New website wants to make Madison ‘ground zero’ for health tech

HealthTech Capitol aims to establish Greater Madison as a world-class leader in health innovation

To paraphrase an old adage, if a health technology company operates in Madison and nobody is around to promote it, does it really exist?

It’s a problem a new venture from the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce aims to nip in the bud with the launch last week of HealthTech Capitol, a new website — — dedicated to establishing Greater Madison as the world-class leader for health innovation by allowing companies to leverage a density of talent, capital, and mentoring.

“With a robust ecosystem of world-class research, the market leader in electronic medical records, entrepreneurs, and a strong network of payers and providers, Greater Madison is already a leader in health innovation,” says Chamber President Zach Brandon. “HealthTech Capitol will help build on these strengths by supporting companies and talent in our region and building an infrastructure that will amplify our health discoveries to the world.”

HealthTech Capitol represents a scaling of efforts begun in 2012 by entrepreneurs to make Greater Madison the optimal place to start and grow a health technology company. According to Brandon, Madison Health Tech was an organized group that met regularly and allowed people in the local health tech community to get to know each other but it really didn’t do anything to promote the work that was being done here or to expand that network outside of local members.

Over the past 18 months the chamber has worked with emerging health tech companies and providers from the Madison area, including HealthX Ventures, Moxe, Healthfinch, Forward Health Group and Wellbe, among others, to formalize the group further. HealthTech Capitol is the result.

Brandon says HealthTech Capitol is designed to do two things. One is to continue allowing members of the growing health tech industry in Madison to network with each other. The other is “all about amplifying and projecting the work that’s being done both locally and internationally. We believe that the ground zero for health tech hasn’t been defined yet. There are a lot of cities competing for that distinction and we believe that Madison has a rightful claim just as much as anyone else. But just telling ourselves that isn’t going to cause it to happen.”

“Having built a Madison-based health tech business and venture capital fund focused on investing in making health care safer, more affordable, and more effective, I know this region is in a unique position when it comes to health technology,” notes Madison HealthTech Capitol Chair Mark Bakken, the founder of HealthX Ventures and co-founder and former CEO of Nordic Consulting. “With the right vision and resources, there is no limit to the impact our region can have in solving global health challenges.”

According to Brandon, HealthTech Capitol is also a message to investors that might be considering making investments in health technologies that Madison is the place to look for emerging companies.

“Epic is not the anomaly, it’s actually the trend line,” says Brandon. “It just happens to be a big data point on that trend line.”



Brandon compares what’s happening in Madison with Epic to what happened a few decades ago in Seattle with Microsoft. “When Microsoft first grew, the first wave of spinoff companies were the consultants that helped you get your entire network onto the Microsoft platform. After that people started building either competitors or complementary products to the Microsoft software system. We believe that if you look at what happened at Microsoft after the consultants and these other companies started to sprout up, that’s the same place Madison is at now.”

Local companies like Nordic, Vonlay, and BlueTree have all found success as Epic consultants, notes Brandon. Now Madison is primed to become home to companies that are either competing or enhancing existing products in the health care space.

Next up for HealthTech Capitol will be building off its foundation of weaving the stories of local health tech companies by bringing prominent speakers in the health tech space to Madison.

“You bring content creators here and they go out and create new content and that content gets amplified,” explains Brandon.

Down the road, inbound investor missions are also on the docket, which will bring investors to Madison for meet and greets with local health tech companies so the investors can see the opportunities for investment that are here.

“By putting Greater Madison first and health tech second, it creates a destination, it creates a place,” notes Brandon. “The reason why we used capitol with an ‘o’ is about being intentionally identifiable. We believe there’s nothing more identifiable about Madison than the capitol dome.”

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