15:01 PM

StartingBlock Madison meets fundraising goal to launch entrepreneurial hub


StartingBlock is one step closer to launching an entrepreneurial hub for Wisconsin innovators.


Madison, Wis. (Sept. 7, 2016) StartingBlock Madison (SBM) has met its fundraising goal to develop a vibrant, interconnected entrepreneurial hub for Wisconsin innovators.

“StartingBlock represents a significant partnership among the public and private sectors including the City of Madison, State of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin – Madison, American Family Insurance and other businesses,” says Scott Resnick SBM executive director.

The center will be a supportive community of emerging innovators and established entrepreneurs sharing knowledge, skills and professional assistance.

StartingBlock will also create a talent pipeline attracting and keeping the best and brightest in Madison.

“When the public and private sector work together, we can accomplish amazing things and this effort on StartingBlock is an example,” says Paul Soglin, Madison mayor.

“The high level of collaboration between the City, the State, UW-Madison and the private sector, specifically American Family, Gebhardt Development and Madison Gas & Electric has been an incredible catalyst to move this project forward. I look forward to more milestones, continued partnerships, and a center for startup activity and innovation,” says Soglin.

American Family Insurance committed a significant investment in SBM by providing 50,000 square feet of space in American Family’s new building, “The Spark” in the Capital East district of downtown Madison. American Family is now moving to execute the development agreements, finalize the building design and garner approvals from the City of Madison to break ground by the end of this year.

“We have embraced StartingBlock as part of a spirit of innovation for our customers,” says Jack Salzwedel, American Family chairman, chief executive officer and president. “We want to assertively and thoughtfully lead the way to meet the changing needs of our customers and communities, and StartingBlock helps us achieve that.”

The University of Wisconsin – Madison has also committed various resources to SBM recognizing its potential impact in the region.

“This is good news,” says Rebecca Blank, chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “StartingBlock Madison represents a continued advance of entrepreneurialism in Madison and is testament to the significant technical and economic innovation occurring in Wisconsin,” says Blank.

Mark Cook, UW-Madison animal science professor and founder of several start-up companies, says StartingBlock will be a game changer for Madison’s entrepreneurial community. “Innovations can remain only dreams unless there is a launching pad into the market; Starting Block will help turn dreams into reality,” he says.

The center will also provide the space and resources (the starting blocks) entrepreneurs needed for success:

  • Affordable, flexible office and co-working space

  • Peer networking and mentoring

  • Access to peers, mentors, investment and professional advisors (sponsors)

  • Accelerator programs (i.e. gener8tor)

  • Collaboration, meeting and conference space

  • Educational programming, workshops and community-building events

  • Home for Capitol Entrepreneurs, a 300-member organization of founders/leaders of Madison area startups

StartingBlock will be a place where entrepreneurs can:

  • Turn innovative ideas into profitable businesses and accelerate job creation

  • Grow our innovation culture into a startup hub

  • Propel our technology, healthcare and creative digital sectors

  • Spark our next generation of dreamers and inventors

The hub will also provide educational programs for teens and young adults interested in engineering, computer sciences, manufacturing and other skill sets critical for the future work force.


About StartingBlock Madison: Starting Block Madison (SBM) is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurism, education and economic growth in the Madison region. SBM’s origins date back to 2012 when a group of entrepreneurs and technology and civic leaders began to pursue the idea of a single location that offered the critical components needed by entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses, create jobs and stimulate the regional economy. In late 2013, the group officially formed StartingBlock Madison, Inc. as a Wisconsin non-stock corporation. Web:; Facebook:; Twitter: