Leaders and Influencers: An Interview with Forrest Woolworth

Co-founder of Madison’s Capital Entrepreneurs group and COO of mobile gaming company PerBlue, Forrest Woolworth is a “champion of all things entrepreneurial.” He chatted with us about what’s happening on Madison’s entrepreneurial scene, changes he’d like to see, and what’s most rewarding in his work.

Forrest Woolworth

Forrest Woolworth

Tell us about Capital Entrepreneurs.

Capital Entrepreneurs is a community group for Madison area entrepreneurs. We started the group back in 2009 to bring together the then fledgling entrepreneurial community. By connecting those entrepreneurs and forming the “social fabric” to tie them together, Capital Entrepreneurs established much of the foundation for the now burgeoning entrepreneurial ecosystem that has emerged over the last few years in Madison.

What’s the single most important change you’d like to see to encourage more innovation and entrepreneurship in our community?

The concept of “ownership” is extremely important. It’s a principal we use extensively at PerBlue, and relates to an individual taking initiative and responsibility to drive a specific task to completion or solve a specific problem. In order to innovate it’s critical to not only identify a problem (or opportunity), but to actually do something about it. If more people take that initiative to act on something they can improve (big or small), we’ll see more entrepreneurs and more innovation. This applies to tackling problems of all facets of society—not just technical or business challenges, but extending to social issues as well.

What book do you think every aspiring entrepreneur should read and why?

First, Break all the Rules. It’s a great book on building a team, which is critical for any startup. We base many of our management practices at PerBlue on principals from this book and have found them very effective.

What are you most excited about at Capital Entrepreneurs at the moment?

StartingBlock Madison is going to really take Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem to the next level. We’ve been working for over two years to bring this project to reality, and it’s now finally nearing fruition. StartingBlock will be a 50,000 sq. ft. entrepreneurial hub downtown that will house the Sector67 hackerspace, gener8tor startup accelerator, as well as provide coworking and workspaces for startups of all sizes. Construction on the project is anticipated to start later this year.

What do you find most interesting and rewarding in your position as COO at PerBlue?

Getting to build things. Whether that’s helping build a team, a product, or even an entire entrepreneurial community, I love being able to build new things. Seeing those things go on to achieve success and continue to grow is very rewarding.

 

Visit Fine Point Consulting for more information about the great tools and services we use to help start-ups like PerBlue succeed.

 

FPC Client of the Week: Dibbr

Have you ever been looking for leads or a specific market to contact? Have you ever been frustrated not knowing where to look for this information or the results not being useful? Well look no further… our newest client Dibbr now offers solutions these problems!

Dibbr provides customers with verified and validated business email address. First, the team at Dibbr figures out who the customer wants to get in contact with. They then find the email address that match what you requested and send you a spreadsheet listing out these contacts with information including first name, last name, current company, current title, LinkedIn URL and of course their email address. With all the information provided, it then sets up the customer with all the information needed to connect. In addition to providing this information Dibbr goes the extra mile to ensure that all emails provided are validated. They have a test process implemented to ensure that the emails will be received by the server and goes directly to the said individual.

Dibbr offers a few different packages to meet the needs of all requests. There is the monthly fee of $300 which provides customers with 100 emails ($3 per email), there’s the A La Carte which is $100 per batch which provides customers with 25 emails ($4 per email) and there is the sourcing option which allows customers to get a minimum 50 which is ($5 per email).

The awesome tool was created by Steve Kroll, the co-founder and CEO, as he was doing some sales and marketing consulting. He noticed that a common pain point for all these companies was that it was too expensive and inefficient to get in touch with the people they wanted to, and he just knew that there had to be a better way to go about doing this. So, one weekend he went home and put together a prototype. As Steve did work testing and refining, he soon realized how helpful the tool really was. At this point he then decided to share the wealth and commercialize the technology and Dibbr was born!

Check out the website to sign up or learn more here!

FPC Client C-Motive Reaches New Heights

New Motor Under Development by UW-Madison Spin-off

Article Written by: David Tenenbaum

Published by: The University of Wisconsin News

Date: September 8, 2014

 

A tabletop motor using an entirely new driving principle is under development at the headquarters of C-Motive Technologies, a start-up business that is commercializing technology from the College of Engineering at UW-Madison.

“We have proven the concept of a new motor that uses electric fields rather than magnetic fields to transform electricity into a rotary force,” says company co-founder Dan Ludois, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the UW. The distinction may sound minor, but it could solve a number of practical problems while saving money, he explains.

Actually, the concept is not entirely new: Benjamin Franklin and others described and built motors based on electrostatic forces back in the 18th and 19th centuries, but none achieved practical operation. Since the widespread adoption of electric motors a century ago, magnetism has been the only practical source of rotation. Magnetism is easier to exploit than electrostatic fields due to the properties of naturally occurring materials and simple engineering techniques. However, new advances in materials, mechanical engineering and advanced manufacturing may enable electrostatic motors.

In 2011, while Ludois was finishing a Ph.D. thesis at UW-Madison, he realized that instead of relying on magnetic fields, he could achieve a similar result by manipulating electric fields to create a motor based on electrostatic attraction. The new technique, he realized, could deliver major advantages in weight, material cost, operating efficiency and maintenance requirements.

In the motor on display, nested stationary and rotating plates are held hairs-width apart by a unique air-cushioning strategy. An electric voltage delivered to the fixed plates creates an electrostatic field that attracts the rotating plates in a way that forces them to spin.

“A charge builds up on the surfaces of the plates, and if you can manipulate the charge, you can convert electricity into rotary motion or transfer electric power from one set of plates to the other,” says Ludois.

This type of coupling can be used “to power things that move without touching,” Ludois adds.

The breakthrough relies on electronics that precisely control a high-voltage, high-frequency electric field and fluid mechanics to keep the surfaces close without touching. “Nothing is touching, because you are using electric fields to couple the stationary and rotating parts,” Ludois says. “There is no contact, and no maintenance.

“Rather than magnetism, we are using the force that hold your clothes together when you take them out of the drier — electrostatic force. This technique can power anything that needs to move, and that you don’t want to touch while it’s moving.”

Because motors and generators are essentially mirror images of each other, the invention may first meet the market in the form of a generator for wind turbines, an application for which C-Motive Technologies received a Small Business Innovation Research grant for development and research from the National Science Foundation in 2014.

By saving weight and materials, and boosting efficiency, the new design should give the company a bottom-line advantage. The new design avoids the use of precious “rare earth” metals and substitutes aluminum for the more expensive copper found in magnet windings of conventional motors and generators.

When C-Motive was founded, Ludois and co-founders Justin Reed and Micah Erickson were all Ph.D. students. “It’s really hard to beat the world, especially when you start out as three graduate students,” Ludois says.

C-Motive has had its share of help from UW-Madison. Two years ago, the idea won two awards in the G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition, run through the Wisconsin School of Business. C-Motive has also received $100,000 in seed funding from the Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship course, another School of Business resource.

In 2011, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation supported Ludois and his colleagues for patent protection on the discovery, giving them the leverage to pursue additional funding. After six months in the Metro Innovation Center on East Washington Avenue, C-Motive is now housed in an office/lab space near Stoughton Road in Madison to house its five full-time employees, including two of the three founders.

Ludois devotes his evenings to C-Motive, but spends his days in the academic world at UW-Madison.

“I remember as a student, everybody talked about the Wisconsin Idea, that the bounds of the university extend beyond the bounds of the campus,” Ludois says. “Looking ahead, I hope to be part of that ideal by translating my research as a faculty member into society at large. For me, on a personal level, that would certainly bring my efforts full circle.”

 

Article Courtesy of David Tenenbaum at the University of Wisconsin Madison News

Full Article: Please Click Here

 

RISE OF THE REST COMING TO MADISON

 

Silicon Valley…New York City… the start-up and business capitals of the US, but what about those smaller vibrant communities that have entrepreneurs lurking around every corner?  They don’t get as much recognition but they could have the idea of a lifetime.  Well that is exactly what Steve Case thought when he started his campaign and cross country road trip “Rise of the Rest.”  Rise of the Rest is a once in a lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurs in MADISON, Minneapolis, Des Moines, St. Louis, and Kansas City to pitch their entrepreneurial ideas for a chance to win $100,000 in investment from Steve Case.

Rise of the Rest will be held in Madison on October 6th at the Majestic Theatre in Downtown Madison.  The 3 part event starts with a Fireside Chat at 2:30 where entrepreneurs will start their journey by having conversation with Steve Case, Steve Clemons, and other innovators about their dream of starting their own business.  After the chat will be the Pitch Competition, where Madison’s brave entrepreneurs/start ups will compete and pitch their ideas in hopes of earning a $100,000 investment from Steve Case.  After the competition will be the final event: Rise Madison, where the winner will be announced and a start up celebration will commence.

If you think you have what it takes or you just want to attend the once in a lifetime event, head to: Rise of the Rest to sign up or RSVP!

Innovation can be anywhere, in any city, in any person.  It just takes one pitch to change your life, so why not let it?