In our continuing series on Leaders and Influencers, we talk with Andrew Conley, Executive Director of 100state and co-founder of Townsquare, a platform that connects co-working spaces and automates co-working management tools.
Tell us about 100state and some of the accomplishments you’ve been most proud of as Executive Director.
100state is a nonprofit collaborative community of over 190 entrepreneurs, freelancers, problem-solvers, and community leaders in Madison. It’s a place to come for inspiration, for collaboration, and to have a positive impact in Madison. I think that most people have amazing ideas quite frequently; 100state is a place where people surround themselves with others who are actually pursuing those ideas.
As Executive Director, I’m really proud of a few things:
- Providing a home for Madison’s ambitious creatives. By far the number one piece of feedback that I receive that reminds me of the power of what we built is that people were alone in their endeavors before we came along. Now they have a place to call home.
- Strengthening our membership. Not just growing it from ~20 to ~190, but really strengthening the bonds of our members. Our team has done this by improving our workspace environment, building new avenues for members to have input (our members council), and by raising the bar on what it means to be a 100state member.
- Building a team at 100state. When I started, it was just a couple of founders (myself included) working on making this thing float. Now we have 3 full-time paid staff and 1 paid intern who are helming our ship.
- Fostering our members’ output. In 2014 alone, we saw 25 startups started, 18 community projects worked on, and ~1500 hours worth of events on our calendar.
What’s the single most important change you’d like to see to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship in our community?
It’s been really great to see what’s happened over the last 2-5 years in Madison. The community has seen a number of new organizations building the infrastructure for innovation and entrepreneurship. What we really need now is strong collaboration between all of those groups to tie them together to create a roadmap for budding entrepreneurs. The university needs to play a big role in it but not be the owner; they need to connect to Madison’s entrepreneurial organizations and industry leaders to create a solid environment.
What book do you think every aspiring entrepreneur should read and why?
Great question, but it’s hard to just pick one. I would say to start with Peter Thiel’s Zero to One. Peter has a track record of amazing companies as well as great investments. His book is an easy read for the neophyte entrepreneur and offers some great advice for how to keep things simple and focus on the true parts of being an entrepreneur.
Tell us about Townsquare and what’s next there.
Townsquare is really coming along. For those that don’t know, Townsquare is a platform that fosters existing collaborative communities and the connections between different communities (whether that be coworking spaces, clubs, universities, etc.). We have 20 communities across the nation operating on the platform and have a big redesign ready for launch early June. While the tool is shaping up and customer demand increases, we’re validating our revenue model. It’s going to be a big summer for Townsquare.
Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help organizations like 100state succeed.
Heath care systems are getting to be one of the most fast paced growing fields for software and technology. There are many systems that are made to integrate with customer’s health records. For example, with my doctor, there is now an app where I can log in and see all my test results from my most recent visit rather than having to wait in the office or make an appointment to come back. That is just one example though. This field is growing like crazy with all the solutions that are being created to make the information available in whichever form needed.
100health, one of our newest clients, is fueled by the desire to remove barriers in healthcare with the goal of allowing innovation and entrepreneurship to flourish. The opportunities for improvement in healthcare are immense given the size and scale of the system’s current inefficiency. There are thousands of entrepreneurs currently working on new products and businesses targeting that inefficiency. Nearly all of them run into the same problem. When it’s time to scale they need to figure out how to integrate their technology with hospitals and clinics.
100health solves this integration problem. Their product, REDOX, provides a single point of contact for healthcare IT companies to plug into, then brings data from all their customers to them in a consistent, safe way. They take on the complexity of integration and make it easy for you. Even better, this product is managed by 100health’s team of integration experts taking care of business so that you don’t have to! Their goal is to make integration simple, fast, and secure. If that’s not convenient then I don’t know what is!
to learn more, meet their wonderful team, and to stay up to date on what this team of geniuses are going to do next.
Yes Wisconsin, you truly are on a roll!
Over the past few weeks Wisconsin has been blowing up the innovation headlines across the globe. Companies ranging from health techs, mobile apps, and traditional manufacturing; Wisconsin just can’t get enough, and we are not upset!
As noted earlier, FIVE Madison Start-ups are in Silicon Valley as we speak, meeting and pitching with five venture capital firms. And if this isn’t great enough, three of our Fine Point Clients (Fishidy, EatStreet, and Propeller Health) are among this elite group of five!
And just a little bit to the east (right down 94-East to be exact), in good ole’ Milwaukee, world-renown Harley Davidson has unveiled a new plan to release an electric motorcycle! According to the Wall Street Journal, the prototype won’t be released for another two years, but this announcement is a large shift for Harley, and their usual technology. We must applaud this 111-year old company for continuing to evolve and reach new customers, like the young urbanites right here in Madison.
Another Fine Point friend, 100Health, has announced the six different portfolio companies they will be working with in their incubator this summer, and we here at Fine Point are no stranger to these names. Among these six, two of the companies were started by our friend Nikolai Skievaski– ICD10Ilustrated.com (client of FPC’s) and Breadcrumbs.
And last but not least, the Doyenne Group, a Madison organization that supports women entrepreneurs, and very dear friends of ours here at Fine Point, announced a pitch contest in August during Madison’s Forward Technology Festival that will award a $5,000 seed grant to the female group winner of their choosing.
What a stellar week for not only Madison but the state of Wisconsin in general! There must be something in the water here, and lets just say I hope we are all drinking it!
(To Read More, visit: http://www.xconomy.com/wisconsin/2014/06/23/wisconsin-roundup-100health-harley-electric-motorcycles-more/)