There is nothing fishy about the newest winner of Madison’s Pressure Chamber competition, which pits local startups against each other.
Fishidy, a social network site for fishing enthusiasts, won the Madison Chamber of Commerce competition Thursday. As a prize, Fishidy will present their company at a conference in Silicon Valley, Calif., in late June.
Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Kevin Little said Fishidy is a “platform” for fishing enthusiasts. The site allows people to go on and report where they caught a fish, what type of fish it was and gather information from others on good nearby fishing locations.
President of Fishidy Brian Jensen said he has wanted to develop a platform like this for many years, but started to take the idea seriously about three-and-a-half years ago.
Jensen, who has a background in software development, said he has always been an avid angler. After returning from an unsuccessful fishing trip in North Minnesota, he decided to take his idea more seriously so no one would feel the same frustration he felt again.
Currently, Fishidy has eight employees, but plans to double in size within the next year, Jensen said.
“I am going to Silicon Valley to not only pitch my company to Silicon Valley investors, but I am also going to help them get a better understanding of the opportunity of what exists in Madison and all the great things we are doing here in Madison,” Jensen said.
Little said this is the first year the Chamber of Commerce has hosted this competition. Little said the contest was part of a larger ‘expo’ style Chamber of Commerce business event, called ‘neXXpo.’ He said rather than focusing on the present, this contest aimed to showcase the future of business.
“The contest was a way for us to accomplish a couple of objectives,” Little said. “First we wanted to give an opportunity for new business ventures to showcase what they are doing to the regional business community and it helps tell our business story beyond our borders.”
All participants competing in the Pressure Chamber had to be based in Dane County and needed to already have received at least $25,000 from private investors, Little said. He said 14 startups were interviewed to participate in the contest and six were chosen to pitch their ideas in the live competition, which began Tuesday.
Although five judges traveled to Wisconsin to assess the competitors based on pitch performance, business assumptions and the company’s investment potential, audience members were also allowed to vote on the startups, Little said. He said when the presentations were finished, audience members could text to vote on which company they believed was best.