New direct flight provides golden opportunity for local start-ups, bridging gap between MSN, SFO

Nonstop flight to San Francisco begins June 7
New direct flight provides golden opportunity for local start-ups, bridging gap between MSN, SFO

Access to the Golden Gate Bridge for tourists and access to the biggest venture capital market for start-ups: those are the promises behind the newest direct flight starting June 7 in Madison.

The first direct flight to San Francisco takes off this Thursday. People in Madison will be able to fly from the city to the Bay Area in just 4.5 hours every day. Flights will leave at 3:11 p.m. and land just before 5:45 p.m.

The flight is 4.5 hours long. Ticket prices vary.

This week is also the entrepreneur’s conference at Union South on the UW campus, a gathering bustling with business owners who will likely take advantage of the new direct flight.

“San Francisco area is really the hub of the Silicon Valley, and in Madison there are a lot of companies that do business there on a regular basis and need those kinds of connections,” said Tom Still, President of the Wisconsin Technology council. “The one flight is obviously very convenient especially for busy people.”

The Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce says the flight increases the likelihood of local startups being funded.

The Wisconsin Technology Council has been pushing for this flight for more than a decade. At that time, there might not have been enough people to fill planes on a regular basis to San Francisco, but the airport believes there are now.

“They see that the market’s here,” said Still. “It is possible to fill planes on a regular basis with people going to and from San Francisco. It’s important not only for the entrepreneurs, but also the academic community because there are a lot of ties with UW Madison and other institutions around the state into the Bay area.”

Once the new flight takes off, Madison will become the smallest city east of the Mississippi and the second-smallest city east of the Rocky Mountains to have nonstop flights to San Francisco.