make products that entertain and teach, said Monday it has launched a campaign to raise $7,000 on Kickstarter.

Cleverhouse is trying to raise the money to fund manufacturing for its Chess King board game. A new twist on an age-old game, Chess King is a fast-paced puzzle game that uses a board with just nine squares that combines strategy and tactics from chess with the creativity and memory skills of puzzles.

Chess King is being used in the Milwaukee Public School System, Milwaukee Community Learning Centers, suburban high schools, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, the company said.

Read the rest at JSOnline.com.

Amazon.com distribution center to employ 1,100 in Kenosha

Amazon.com Inc.’s distribution center planned for Kenosha, and its 1,100 full-time jobs, will carry an impact that resonates well beyond that city, local officials said Monday.

The facility, with just over 1 million square feet, will likely draw employees, including hundreds of seasonal workers, from other communities in southeastern Wisconsin, said Mayor Keith Bosman.

“It’s very accessible,” Bosman said about the center’s location, north of 38th St./Highway N and east of 108th Ave. That site is just east of I-94, about 30 miles south of downtown Milwaukee.

Bosman said the full-time job count will likely be more than 1,100 employees. The average wage will be just over $13 an hour for around 850 employees who fulfill orders for Amazon customers, he said.

Read the rest at JSOnloine.com.

General Solicitation Law Changes Next Week – What you need to know.

An 80-year-old ban that has prevented private companies from publicly advertising their efforts to raise funds will lift on Monday.

If you are an entrepreneur struggling to find investors, that may be very good news. But hold the champagne for now.

What this historic change in general solicitation law really means is that if you are an entrepreneur looking to raise money from investors, you might want to spend some quality time with a lawyer before you go shouting it from the rooftops.

Read the rest  >> What Entrepreneurs Need to Know About the Historic Change in General Solicitation Law That Goes Into Effect September 23 | Entrepreneur.com.

From auto repair to head cheese: MKE Scalerator Firms Revealed

Scale Up Milwaukee has announced 11 participating businesses in its pilot sales accelerator program that begins Sept. 19.

The two-month “Scalerator” program is part of the Scale Up Milwaukee initiative led by Dan Isenberg, entrepreneurship professor at Babson College in Massachusetts. Scale Up Milwaukee is working with a broad coalition to develop a blueprint for the city to increase the formation of startups and grow existing ventures.

Scalerator is focused on helping small local companies that are generating revenue enhance their sales tactics and significantly ramp up their business.

Read the rest at  The Business Journal.

Hundreds attend launch party for five new companies

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

More than 400 people, including about 100 financiers, attended a launch party for five new companies at Turner Hall Thursday night.

“The quality of this class on an overall basis is probably the best they’ve had,” said Don Layden, operating partner at Baird Venture Partners.

The companies were in the third class run by Gener8tor, a for-profit group formed in 2012 that helps start-ups identify customers and accelerate their growth. Among the crowd were financiers from other parts of the Midwest and California, said Joe Kirgues, a co-founder.

Gener8tor expects the five companies to raise a record amount of funding out of this summer’s program, Kirgues said. For example, catalyze.io, a Milwaukee company that provides resources for developers working on health-related apps, has already raised nearly $500,000 of a larger funding round before going on stage Thursday night, he said.

“Some of these companies are breaking capital and revenue milestone records within the program and we’re excited to see them continue to create jobs going forward,” Kirgues said.

The other companies that made presentations were: docalytics, Maillift, openhomes.in and Optyn.

via Hundreds attend launch party for five new companies.

Gener8tor startup launch attracts CA venture capitalists

Local startup accelerator program Gener8tor continues to make a name for itself outside the state.

Venture capitalists from around the Midwest and as far away as California attended Gener8tor’s startup launch event Thursday evening at Turner Hall Ballroom in downtown Milwaukee, where startups that just graduated from Gener8tor’s summer program in Milwaukee pitched their companies to potential investors.

“People are looking to bring their capital to Wisconsin,” Gener8tor co-founder Joe Kirgues told me.

Three of the startups that participated in Gener8tor’s 12-week summer boot camp in Milwaukee also came from outside of the state, which supporters said shows the one-year-old organization is getting noticed.

Read the complete article at  The Business Journal.

Space for startups for rent at Thirsty Boy

Third Ward, Riverwalk office sublet: 1,000 sq. ft. beam and brick with hardwood floors. Multiple workstations (no cubes), enclosed office, conference room, bathroom. Access to full kitchen and additional conference room overlooking Water Street. Utilities, high-speed internet and furnishing included. $2,250/mo, minimum 6 mos. commitment.

See photos and more at Startup Milwaukee • Space for startups for rent at Thirsty Boy.