wuntusk was started by Monty Schmidt, founder of the Madison, Wisconsin software company, Sonic Foundry. Launched from his bedroom in 1991, it was there on his own he wrote the first two versions of Sound Forge, an award-winning, industry-standard audio editing program. In 2003, the company sold its mature media production applications to Sony. Subsequently, from 2003 to 2011, Mr. Schmidt led Sonic Foundry’s development as CTO building Mediasite™, the leading lecture capture product on the market.
After leaving Sonic Foundry, he spent a year talking to investment groups and various start-up organizations in the Madison area. What he discovered was a serious disconnect on many levels between investors and entrepreneurs. Investor groups as a whole were deficient in their knowledge of how software development succeeded which prevented them from selecting companies that had the strongest potential for growth. Without confidence, or an in-depth understanding of their choices, they weren’t willing to make significant investments in ventures they didn’t comprehend. Many groups have simply thrown token amounts of money at a large number of companies instead of taking the time to properly evaluate and choose ones that are most likely to prosper. Less money for the rising stars means fewer opportunities for those companies who demonstrate the most promise.
Of particular interest, was trying to figure out why many of the start-ups had been offered assistance with business planning, sales support and marketing strategies, but not with guidance in software development. Recent graduates with almost no industry experience were expected to know how to get it done on their own. While not an uncommon occurrence, it was discouraging to realize how much this hindered their progress. While some companies persevered and found their own way, many more failed and fell by the wayside taking with them ideas that could have succeeded with proper focus and direction.
To remedy these situations, and find a way to generate funding for as many companies as possible, Mr. Schmidt formed wuntusk to provide a bridge between investment groups and the entrepreneurial communities in Madison. wuntusk is advising various start-ups, as well as providing technical and business analysis for angel and VC investments.