Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce: Announces finalists for Pressure Chamber

Contact: Erik Greenfield, Communications Manager, 608-443-1952 (office), 608-669-7884 (cell)

Five local startups to compete Aug. 16 for the opportunity to pitch top Silicon Valley investors this fall

MADISON – Today the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce announced the five finalists competing in this year’s Pressure Chamber startup program, which returns Aug. 16 to kick off Forward Festival, an eight-day celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation in Madison. The popular initiative includes participation and support from active regional investment firms, as well as the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Pressure Chamber is a “Shark Tank”-style contest in which emerging companies will pitch in front of a panel of regional investors, business executives and a live audience. The winning company is decided based on a combination of judges’ scoring and audience votes.

The 2018 Pressure Chamber finalists are:

  • AmebaGone – Harnesses the power of the soil microbiome to develop safe, sustainable solutions to treat plant disease.
  • Breathe For Change – Co-creates the global education system of the future in which all students and teachers unleash the potential of their mind, body and spirit, with trainings that certify educators as experts in wellness and social-emotional learning and a platform that empowers teachers to transform their lives, relationships and communities.
  • DataChat – Democratizes data analytics by allowing users to glean insights from data by simply holding a conversation with a chatbot in plain English and enabling business users to “drive” through data using a (patented) conversational approach, discovering patterns they couldn’t have before and in a timely fashion.
  • GymDandy – Helps parks, schools and sport complexes sell, schedule and manage their athletic space online, making booking a gym, field, diamond, rink or court as easy as booking a hotel room.
  • LÜM – A social music discovery application that focuses exclusively on the growth of emerging artists and gamifies music streaming for the next generation of fans and musicians.

“Greater Madison is Ground Level for the Next Big Thing, and the innovative startups who will compete at this year’s Pressure Chamber prove it,” said Chamber President Zach Brandon. “Following the recent acquisition of inaugural champion Fishidy and other past Pressure Chamber winners having closed successful funding roads, we look forward to experiencing even more of what makes this the region’s apex live pitch contest.” 

The winning company receives the coveted “golden suitcase,” a trip to San Francisco this October as part of the Chamber’s exclusive Madison-area startup delegation for meetings with top Silicon Valley investment firms. Past Pressure Chamber winners have credited the initiative for helping their company close successful funding rounds. Additionally, Pressure Chamber has been recognized by both the International Economic Development Council and Steve Case’s Rise of the Rest Summit as an entrepreneurship and economic development best practice. Participating companies have included EatStreet, Propeller Health, Redox, Datica, Fetch Rewards, HealthMyne, Cardigan, AkitaBox, Moxe, DotCom Therapy, Fishidy, bluDiagnostics, POLCO and more.

Pressure Chamber returns this year as part of neXXpo, a showcase of some of Greater Madison’s most exciting companies that includes attendee voting for the third annual Most Innovative Company (MIC) award. To register for these events, visit

Pressure Chamber is presented by Michael Best & Friedrich, with support from the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, American Family Ventures, Baird Capital, 4490 Ventures, HealthX Ventures, Lindsay Stone & Briggs and Rock River Capital Partners.

Pressure Chamber finalists are available for interviews upon request. 

For more information about Forward Fest, please visit