Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)

Region’s apex live pitch contest returns Aug. 27 during eight-day Forward Fest

MADISON – The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce announced today it is accepting applications for this year’s Pressure Chamber startup initiative, which returns Aug. 27 during Forward Festival, an eight-day celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in Madison. The popular program includes participation and support from active regional investment firms, as well as the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Applicants for Pressure Chamber go through a screening process that may include presentations with prominent Wisconsin investors. From there, a select number of companies will be chosen to pitch in front of a panel of out-of-state investors, business executives and a live audience during Forward Fest. The winning company is decided based on a combination of judges scoring and audience votes. In addition to receiving the coveted “golden suitcase,” the winning company will also earn a spot on the Chamber’s exclusive Madison-area startup delegation to San Francisco this fall for meetings with top Silicon Valley investment firms.

“Pressure Chamber is about highlighting the best of Greater Madison’s startup scene and enhancing the economic connection between two of the fastest-growing technology job creators in the country,” said Chamber Vice President Kevin Little. “This year’s competition represents another golden opportunity to showcase Greater Madison’s thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and give our community an up-close look at the innovative ideas driving the future of our economy.”

Past Pressure Chamber winners have credited the initiative for helping their company close successful funding rounds. Additionally, Pressure Chamber has been recognized by both the International Economic Development Council and Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest Summit as an entrepreneurship and economic development best practice. Participating companies have included EatStreet, Propeller Health, Redox, Datica, Fetch Rewards, HealthMyne, Cardigan, AkitaBox, Moxe, LÜM, DotCom Therapy, Fishidy, bluDiagnostics, POLCO and more.

Pressure Chamber is open to any industry, as long as the company meets the following requirements:

Must be a member of the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce or support local entrepreneurial partner organizations
Must be located in Dane County or plan to locate to Dane County by Aug. 27, 2019
Must have raised at least $25,000, excluding personal investment by company founders
Application must be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, July 15, 2019

The full application can be accessed at

Pressure Chamber is presented by Michael Best & Friedrich, with support from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, American Family Ventures, Baird Capital, 4490 Ventures, HealthX Ventures, Lindsay Stone & Briggs and Rock River Capital Partners.

For more information about Forward Fest, visit

About the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce:
The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business with nearly 1,300 organizations – ranging from one-person shops to corporations with more than 10,000 employees – working to bring the Greater Madison area to its full potential. The Greater Madison region is a leader in innovation. From cutting-edge technologies to distinctive retail shops to inventive services and products, our members vary greatly but are united by the region’s entrepreneurial spirit. More information can be found at

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