Beyond the common stock-image stereotype applied to the “tech scene,” each ecosystem has its own unique set of opportunities and challenges. City Snapshot offers a magnified look at a select community’s work and hustle.

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1. Tell us a bit about tech in your city. What is the culture like, and how does it shape the tech ecosystem?
The city of Madison, Wisconsin is quickly building a global reputation as a technological innovation and entrepreneurial hub. Madison itself has heavily influenced and shaped this progressive effort. The unique cultural and environmental virtues, such as the several natural lakeshores and economically friendly living, make the city very culpable. Being quite small, it also becomes easy to regularly interact with fellow tech professionals. The city’s tight-knit characteristics result in a powerful degree of trust to collaborate and innovate. When all is considered, residents feel a sense of community in Madison, leading them to put down roots and support the local tech ecosystem.

2. What’s special about the tech scene in Madison that isn’t offered by other tech communities? What is the strength of Madison’s ecosystem that often goes unrecognized?
Madison is unique to house one of the world’s premier research universities, the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Many would say that UW-Madison has shaped the local tech sector in one manner or another. The university not only produces incredible erudite but also acts as a boundless source of pure research and support for increased commercialization of that research. In an incredibly distinctive arrangement, the institution’s faculty and students maintain ownership of their intellectual property through WARF (Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation) to fund further commercialization, resulting in increased retainment of preeminent researchers and faculty.

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3. What would you like to see more of in the tech ecosystem in Madison? Which initiatives, advancements, etc.?
Beyond the university and collaborative culture, Madison’s tech community would reap great benefits from an increased national level awareness. Investment funding and recruitment are hindered due to a sheer lack of knowledge about Madison and all it has to offer. Initially, the biggest challenge is to attract the proper investors and innovators, because convincing them to stay is effortless in comparison. An initiative to increase the regional diversity could result in increased recognition for Madison as a racially, ethnically, and sexually diverse city to stay aligned with national initiatives. Successful alliance to national trends and community sustainment will be instrumental for Madison to avoid downturns for the tech scene.

4. How would you describe Madison’s role in your city’s tech ecosystem? Where do you fit in?
Catalyze, Inc. as an organization is heavily contributing to the national awareness initiative for Madison. By partnering with some of the largest tech companies in the world, such as Amazon, Salesforce, and Microsoft, the industry’s key players are forced to recognize Madison’s growing presence. Beyond that, Catalyze’s cloud-based product offerings, Stratum and Redpoint, are being utilized by companies across the country as solutions to host and integrate technologies securely into national healthcare systems. With ever-increasing cyber security threats, hospitals are now stringent on receiving the highest degree of compliance from their partners. Catalyze provides that assurance and is building a widespread reputation that could result in Catalyze’s product offerings becoming the national standard for healthcare compliance.

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5. Which other organizations in the city do you collaborate with?
Catalyze, Inc. partners with some of the nation’s most reputable digital health companies, but thankfully some of our own neighbors carry that recognition, such as Propeller Health. A leading digital health company focused on improving outcomes in chronic and respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD, Propeller Health was presented with two unique challenges to integrating its solution into a children’s hospital. To make the integration seamless, Catalyze worked with Propeller Health to combine the two accounts (patient and caregiver) on the vendor side. Mandating some creative engineering, the two companies spent the majority of their initial resources, energy, and time scoping the project. Catalyze’s process, expertise, and reputation is what led Propeller Health to partner with Catalyze to achieve successful implementation and satisfaction from all parties involved. By collaborating with local partners, greater recognition is brought to Madison as a technological hub.

6. What do you think Madison will look like in 5 years?
The Midwest has yet to have a city establish itself as the region’s tech capital, but the title is in reach for Madison. With a community that supports tech as an economically practical, regional investment, the city could be named the Midwest tech powerhouse. By being a powerhouse, Madison can expect a boom in population by attracting young talent and diversified startup ventures. With an increasing demand for space, an increased cost of living can be expected but it is highly unlikely to ever reach the price point of other major tech cities like San Francisco or New York — further contributing to Madison’s appeal. Even with a greater populace, Madison’s unique sense of community will remain. People are attracted to Madison for the sense of community, among other reasons, and with a large collaborative community success is imminent.

This article is contributed by Travis Good, MD., CEO and Chief Privacy Officer of Catalyze, Inc.

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