Forward Technology Festival Starts Today!

The 9th anniversary edition of High Tech Happy Hour has kicked off Madison’s first Forward Technology Festival, a series of events over the next eleven days designed to encourage interaction and collaboration across the area’s technology, business and creative communities. Other Festival events include the Capital Entrepreneur’s open social, the Forward Technology Conference, Madison BarCamp, and a Sector67 workshop. Supporting organizations include Accelerate Madison, Design Madison, Madison MAGNET and MERLIN Mentors.

“Think of the Forward Technology Festival as a ‘Taste of Madison’ for technology and business networking organizations,” said Matt Younkle, a Festival co-organizer. “Madison already has many networking groups which is a great thing. FTF aims to strengthen the start-up, tech and creative communities by providing an opportunity for members from all of these organizations to interact with one another at a variety of events in fun settings.”

The one-day Forward Technology Conference on August 27 is unique in that it has been designed by entrepreneurs for the benefit of other entrepreneurs. The conference includes sessions like Startups 101, a panel of business founders with businesses at various stages of development and capitalization, All About LLCs, where an experienced attorney and CPA are paired to discuss the a common structure for new startups, and Pitch Your Biz, a rapid-fire feedback forum for early stage entrepreneurs. The keynote speaker is Fred Foster, the founder and CEO of Electronic Theatre Controls.

The main networking event for the Festival is the evening reception that takes place Friday, August 27 at 6 pm at Memorial Union. Neider & Boucher, a Madison-based law firm and long-time supporter of the local entrepreneurial community is the presenting sponsor for the Festival.

The Festival organizers, all local entrepreneurs, hope to see the combination of educational and networking events strengthen Madison’s creative culture.

“We’re trying to build, in a very grass-roots way, the foundation for a major annual event that could become the Midwest equivalent of South by Southwest,” said Nathan Lustig, one of the Festival co-organizers, referring to the popular series of festivals and conferences that take place each year in Austin, Texas.

“The Madison area is the epicenter of the Midwest creative community,” added Bryan Chan, another co-organizer. “It really makes sense to launch something like this here.”

More information about the Forward Technology Festival, including links to register to take part in the various events, can be found at

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