June 19, 2022

EquipmentShare and Scale to Celebrate Columbia’s Unprecedented Midwest Madness Victory

Pinned Tweet of March Madness bracket.
Press Release

June 20, 2022

For additional information please contact: 

Meg Judy

Phone: (573) 355-8806 


EquipmentShare and Scale to Celebrate Columbia’s Unprecedented Midwest Madness Victory

Columbia, Mo. — EquipmentShare, one of the fastest-growing equipment rental and technology companies in the nation, will join Scale and M25 to celebrate the city of Columbia’s unprecedented Midwest Madness win. Columbia garnered the highest number of votes in each successive round of the March Madness-style competition on Twitter. M25 is an early-stage venture capital firm headquartered in Chicago. Scale is a hybrid accelerator fund and venture studio based in Columbia, Mo., founded by local entrepreneurs including Willy and Jabbok Schlacks, co-founders of EquipmentShare and Jai Malik, GP & Founder of Countdown Capital. 

The team from Scale led the charge to garner thousands of votes over the course of the competition. The M25 party coincides with the close of Scale’s second cohort (i.e., 12-weeks of working with their portfolio companies) and the launch of the third cohort of  technology startup investments. 

A championship party for the Columbia tech and startup community will be held June 23, at the EquipmentShare headquarters (5710 Bull Run Road) at 4 p.m. The public is invited to attend and can register here.

M25 hosts the annual Midwest Madness tournament on Twitter each March as part of its Midwest Startups initiative. The public is asked to vote daily on which startup cities in the Midwest should advance to the next round. Columbia, an 8-seed, came out on top after four weeks of voting and ultimately took down the 1-seed Wichita in the finals with 60% of the votes. 

"In our second year of this competition, there were upsets and surprises across the board," said Katie Birge, head of platform for M25. "Columbia's run was impressive and we're looking forward to celebrating the city's well-coordinated victory this month. It's a true testament to Columbia's startup community and its ability to organize and promote what's happening here."

In 2014, brothers Jabbok and Willy Schlacks entered Columbia Startup Weekend, a multi-day entrepreneurial competition, with the idea for EquipmentShare. After winning the competition, the  brothers incorporated EquipmentShare in Columbia one year later. Today, EquipmentShare has nearly 3,500 employees and more than 115 locations nationwide.

“Columbia is our home and has been a phenomenal and supportive city to start and grow our businesses,” EquipmentShare CEO Jabbok Schlacks said. “We are excited for the future of startups in Columbia and we look forward to helping support other innovators and entrepreneurs in the Midwest.”  

Scale invests first checks in outlier founders and accelerates access to capital, resources, talent and leading advisors as a silent co-founder for 12 weeks on a cohort basis. To date, the team has invested in 14 startups across six markets.

“Already in our first year, we’ve put Columbia on hundreds of founders and venture capitalists’ radars from coast to coast,” Director of Scale Brett Calhoun said. “This win is a chance to continue building upon the Silicon Prairie— an area rich with ideas and builders of next generation companies.”

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