MADISON – The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce announced today it is accepting applications for this year’s Pressure Chamber startup initiative, which returns on Aug. 16 during Forward Festival, Wisconsin’s largest technology and entrepreneurship festival. The popular program includes participation and support from active regional investment firms, as well as the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and UW–Madison Office of Business Engagement, 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 to a panel of out-of-state investors, business executives and a live audience during Forward Fest. In addition to receiving the coveted “golden suitcase,” the winning company will also get a reserved spot in the Chamber’s exclusive Greater Madison startup meetings with top Silicon Valley investment firms this fall.

“Pressure Chamber began with two primary objectives, and it has been successful on both counts: providing a platform for growing early-stage companies to connect with investment opportunities and potential customers, and amplifying the innovation occurring in Greater Madison by creating stronger connectivity with key coastal investment hubs,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “We are excited to kick off our ninth year of this initiative and continue to build engagement between investors, customers and entrepreneurs.”

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. Collectively, participating Pressure Chamber companies have gone on to raise more than half a billion dollars from investors.

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 (startup memberships available) or support local entrepreneurial partner organizations
  • Must be located in Greater Madison or plan to locate to Greater Madison by Aug. 16, 2022
  • Must have raised at least $25,000, excluding personal investment by company founders
  • Application must be received by 8 a.m. on Monday, July 11, 2022

The full application can be accessed at:

Pressure Chamber is presented by the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce and Michael Best & Friedrich, with support from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and UW–Madison Office of Business Engagement, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, American Family Ventures, Baird Capital, 4490 Ventures, HealthX Ventures and Rock River Capital Partners.

For more information about Forward Fest, visit

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