Longtime Fine Point friend and successful entrepreneur Toni Sikes is in the news again for starting up yet another business.
Sikes, an experienced entrepreneur who played roles in the start-up phases of several online businesses and co-founded Calumet Venture Fund, and her business partner Terry Maxwell, an angel investor and UW-Madison finance professor, plan to launch Sikes’ latest online business this fall. Aiming to connect designers, architects and other art consultants with commissioned artists from around the world (and their works), The Art Commission is Sikes’ latest startup in a long string of successful business ventures.
Sikes has already guided two niche networking websites through the start-up phases, and she and Maxwell hope The Art Commion’s subscription-based business model will evolve into something of a “LinkedIn for the creative world,” per the article linked to above. Along with a staff of eight, they hope to launch a beta version of the site in September.
More from the article:
While it’s not a shock that Sikes and friends would start yet another company – some entrepreneurs are incurable – the location for The Art Commission may come as a surprise.
Sikes and Maxwell had the resources to open just about anywhere, but they chose to set up shop in the Gener8tor accelerator space on Madison’s Capitol Square – amidst a group of much younger entrepreneurs. Gener8tor is a business accelerator with space in Milwaukee and Madison, and which is steaming toward its own Aug. 23 launch party at Milwaukee’s Discovery World.
“I wanted to be in a place where there are lots of other entrepreneurs,” said Sikes, who is already helping out by listening to company pitches from young startups.
Gener8tor helps grow businesses by providing them seed funding, covering costs and helping them identify customers.
“Many accelerators don’t know what they are doing,” Sikes said, “but I think the Gener8tor team is doing a great job.”
Startups come from all kinds of places – from experienced entrepreneurs who want another challenge, and from young people with little more than an idea and a dream. The presence of The Art Commission inside Gener8tor offers the best of both approaches for Wisconsin’s startup economy.