What Next For Sector67?
Sector67, the tinkerers’ workshop at 2100 Winnebago St., is a key component in Madison’s emerging entrepreneurial subculture. I write in this Isthmus story about its successes and search for new space.
There’s a deep literature on creative spaces like Sector67. Most famously: MIT’s Building 20, the Bell Labs and the legendary Homebrew Computer Club that helped catalyze Silicon Valley. At UW-Madison, David Krakauer is trying to unleash that creative juice at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.
Matt Younkle, who founded the cloud-based music storage and sharing service Murfie.com with [Preston] Austin, thinks Sector67 has bottled the magic. He says when he was an engineering student at UW-Madison, “it was hard to walk into the lab and say, ‘I have this great idea, and I want to build it.’ That’s the beauty of Sector67. It’s a totally open door, and there are people there to help you turn your ideas into a prototype.”
Younkle’s assessment underscores why finding a new home for Sector67 is so important. The most logical site is in the city redevelopment zone known as the Capitol Gateway District. It contains many of the old industrial properties along the east rail corridor. Indeed, Meyer says he would love to relocate across the street from the two business incubators run by Commonwealth Development. The Metro Innovation Center, operated as a startup site by the University Research Park, is close by.
“I know a lot of what we’re doing fits in well with what the UW is doing and hopefully with what the city wants in furthering the entrepreneurial spirit,” [founder Chris] Meyer says. Unfailingly upbeat, he adds, “I love it when someone takes the world by the ears and starts a business. Every day I get up I want to help someone do that.”
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