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Crop of company applicants for Early Stage
include 87 young firms from all sectors

A record number of young companies have applied to tell their stories at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium #ESSWI, where selected firms will be able to meet and even pitch to investors from Wisconsin and beyond.

This year’s conference will be held Nov. 6th and 7th at Madison’s Monona Terrace Convention Center, with a reception honoring women entrepreneurs and those who help support them on the evening of Nov. 5th. To learn more and register, visit

And new this year: the conference will be preceded by the WARF Innovation Day, also at Monona Terrace Nov. 5th. Click here to register for that event.

The breakdown of 87 companies speaks to the diversity of Wisconsin’s tech-based economy. Applications came from young firms in healthcare, software, other information technologies such as health IT, advanced materials, business and financial services, consumer products, agriculture and more. The companies will be listed on our conference website following company selections.

The geographic range also speaks well of Wisconsin. While 36 applicants came from Dane County, 35 others hailed from elsewhere in the state. Sixteen applications came from outside Wisconsin and from as far away as California.

Up to 45 companies will be selected by the conference steering committee to present; many others will be invited to meet with selected investors one-on-one during the Nov. 7 “Investor Intros” segment. About 40 investor groups have already signed up to attend. Other highlights:

  • Veteran investor and decentralized technology expert Jeff Schumacher will speak the morning of Nov. 7. Schumacher headed one of the world’s largest corporate venture capital firms, BCG Digital Ventures, and recently launched 55 Foundry as an “invent-and-invest” venture firm. The UW-Eau Claire graduate is a frequent commentator at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  • Former professional football player Marques Ogden, who lost $2 million on a construction project in 90 days before lifting himself off the turf, will speak about entrepreneurial resiliency the morning of Nov. 6.
  • Panel discussions and workshops featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector.
  • Office Hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups or one-on-one.
  • The 6th annual “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education” award presentation and luncheon.
  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.
  • A Nov. 6 conference reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

The Tech Council produces the annual conference. Sponsors so far include: 100state, Aberdean Consulting, Accuray, ACS, Alliant Energy, American Transmission Co., AmpliPhi, AT&T, Aurora Health Care, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, Boardman & Clark, Ben Brewer Photography, C.D. Smith Construction, CGI, City of Fitchburg, Concordia University of Wisconsin, CUNA Mutual, Dane County Regional Airport, Dedicated Computing, Discovery World, Eppstein Uhen Architects, Exact Sciences, Findorff, First Business Bank, Fluno Center, Foley & Lardner, Foxconn, Godfrey & Kahn, HealthX Ventures, Husch Blackwell, Idea Fund of La Crosse, KW2, M3 Insurance, Madison Development Corp., Madison Gas & Electric, Makin' HEY! Communications, Marquette University, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Medical College of Wisconsin, Michael Best, Midwest Prototyping, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Morgridge Institute, Murphy Desmond, N29 Capital Partners, Neider & Boucher, One City Schools, Perkins Coie, Promega, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, RSM US, ScaleFactor, Signature Bank, Summit Credit Union, Susan Healy, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Technology Innovation Center – Milwaukee, University Research Park, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, Venture Investors, Versiti, WEA Trust, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Whitewater University Technology Park, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Dept. of Financial Institutions, Wisconsin Investment Partners, Yahara Software and Ziegler.


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