The NEST Helps Technology Ideas Take Wing

Launching the next successful startup takes more than a good idea and the skills to design a well-built app. That’s why Professor Jignesh Patel of the Department of Computer Sciences organizes the NEST for Emerging Software Technologies competition. NEST is no ordinary contest: Professor Patel mentors competitors throughout the process. Participating students have their work evaluated by a panel of industry experts with a genuine interest in their work, like fellow UW–Madison computer sciences alumni who are major players in the Madison startup community and the Silicon Valley tech scene. One former NEST participant, Max Lynch ’10, was recently named to Forbes’ “30 under 30” list for his work with the Madison-based tech startup, Ionic.

UW–Madison’s tradition of interdisciplinary thinking and tackling big challenges makes it the perfect environment for fostering an entrepreneurial spirit among students. And NEST, an opportunity for students to chase their creative dreams, has helped launch several successful businesses. The transition between innovation and practicality is crucial for aspiring entrepreneurs to grasp, says Professor Patel, whose own startup was acquired by Twitter in 2013. He views the NEST experience as a chance for students to see that “the possibilities are endless if you can imagine, then execute, then listen, and finally adapt.”

NEST is funded in part by the Computer Sciences Annual Fund. Your gifts will help CS remain a top department for the next half-century, and beyond.