Wisconsin Governor Signs Investment Capital Bill For Startups

Gov Scott Walker, Wisconsin startups, startup fundingWisconsin startups just had another victory on Thursday as Governor Scott Walker signed an investment capital bill.

The bill, which drew bipartisan support in the state legislature, provides $25 million dollars to startup companies in Wisconsin.  Unlike other states, though, this bill was specifically for tech startups vs biotechnology and life sciences. In most states it’s harder for general tech companies to draw this kind of support from the government.

In the case of the Wisconsin bill, startups in agricultural technology, information technology, engineered products, advanced manufacturing, medical devices, and imaging are all eligible for the new funding.

While biotechnology and life sciences companies can create jobs over a much longer period of time, Wisconsin is looking for companies that can create jobs quicker.

“The $25 million allocated for this program in the state budget will help grow private sector jobs by investing in start-up companies,” Walker said in a statement. “One hundred percent of the funds from this program will go to Wisconsin-based businesses, and there are a number of measures in place to ensure accountability and transparency for the hard-working taxpayers.”

Fox11online.com reports that the $25 million dollars in tax payer money will be matched with $50 million in private donations.

“I hope that once success is shown, it will lead to additional measures to increase the amount of capital for new businesses and more Wisconsin jobs,” Walker said in a statement.


White House Responds To DeathStar Petition: We Don’t Support Blowing Up Planets


“This Isn’t the Petition Response You’re Looking For

The Obama administration created the “We The People” petitioning platform in his first term. We The People is a petitioning platform on the official White House website.

If a petition is started on the website and it garners more than 25,000 signatures by the people within 30 days, the White House will respond to the petition.

On November 14, 2012 a petition was created to “secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.

In accordance with the We The People program guidelines the petition garnered over 25,000 signatures. The White House dignified the petition with a well thought out response. While the response was a bit witty it also highlighted some of the advancements the U.S has made in the space program.

Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, began the official White House response:

The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense,” begins Shawcross, “but a Death Star isn’t on the horizon.” He cites a Lehigh University study that calculated that a Death Star would cost a deficit-exploding $852,000,000,000,000,000 (that’s $852 quadrillion), notes that ”the Administration does not support blowing up planets,” and rightly points out that it would be foolhardy to build a space station “with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship.”reported Entertainment Weekly

Petitions ranging from seceding from the union, to a petition to get Pierce Morgan deported.

Facebook’s Sandberg And Google’s Schmidt Being Considered For Cabinet Position?

Facebook,Google, Eric Schmidt, Sheryl Sandberg, Barack Obama, TreasuryNow that the votes have been counted and Barack Obama has been elected to a second term as President Of The United States, his administration is preparing to shuffle the cabinet around.

While many are expecting Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to step down from her post to run for President in 2016, another post that needs to be filled immediately is Secretary of The Treasury. Politico reported on Thursday that while Obama has had a very stable cabinet in his first term, almost the entire cabinet could be replaced in this second term.

Rumors have been running rampant about Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. There’s been wide spread speculation that President Obama has been looking at Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt for the Treasury position going back to July of 2011.

While insiders feel that White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew is a shoe in for the post at Treasury, counselor to the President Pete Rouse has been vetting Fortune 500 CEO’s for the Treasury position for the past few months.

This time around, Eric Schmidt is on the short list of possibilities as is Facebook CFO Sheryl Sandberg. Sandberg once served as Treasury Chief of Staff under Larry Summers and according to Politico, “Obama clearly likes her”.

One of Mitt Romney’s strengths in the 2012 election was his experience running big business at Bain Capital. It seems that Obama may give the nod to Sandberg or Schmidt, both of whom have the experience running major Fortune 500 companies, that could be pivotal over the next 4 years in building our economy back up.


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Philadelphia The Founder City, To Invest $3.5 Million In Startups

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A Nutter announced today that the city of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation has created a joint two-tiered investment and grant making initiative called “Startup PHL”. Philadelphia is looking to spur more innovation and encourage startups to move to the city of brotherly love.

In a video Nutter talks about Philadelphia being home to the most important startup of all , the United States of America. Now 200 years later Nutter is looking to attract more founders to the city.

To do this Philadelphia is issuing an RFP for a private investment firm to match and manage a $3 million dollar investment from the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation to establish the Startup PHL Seed Fund. The RFP deadline is December 7th. Those startups receiving investment from the Startup PHL seed fund will either need to be in Philadelphia or relocate to Philadelphia to meet a yet to be established residency requirement.

The other $500,000 will come in the form of grants. For that, the City’s commerce department has put out a call for ideas. They’re looking for “innovative, exciting proposals for ideas and programs that support startups and entrepreneurs of all stripes in Philadelphia” In a release they said:  “the goal of this fund is to make grants to proposals that enhance collaboration in the startup community; attract new entrepreneurs from both within and outside the city; foster networks for entrepreneurs to collaborate with each other, mentors, talent and investors and ultimately lead to more business and job creation in Philadelphia.”

In the government/private partnership for the Startup PHL seed fund the private firm will handle all of the investment decisions. Longtime Nutter aide Luke Butler says he hopes that the seed fund will start making it’s first investments as early as summer 2013.

It’s obvious that this is a “startup community” initiative as much as it is a technology investment initiative. It’s evident that Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s “Return of Community” is starting to pop up in other cities.

“We have broader goals than a return on investment, but we’re hoping to leverage a relatively small public investment that generates more private capital that highlights this important sector and conveys momentum here,” Butler said. “The tech sector is an important part of our economy in that it’s going to be a driver of job creation and is [a way of] keeping college grads here,”

New York, Boston, Austin, Seattle and Baltimore all have government/private partnerships in one form or another to drive early stage investments in startups and keep them in their cities. Las Vegas has a $350 million dollar private initiative from Hsieh to revitalize the downtown area through startups, tech, education and real estate to make downtown Las Vegas a more serendipitous place for entrepreneurs and recently relocated Zappos employees.

Local startup investor and supporter Brad Dennenberg of Seed Philly told nibletz in regards to today’s announcement:

“Today’s announcement marks a significant step towards putting Philadelphia’s startup ecosystem on the national map.  Philly is now one of just a few cities in the country with city-backed funding, proving the area’s dedication to growing and retaining high growth (and high paying) companies. With the cost of launching a minimum viable product now lower than ever before, this fund should make a significant impact in a short period of time. I couldn’t be more excited! “

While technology is typically the focus in startup initiatives like this Butler says they want to hear everything.

“If you have an idea, an organization or individual, that supports growing business, jobs in the city, we want to hear it, whatever it is,” he added Technically Philly Reported.


Startup PHL is here

Startup PHL’s call for ideas is here

Everywhereelse is here


Wisconsin Elected Official: Romney/Ryan Bad For Startups

Just hours ago Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney announced that seven time Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan would be his Vice Presidential running mate in 2012. While we stay out of politics for the most part here at nibletz.com, this presidential election is important to startups, founders and entrepreneurs.

Of course we are all familiar with big government bailouts that some may not necessarily agree with. However, we are also well aware of the work that the current administration has done in terms of advancing startups and entrepreneurism across the country. Most notable were the formation of the Startup America Partnership and the passing of the JOBS act.

Congressman Paul Ryan is in his seventh term as the US Representative for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District. Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget committee and is often cited for his views on economic policy.

We reached out to Madison WI Alderman, Scott Resnick who is also very active in the startup and entrepreneurial community across the state of Wisconsin, for his comment on the Ryan appointment.  Resnick told nibletz.com:”

“The Paul Ryan budget is highlighted by de-funding higher education, decreasing government grants for cutting-edge research, and increasing student loan rates. The Romney/Ryan ticket will weaken the talent pool of high quality engineers and put the US further behind other nations in adopting innovation technologies.”

We will stand alongside the bi-partisan Startup America Partnership and Startup RockOn at both the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention in support of Startups as a whole.

But in going to the polls this year it’s important to see where entrepreneur and startups will be effected most.

To opine for just a moment:

Many of the entrepreneurs and founders we talk to (and we talk with hundreds per week), were almost forced into entrepreneurship as the country tries to recover from the economic crisis that was left after the previous administration. Some of these entrepreneurs have faired very well, some have been able to create stable businesses. None of them just sat around waiting for a government check.To make things harder for startups and entrepreneurs when it’s already hard enough to get a “job” would be mind boggling.

To this issue only it should be pretty clear where I will vote.


Check out our interview with Scott Resnick on Open Data


Tampa Startup: Citizinvestor Looks To CrowdFund Neighborhood Projects

Digital strategist turned entrepreneur Jordan Raynor of Tampa Florida is working on a new and exciting startup in the crowdfunding space. I’m sure you’re wondering how can anyone be working on something “new and exciting” in the crowdfunding space, well read on and you’ll understand.

The first thing you need to know about Raynor is that he is a realist of sorts. Check out his personal website here and you’ll see that Raynor doesn’t pull any punches and he’s not wrapped up in self loathing bull shit. Most of his career as a digital strategist has been spent solving problems in government and politics through technology, which is exactly what he’s doing with his new startup Citizinvestor.

After being tipped off about Citizinvestor it was Raynor’s description of the platform that easily brought the idea home for me. Remember those days when a neighborhood would hold a yardsale, bake sale or spaghetti dinner to get new playground equipment, street signs repainted, or trees planted? Well Citizinvestor takes those ideas and puts them on the web for 2012. In the same manner that traditional, self crowdfunding takes panhandling to the internet.

There are so many civic projects that get shelved for one reason and one reason only, and that’s because they can’t get funded. Some new data analysts needed to crunch the numbers of how many Coke bottles vs how many Pepsi bottles were recycled last month’s salary is more important than replacing that slide that’s been ripping holes in the skin of the towns children for months. (boy that was a run on sentence).

The mulch at the neighborhood entrance that hasn’t been replaced in 12 years somehow keeps ending up on the bottom of the budget list.

So Citizinvestor has a couple of really cool purposes.

1. The platform helps raise the money for the projects that really matter to the people.

2. It puts the power in the hands of the people. If people stand up and donate for the new playground equipment, the city manager can’t take that money and buy more sticky notes.

3. It empowers the people.

Of course some may be outraged by this idea for crowdfunding civic projects. They may feel that it’s the responsibility of the government using the tax money they provide to the government. With that mentality though, projects will continue to get shelved so that more “important” budget line items can use those tax dollars.

I think as far as playgrounds, parks, library books are concerned, when people use Citizinvestor for those projects they’ll take ownership of them. After the slide and the swings are replaced, the townspeople may see how easy it is to come together and get things done and that the bureaucracy, while needed, can be cut through like a large ginsu knife on a stick of melted butter, when people ban together using Citizinvestor.


Check out Raynor’s personal blog here, it’s actually pretty good.

Here’s the link for Citizinvestor

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We Talk With Madison City Councilman Scott Resnick About Open Data

By day Scott Resnick is the Vice President and partner in Hardin Design & Development in Madison Wisconsin. The company is a creative app powerhouse with a client roster that includes Mercedes, Toyota,Coleman Campers and Fedex. Hardin Design & Development continues on a trajectory of explosive growth and is currently expanding to Chicago.

After that Resnick is also an influencer in Madison’s thriving tech startup scene. There are a great bunch of people that seem to know everything going on in Madison, and that’s not because it’s a small town. They have a lot of centralized startup events and even shoulder groups that meet every month who are focused on things like health tech and hacking.

The list of resources for Madison startups would be reminiscent of a city with a million people. Madison has just a quarter of that. On our two days of office hours in Madison we learned about Capital Entrepreneurs, Madison Startup Weekend, Build Madison, Forward Technology Festival and some shoulder groups. Resnick is involved with almost all of these.

If that’s not enough to keep one man busy he’s married and he’s also a Madison Alderperson or CityCouncilman (depending on what PC hat you’re wearing today).

There are a lot of causes that Resnick supports and ran on including keeping the safety, alcohol, landlord tenant laws and open data.

The first three platforms are pretty self explanatory. As for open data, Resnick wrote the legislation for Madison to open up their public data so that developers could develop apps around it.  Resnick said that any record that can be requested by open record requests can be available via open data.

Once he was able to get the data opened Madison went to work holding a Startup Weekend event to develop startups and apps surrounded by the data.

He gave us a couple examples of projects that came out of the open data hackathon. One was a startup that wanted to do pet health records. The entrepreneur went to work using pet license data available from the city to start developing the pet health records product.

Resnick told us that vendor carts are a big part of downtown Madison. Most recently the vendor cart licensing data and location for where they’re allowed to vend is kept on note cards. They have someone interested in producing an app to locate vendor carts and if this data goes electronic they can.

Madison was the second city in the nation to have their public data opened like this. New York as the first. Resnick told us there are many municipalities who have started toying with the idea but haven’t fully adopted it yet so they don’t have to necessarily give access to all the records.

Resnick is hoping the next step for Madison is to allow city API’s to go from “pushing the data to pulling the data”. When that’s available entrepreneurs will be able to create apps and startups for things like reporting a problem to a city. Resnick says many municipalities do this wrong. Most city’s use some kind of form emailed to a city manager or engineer and then the city manager or engineer uses their internal system to communicate job tickets and distribute projects.

When Resnick’s next vision for data is set in motion developers could develop an app that would allow resident’s to add their job to the queue, all of this done of course, by third party applications.


Check out Resnicks Day Job Here

Article from Capital Entrepreneur’s on the open data initiative

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Have A Startup Idea For The President, Or The Government? Better Get To Disrupt

If you have a startup idea for the President of the United States or the United States government you want to make sure you’re at TechCrunch Disrupt starting on Monday at Pier 94 in New York City. The nibletz team will be on hand to see a great panel featuring the President’s technology “gurus” US CTO Todd Park and US CIO Steven VanRoekel.

According to TechCrunch’s Gregory Ferenstein, Park and Van Roekel will not only be introducing attendees to new technological government initiatives but they’ll be looking for startups to partner with the White House as well as individuals who may want to take their tech career straight up the flag pole.

We can expect the nation’s top two technology leaders to talk about the government’s blue button initiative for universal access to health records, and it’s green button initiative centered around energy.

If you don’t have a Disrupt ticket yet, you can get one here. And of course if you’re a startup from “everywhere else” presenting, exhibiting or attending Disrupt NYC then make sure you’re on our schedule too by emailing disrupt@nibletz.com.

Source: TechCrunch



[Updated] Anonymous Denies Attack Yet Pirate Bay Still Downed By DDoS Attack

Down goes the ship. That’s what’s been happening over at Pirate Bay for the last couple of day. The popular torrent site has been plagued by  non-stop DDoS attacks. Known to be one of the most prolific sites for illegal torrents(Simply, a torrent is data about a target file, though it contains no information about the content of the file. The only data that the torrent holds is information about the location of different pieces of the target file. Torrents work by dividing the target file into small information chunks, found on an unlimited number of different hosts. Through this method, torrents are able to download large files quickly) As well as legal torrents. However, in recent times the site has come under legal attack in Europe by forcing ISP’s to block access to the site.

In reaction to that, Anonymous has targeted multiple sites, including UK’s Virgin Media, which Pirate Bay actually condemned them for those actions. However, Anonymous has sent out multiple comments on different social sites claiming those attacks on Pirate Bay are not their doing.

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Startup in Space: Skybox Imaging Raises $70M to revolutionize Satellite Imagery

San Francisco:  Skybox Imaging announced they had raised $70 million (US) in Series C financing. Led by Canaan Partners and Norwest Venture Partners, including Bessemer Venture Partners and CrunchFund.  Khosla Ventures was involved in this round after financing Skybox in their Series A $3 million (US) and Series B $18 million (US) – Bessemer Venture Partners was involved in Series B as well.

What is Skybox Imaging? From their website:

Skybox Imaging is a commercial remote sensing startup seeking to revolutionize access to information that describes the daily activity on our planet. Founded in 2009, Skybox is designing, manufacturing, and operating the world’s first coordinated constellation of high-resolution microsatellites in order to deliver timely imagery and video of any spot in the world. Skybox headquarters is in Mountain View, California.  For more information, please visitwww.skyboximaging.com and follow Skybox Imaging on Twitter.

Basically they seem to have come up with “micro-satellites” which they will use in an extraterrestrial network of many micro-satellites. They have found a way to cut the costs involved in satellite production and operation by very significant margin and thus have likely been able to gain a number of significant clients from Big Government, Relief Organizations, perhaps Google*.  As Michael Arrington said over on his site

If a company was able to do that, and put a satellite into space at a small fraction of the current cost, they’d likely be able to lock down a number of high profile customers for a variety of previously cost-prohibitive applications. Confidentiality agreements and U.S. export regulations might prohibit that company from disclosing much, or any, of that information.

But investors would obviously have access to that information. You can draw your own conclusions as to why the company is hiring big data engineers in droves…”

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Omaha: Food Fight App For Restaurant Ratings Wins Hack Omaha

Quick take every preconceived notion you have about a restaurant ratings app and throw it out the window. We’re not going to be talking about the next Urbanspoon or Open Table or even the next Venga. But to set the stage we need to talk about Hack Omaha first.

The Hack Omaha challenge was this past weekend in Omaha Nebraska. The event was a three-day event, similar to a startup weekend, which started on Friday and ended this past Sunday at 6:00pm. During this time the “hacker” teams needed to use some portion of publicly available government data and turn into something useful, or in Omaha Food Fight’s case, useful and fun.

While you’re probably thinking crime prevention heat maps, city park guides, community planning apps, and things like that, those were all represented but Omaha Food Fight took the cake (you see what we did there?).

The other teams were:

Safeomaha.org- An interactive crime heat map.

Omaha Bounty Hunter- “The Price Is Right” for stolen property values.

Play Safe Omaha- Map of safe places for kids to play.

Valuation and Comparison Interface: a property value comparison app.

HSW Project- relationships revolving around campaign finance.

Slum Lord Next Door- Search neighborhoods for major code violations

Is It Clean- is the place you’re going to eat at safe.

Voting Registration app- needs no description.

Omaha Food Fight- The winner.

(source: SPN)

More after the break
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Member Of Anonymous, Arrested Thanks To A Picture Of His Girlfriend

FBI officials, thanks to a photo uploaded by Higinio O. Ochoa or as he likes to be called “Anonw0rmer”,part of the “CabinCr3w”, was arrested thanks to the Data on a photo he uploaded. A 30 year old Linux administrator Ochoa was part of “Operation Pig Roast” which accessed sites belonging to law enforcement groups and releasing personal information via Paste Bin like so many other Anonymous hacks in the past.


The photo in question that lead to the arrest as well as other small information left by Ochoa is what lead authorities to his apartment. After the photo started who did the hack,

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FCC Chairman Genachowski & Senator Frank Lautenberg Announce New Jersey Apps Challenge

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was in New Jersey with Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) on Wednesday to announce the New Jersey Apps Challenge and a new piece of legislation to foster American innovation.

The New Jersey Apps Challenge is of course a mobile apps design contest between three New Jersey universities. Students at Stevens, Rutgers and the New Jersey Institute of Technology are invited to participate in this statewide contest. The contest is open to students, faculty and alumni of the three institutions.

“The New Jersey Apps Challenge” will accept built-from-scratch mobile apps through December 31, 2012. A panel of judges will evaluate entries based on several metrics, including overall utility and potential commercial success. Winners will be selected from each university to meet with the university presidents, and one overall winner will meet with Dennis Crowley, CEO of foursquare, to pitch the winning idea.

“New Jersey’s students and entrepreneurs are on the cutting edge, and the apps challenge will showcase this next generation of New Jersey innovators,” said Senator Lautenberg. “From Thomas Edison to Albert Einstein to Bell Labs, New Jersey has long been the birthplace of new ideas that have transformed our economy and our world. By bringing the brightest minds in business and academia together, we can help ensure that New Jersey continues to build on its rich tradition of innovation.”

Genachowski added: “New Jersey has all the key ingredients to become a great engine of job-creating innovation: talent, world-class research universities, infrastructure, and access to capital. I’m glad that New Jersey leaders like those here today are working to encourage collaboration and entrepreneurship in the apps economy. It’s a low-cost but potentially high-yield way for young people to build their business skills and practice being an entrepreneur without quitting their day jobs or interrupting their education.”

The “America Innovates Act” will help universities and other research institutions grow “proof of concept funds” The legislation will also provide innovators with the business development training they need to take their ideas to market.

Anonymous To China, This Is Just A Start Of Things To Come

We reported how on 30 March, Anonymous took down some Chinese government websites in reactions to human conditions in which Anon believe China is depriving its citizens of. One of those who “control” the @AnonymousChina tells Reuters

First we want to alert the Chinese government that we aren’t afraid, and we are going to show the truth and fight for justice

This isn’t the first time that Anonymous has gone after a government in which they believe have done wrong. This past weekend, another wing of Anonymous went after the British governments websites for actions it also did.

Yes, we are planning more attacks, a few at a time, the plan was to take down the “Great Firewall of China

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