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March 18, 2021

Dear readers, 

The eighth annual Tech Summit was a success March 17, with about 240 registrants, 22 major companies and 80 companies seeking “speed dates” with those major firms. Was it love at first sight? We won’t know that for a while as the get-to-know-you process moves ahead, but we heard solid reviews from the BigCo.’s about the quality of young companies in the mix.

On a related note, please read my latest Inside Wisconsin column, which describes tips and advice from Tech Summit keynoter Tracie Rotter. Some more coverage is below.

WisBusiness: Google Venture vet Tracie Rotter tells startups to network, streamline pitch
WisBusiness: Experts want telemedicine use to continue after rise in 2020

Two upcoming Tech Council webinars will tackle timely issues. On March 24, we’ll examine the proposal for a $100-million investment in a privately matched “fund of funds.” On April 1, we’ll hear about the value of campus-based research and development to the economy. Please check out how to sign up below.

Finally, pass on word about the upcoming “Wisconsin YES!” student business plan contest to middle- and high-school students or educators you may know. It’s a great way for young people to get introduced to entrepreneurism.

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» NEWplease click here to update your subscription preferences for Tech Council communications!

Can Wisconsin create a venture ‘fund of funds’? Hear about $100 million state plan March 24

A state budget proposal to invest $100 million in a privately matched venture capital “fund of funds” will be the topic of a 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 24 webinar produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Panelists include state Rep. Mike Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin, one of four co-chairs of the Legislature’s informal Tech Caucus; Sam Rikkers, deputy secretary of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; Jason Fields, president and chief executive officer of Madison Region Economic Partnership and Burlington entrepreneur Karen Renee, president of eCourt Reporters. Tech Council President Tom Still will moderate.

Click here to learn more and register.


How campus R&D fuels Wisconsin economy is topic of April 1 Tech Council webinar

The chancellors of Wisconsin’s two largest public research universities and a venture capitalist whose firm and partners focus on campus-based innovation will take part in a 10 a.m. Thursday, April 1 webinar produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Panelists include Rebecca Blank, chancellor of the UW-Madison; Mark Mone, chancellor of the UW-Milwaukee; and Scott Button, managing director of Venture Investors, which has offices in Madison and Ann Arbor, Mich.

Click here to learn more and register.

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Wisconsin YES!
Back to business: Students have month to enter ‘Wisconsin YES!’ business plan contest online

The countdown is under way for middle- and high-school students to enter Wisconsin Youth Entrepreneurs in Science, a statewide youth business plan contest modeled after the successful Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest. It is open for online entries from Wisconsin middle- and high-school students through 5 p.m. April 14, 2021.

Public, private and home-schooled students across Wisconsin are eligible to turn their science- and tech-related ideas into business plans and compete for cash and prizes. The contest begins with a 250-word summary submitted through

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Wisconsin Healthcare Business Forum board of directors heard some encouraging news Monday!

COVID-19 hospitalizations in Wisconsin peaked at 2,277 on Nov. 17, 2020; latest daily count down to 212 statewide. Credit to hard work by health-care workers, #StoptheSpreadCoalition and safety-conscious citizens everywhere.

Learn more about WHBF at

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ICYMI: March Member Spotlight: Dana Guthrie

What macro goals do you have in your investing role?

My main goals are to achieve above national average returns for my investors and do so while positively impacting the entrepreneurial communities that we target. We, at Gateway, intend to do well and do good – by identifying emerging entrepreneurial geographies that lack venture capital and being the first institutional dollar into young startups in those areas. In Wisconsin, the largest of which is Milwaukee County.

Click here to read more about Guthrie and our other members.

Guthrie 2021 

In honor of Women’s History Month, we created a quiz that showcases a few of the many women in Wisconsin history who left a mark in business, entrepreneurism, tech and medicine. We have a $25 gift card to your favorite coffeeshop if you’re our winner! We’ll pick a random winner from the top scores.
Take the 12-question quiz here by March 24th.

Note: You may need a little research to find the answers, but that’s part of the fun!

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>> ICYMI "WisBusiness: The Show"

The latest episode of “ The Show” spotlights Missy Hughes, secretary and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. She outlines state budget plans to invest in a venture capital fund and to assist small businesses statewide.

Also, Tom Still gives a primer on the state budget process and updates the 2021 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest. He’ll also preview upcoming Tech Council webinars and conferences, including: 

Sponsors include Exact Sciences, UW-Milwaukee and BDO.

View our full show archives here.


Governor’s Business Plan update: Now judging Round 2!

Fifty-five entries from 31 communities have advanced to the semi-final round of the 18th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, contest producers announced.

The contestants were selected from a field of more than 250 qualified first-round entries by an independent panel of almost 80 judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its programs, the Tech Council Innovation Network and the Tech Council Investor Networks.

The semi-finalists are spread among four broad categories: advanced manufacturing (13), business services (15), information technology (14) and life sciences (13).

GMToday: Cedarburg company advances in Governor’s Business Plan Contest
HNGNews: Sun Prairie-based Ventris Learning among Governor’s BPC semi-finalists
InsideWis: Innovation contest provided snapshot of Wisconsin small businesses
From Denmark to DeForest, 55 entries advance in 2021 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest
More women entering, writing winning plans in Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest

How can you help? More offers of prizes, both cash and “service” prizes, are needed and welcome. You can help the finalists by chipping in; all cash goes directly to contestants who reach the final stages in June. More news at
Contact Tammy Ehrmann:

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Track news/developments on Gov. Tony Evers’ fund-of-funds proposal

  • Read the Tech Council’s 2021 “white papers” report for background on the fund-of-funds proposal. 
  • >> Read an updated FAQ on the $100-million “Wisconsin Fund.”
  • Can Wisconsin create a venture "fund of funds?" Hear about the $100 million state plan March 24
  • The “2021-23 Budget in Brief” is a summary of Gov. Tony Evers 2021-2023 budget proposal, which includes a $100-million venture capital “fund of funds” plan as well as other initiatives to spur economic growth.  The document summarizes budget proposals across the board in state government and will be subject to legislative review and approval. The next fiscal year begins July 1. Read the 2021-23 Budget in Brief.
  • Also, read news articles and Tom’s InsideWis columns that follow the progress of the $100-million fund.

Click here to access the page.

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Start in Wisconsin

Start in Wisconsin is the premier network for local businesses. For owners and startups, this new site will power connections to start, scale and accelerate area entrepreneurs. For the established resource network, the platform will provide best-fit referrals, build your network, and to showcase the story of entrepreneurship in our region.

Visit to learn more.


Department of Health Services update

>> Wisconsin continues to be a leader in the nation for vaccine distribution: 2,148,882 doses have been administered. 13.3% of Wisconsinites have been fully vaccinated: 758,849 of the 5.8 million total population.
Note: 20% of the population is under 16 and not authorized to be given the vaccine at this time.

Helpful links:

The State Disaster Medical Advisory Committee’s (SDMAC) Vaccine Distribution Subcommittee is responsible for making distribution decisions. SDMAC holds public meetings and anyone can submit public comments. You can find information about the SDMAC here. To register for the DHS weekly newsletter, click here.



  • Insight: Pandemic drives strong demand for transportation, logistics solutions
  • VentureBeat: Pandemic drove peak internet traffic up 32% in 2020
  • Nexstar: Study finds how many days were saved by not commuting, average was 8.6 days
  • WSAW: Evers proposes $200 million to help small businesses recover from pandemic
  • BizTimes: Wisconsin, Madison have strongest hiring outlooks in the country, according to ManpowerGroup
  • SV Business Journal: The workday was 80 minutes longer in 2020, but workers were 200% more productive
  • Main Street Alliance: [Webinar] American Rescue Plan: Small Business Programs webinar and slides
  • Urban MKE: $15 minimum wage would help a third of state’s workers
  • Northwestern Mutual reaches historic level of protection: $2,000,000,000,000
  • Nexstar: Three Wisconsin cities in top 200 of new ranking of best U.S. cities to live in


  • Digital Journal: Green Bay startup QOLOS accepted into accelerator based in Austin, TX
  • Cellular Logistics wins $321,000 NIH SBIR grant award
  • Inc5000 ranks the top 250 Midwest businesses in Inc.'s first annual regional list
  • Forbes: Nurturing pre-seed stage tech entrepreneurs from overlooked communities
  • UW-Madison: Alum co-founded a testing service to continue safe operations during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Metro: Thousands of NHS patients will swallow these tiny pill cameras to scan for cancer
  • BizTimes: Franklin medical glove supplier parent company raises $19.5 million
  • InBusiness: Are you feeling the entrepreneurial tug? Madison attorney penned new book


  • Greater Green Bay Chamber: Tundra Angels announces its first investment: Octane Coffee
  • BizTimes: Madison health tech company raises $45 million
  • Madison Startups: HealthX closes $55M Fund II
  • MKE Business Journal: Madison startup Otologic Technologies launches $500K seed funding round
  • WSJ: NVCA names Sequoia Capital venture firm of the year
  • CBInsights: AI companies raised a record $33B in 2020, including Wisconsin’s Ensodata
  • Crunchbase: Gen Z Angels: How a younger generation of investors is getting in on deals
  • dot.LA: Poet, financier is raising millions to fund Black and Latino investors and entrepreneurs
  • NVCA: Plum Valley Investments focused on women founders in STEM fields
  • TechCrunch: Gumroad wants to make equity crowdfunding mainstream


  • WMTV: Official says herd immunity possible in Wisconsin by July
  • WISN: Wisconsinites with high BMI can now get COVID-19 vaccine
  • WisBusiness: COVID-19 accelerated long-standing trends challenging the state’s health care workforce
  • CapTimes: How the Foundation for Black Women's Wellness is helping people weather the pandemic
  • Wisconsin State Journal: Chronic disease eligibility for COVID-19 vaccination in Wisconsin to start March 22
  • GE Healthcare: CEO Kieran Murphy on COVID-19, data and the future of the industry
  • Fox: Florida mother gives birth to first-known baby with COVID antibodies, doctors say
  • EUA: Three take-aways from 2020 for improved employee well-being in 2021 + beyond


  • Wisconsin State Journal: Former Badger launching The Sweet Feet Foundation to offer college scholarships
  • Scientific American: ‘How dirt could help save the planet’ with WID’s Jo Handelsman
  • CVPost: UW-Eau Claire research team works with Mayo Clinic to study effects of alcohol on older brains
  • OnWisconsin: UW scientists rise to the challenge of fighting COVID-19
  • Stevens Point Journal: UWSP herpetologist discovered new snake species
  • UW-Parkside: Commentary from Chancellor Debbie Ford: Parkside’s Innovation Evolution
  • FOX6: Wisconsin estimates $1.4 billion in relief funding for schools

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** Current listings this week include opportunities at ATC, WHEDA, CHIME, WARF, KW2, Tesla,
Affiliated Engineers, UW Health, von Briesen & Roper and FIndorff.

Current members are encouraged to email their open opportunities to for inclusion.

Help us stay on top of events for our readers!
Please send your upcoming virtual events for consideration to

WSJ Health Forum happens on Tuesday, March 23. Join the editors as they convene business leaders, policy makers, scientists and other experts to explore a range of issues at the center of international conversations in 2021—including the race to contain the spread of the coronavirus and to develop and deploy tests, treatments and vaccines.

WARF presents Crossroads of Ideas Explores How Wisconsin is Getting Vaccinated on Wednesday, March 24. UW experts share their insights on the science behind our state’s success at a virtual Crossroads of Ideas discussion moderated by Jason Joyce of the Cap Times. Joyce says, “In the last year, people who once actively avoided anything related to science are now voraciously consuming and sharing any information available on vaccine development, distribution and administration.

WisBusiness presents Hospitality industry stirs after year of COVID virtual event on Thursday, March 25. Wisconsin Restaurant Association President and CEO Kristine Hillmer, Tavern League of Wisconsin President Chris Marsicano and Wisconsin Brewers Guild Executive Director Mark Garthwaite will discuss the state of the hospitality industry in Wisconsin and policies from a new administration that could make or break what the state’s wine-and-dine scene looks like coming out of a global pandemic.

Gov. Evers to host “Badger Bounceback Live Session” on Accessible & Affordable Healthcare on Thursday, March 25. The session will cover topics such as expanding access to quality, affordable healthcare, protecting people who have pre-existing conditions, investing in mental health services, Medicaid/BadgerCare expansion, caregiving, and long-term care for aging and older adults and folks with disabilities.

Gov Evers to host “Badger Bounceback Live Session” on Transportation & Infrastructure on Thursday, March 30, 2021. The session will cover topics such as investments in transportation and infrastructure, fixing our roads and bridges, investing in transit and transportation alternatives, expanding access to broadband, and supporting local communities and government.

Up next in Morgridge Institute’s COVID-19 Series: How to talk about vaccines (and find common ground) on Wednesday, March 31. Panelists include Dominique Brossard, PhD MPS Professor and Chair of Life Sciences Communication, UW-Madison; Tess Ellens, RN BSN Immunization Coordinator with Public Health Madison & Dane County and Ajay Sethi, PhD MHS Associate Professor of Population Health Sciences, UW-Madison. 

If you are a woman technologist, join us for Northwestern Mutual’s first-ever Women in Technology Speed Coaching event on Friday, April 23, where you can get advice from an experienced tech leader in a 20-minute one-on-one online coaching session. Register by Friday, April 2.

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Your $750 Investor Networks membership entitles you to one free pass to our two major conferences (Entrepreneurs' Conference and Early Stage Symposium), as well as regular Tech Council Innovation Network events.
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