StartingBlock meets $3 million fundraising goal

StartingBlock has hit its $3 million fundraising goal as it looks to become a startup hub on Madison’s East Washington Avenue.

The nonprofit group will be housed in an eight-story American Family building that will be called “The Spark,” which has yet to go through the city’s approval process. And it will offer subsidized rent to startups who need space.

“This will be one of the largest public-private partnerships focused on economic development in Wisconsin,” StartingBlock Executive Director Scott Resnick said. “We hope that we will be a beacon for entrepreneurship in the Midwest, and it’s a major play forward for Madison.”

Half of the $3 million came from the city of Madison, while WEDC is putting in $752,000. Other notable financial backers include UW-Madison and Madison Gas & Electric, though Resnick said 80 people or groups donated to the effort.

Resnick said he’s heard from nearly 30 startups that are interested in moving to the building, a number that is “growing at a daily basis.”

The goal, he said, is to break ground by the end of the year and open in late 2017 or early 2018.

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–By Polo Rocha,