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—“We’re not here for the weather, obviously, but for the community,” said Andrew Foxwell, who decided to build his social media advisory company in Madison after stints in Washington, DC and Chicago. While Madison—and, in general, Wisconsin—lacks later-stage venture capital and has harsh winters that sometimes make it difficult to attract talent, it has plenty of assets: UW-Madison, Epic, and a relatively low cost of living and of doing business, to name a few. Perhaps just as important as all of those tangible traits is an unquantifiable one: the tight-knit community that Foxwell and others referenced throughout Forward Fest, Madison’s annual conference on entrepreneurship.
—Since the early 2000s, UW-Madison’s entrepreneurial culture and the administration’s attitude toward university spinouts have gotten better, according to Swallow Solutions founder JoAnne Robbins and others who spoke on a panel on campus during last week’s Badger Startup Summit, part of Forward Fest. However, panelists said there’s still room for improvement when it comes to the school’s support of tech transfer.
—Cellular Dynamics has made 300 induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines available to any company, institution or individual researcher for purchase, and 2,700 more lines will become available by the end of 2016. According to a press release issued Tuesday, the availability of the first 300 iPS cell lines marks “the launch of the world’s largest publicly available stem cell bank.” The unveiling is part of a $32 million initiative funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine that kicked off in 2013.
—Intellivisit, the Milwaukee-area virtual health startup that seeks to be the “digital front door” for sick patients wanting to report their symptoms, has signed three Midwestern customers, all of whom will start using the software in October. Founded in 2013, the company has thus far raised over $2.1 million in seed funding. October is also when the company expects to close on another $2.5 million in a convertible debt financing round.