The Creative Company: Dane County companies boosted through Madison Development Corporation loans

MADISON, WI — Five growing Dane County businesses have received a capital infusion of $1.6 million through Venture Debt Fund loans from the Madison Development Corporation (MDC).

Among the enterprises receiving 2020 loans through MDC’s Venture Debt fund are: 

  • Image Mover: $250,000 for development of an app that allows images to be uploaded directly to the Epic Systems platform without breaking HIPPA rules. 
  • StartingBlock Madison: $250,000 for space for start-up and early-stage companies located in American Family Insurance’s SPARK building on East Washington Avenue.
  • Simple Machines: $400,000 to develop a chip technology that provides software-controlled hardware that is fast, power-efficient, and area-efficient.
  • Mobile22: $250,000 for development of Transport-as-a-Service technology platform that manages and optimizes mobility. It’s designed to help organizations manage their fleets, drivers, demand and fulfillment.  
  • SmartUQ: $400,000 for a predictive analytics and uncertainty quantification software tool that incorporates real world variables.

“This loan through MDC will help us leverage resources in creating software solutions that will improve the patient experience and make life more convenient,” said Kevin Houlihan, Chief Executive Officer of Image Mover. “Having access to a local entity like MDC focused on helping businesses grow and create jobs is a real plus for the Madison business community.”

Since the Venture Debt Fund was founded in 2004 by MDC and over a dozen institutional investors (including local banks, MGE, and area Economic Development Corporations), the Fund has made 67 loans totaling $19.6 million to 56 Madison companies. In 2020, investment from the Fund helped create 329 new jobs. Since inception, fund loans have helped create over 2,000 jobs in Dane County. The average loan size is $350,000. 

“Our Venture Debt Fund has assisted entrepreneurial companies grow and invest in talented people who live and work here,” said Lorrie Heinemann, MDC president and chief executive officer. “In turn, these enterprises are driving innovation and further solidifying Madison as an entrepreneurial, high-tech growth hub.”

Fostering creative start-up businesses and creating high quality jobs in Dane County is key for the community banks and local institutional investors who participate in the Venture Debt Fund.

“Our community benefits when local companies innovate, grow and hire new employees,” said John Drury, Senior Business Development Manager at Madison Gas and Electric, a lead investor in the Fund. “We’re proud to invest in our community through the Venture Debt Fund, which gives promising businesses resources at pivotal times so they can grow and thrive.”

The Venture Debt Fund draws collaborative funding from local organizations including: Bank of Sun Prairie, Capitol Bank, City of Fitchburg, First Business Bank, Madison Gas and Electric, Middleton Area Development Corp, Monona Bank, Oak Bank, Old National Bank, One Community Bank, Park Bank, River Valley Bank, Settlers Bank, Starion Financial, State Bank of Cross Plains, and Town Bank. The Fund also just received a $300,000 Capital Catalyst investment from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

“These are challenging and exciting times for companies driving change,” Fund Chair Mary Strickland said. “The MDC Venture Debt Fund is proud to partner with visionary leaders who are growing their companies here in Dane County.”

Madison Development Corporation is a non-profit organization that owns and manages 348 affordable workforce housing units in the Madison area and provides financing for hard-to-finance businesses in Dane County. Since 1977, MDC has provided loans to more than 450 businesses totaling over $35 million, which helped them create over 5,000 quality jobs in Dane County.