In This Edition

AmFam Ventures at WIN-MKE
New WIN director announced
Recap of 2014 'Treps Conference
Badger Fund of Funds at WIN-MSN
WIN-Lake Superior conferece is 8/8
Cleantech Network Forum 7/29
U.S.-India Tech Endowment Fund
'WisBusiness: The Show'
Inside Wisconsin columns
Innovation news round-up
Events and opportunities
Get WIN-volved
Sponsor a regional meeting
Promote your events

 WisBusiness: The Show

Click here for the latest episodes of "WisBusiness: The Show," which include a rising-and-falling stock report on Wisconsin business, commentary and an interview with a state business leader. Produced by Tweedee Productions and sponsored by Whyte Hirschboeck DudekUW-Milwaukee and Madison Gas & Electric.

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 Entrepreneurs' Toolkit
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The Entrepreneurs' Toolkit, a soup-to-nuts guide for Wisconsin entrepreneurs, is available at and through the Wisconsin Technology Council website. It was launched in April and is designed to give innovators a pathway to resources available in the state and beyond. Those resources include information on business assistance programs, sources of financing, permits and regulations, how to choose a business structure, how to write a business plan and more.

 Upcoming WIN Events

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Wauwatosa
July 10

Sheraton Hotel, Madison
July 22

WIN-Lake Superior Business & Technology Conference, Ashland
August 8

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Wauwatosa
August 14

Sheraton Hotel, Madison
August 26

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Welcome to the July 2014 WIN eNewsletter

Dear readers –

Summer is still a busy time for Wisconsin’s tech sectors and our team at the Wisconsin Technology Council. Maurice “Mo” Cheeks has joined our staff as Wisconsin Innovation Network director;  we hope you have a chance to meet him soon. Our Tech Council board of directors just completed its annual meeting, held at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, where directors heard from JAMF Software founder Zach Halmstad and discussed the 2014-15 edition of our “white paper” reports to policymakers. Coming up: Four WIN meetings in Milwaukee and Madison and the Lake Superior Business and Technology Conference in Ashland. Enjoy the summer but take time, as well, to stay in touch!

Tom Still

American Family Venture Fund topic at July 10 WIN-Milwaukee
Learn how a long-standing Wisconsin success story continues to invest in the growth of the state when the American Family Insurance investment team, American Family Ventures, and one of its portfolio companies, ZeroLocus, address the July 10 meeting of the Wisconsin Innovation Network in Wauwatosa.
AmFam Ventures

The luncheon will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 10499 Innovation Drive, Wauwatosa.Registration and networking begins at 11:30 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. and the presentation at 12:15 p.m.

“American Family is an excellent example of how a legacy company is investing in innovation – its own and beyond,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which operates WIN chapters statewide.

Learn more and register here.

Tech Council welcomes new WIN director, Maurice Cheeks
Cheeks, Mo 
Maurice “Mo” Cheeks has joined the Wisconsin Technology Council as the director of its Wisconsin Innovation Network.

Cheeks previously served as director of sales and outreach at Filament Games, which grew from 25 to more than 40 employees while partnering with national organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution, McGraw-Hill Education and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s

“Mo Cheeks will work extremely well with Wisconsin’s tech community as well as those who serve it through other professional roles,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Read more here. Cheeks can be contacted at 608-442-7557 or

Entrepreneurs' Conference highlights state's innovation economy
EC14-Cvent Revised 

The 12th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference brought more than 500 people to the Alliant Energy Center in Madison for two days in early June. The conference attendees ranged from venture capitalists to active Wisconsin angel investors, from experienced entrepreneurs who have started multiple companies to students who are just getting started.

Speakers included Renaissance Learning CEO Jack Lynch; Culver's founder Craig Culver, this year's "Seize the Day" award winner; and Internet 2 President and CEO Dave Lambert, among others. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker stopped by, along with Mary Burke, a Democratic candidate for governor. Finalists in the Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest squared off, with Elucent Medical and Laura King taking home the grand prize.

Visit for a recap of news coverage, a full attendee list and event photos.

July 22 WIN-Madison to feature new Badger Fund of Funds
Learn more about the status of the new Badger Fund of Funds at the July 22 meeting of the Wisconsin Innovation Network in Madison.

 Badger Fund of Funds Green (2)  
The meeting will feature a presentation by the fund’s managers, Sun Mountain Kegonsa, who are developing plans to invest $25 million from the state of Wisconsin plus matching private dollars in Wisconsin-based companies.

The luncheon will be held at the Sheraton Hotelon Madison’s John Nolen Drive. Registration and networking begin at 11:30 a.m., lunch at noon and the presentation at 12:30 p.m. Learn more and register here.

WIN-Lake Superior to host August 8 conference in Ashland

The 2014 Lake Superior Business & Technology Conference will be held Friday, Aug. 8, in Ashland. The event, which runs from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, is $30 for general admission and $10 for students.

The event will feature presentations from Bob Davies, professor, UW-Stout and national business consultant; Doug Moquin, retired vice president, Phillips Plastics Corp.; Morna Foy, president, Wisconsin Technical College System; Jim Hagstrom, entrepreneur and developer, Blue Wave on the Bay; and Randy Hulke, director, UW-Stout Discovery Center. This year’s Business Idea Contest finalists' will present their entries.

Register here. For more information on the conference, call the Ashland County UW-Extension office at (715) 682-7017 or the Bayfield County UW-Extension office at (715) 373-6104. The event is produced by the Lake Superior chapter of the Wisconsin Innovation Network.

lake superior
Convergence Energy exec to speak at July 29 Cleantech Network

Steve Johnson, vice president of business development for Convergence Energy, will discuss the company’s growth from its beginnings to surviving the solar industry upheavals of the past few years at the July 29 meeting of the Cleantech Network forum. 

The forum will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Wisconsin Energy Institute, 1552 University Avenue, on the University of Wisconsin campus.

Johnson will discuss how Convergence Energy, a full-service provider of solar energy products, has grown its installed base and continues to win solar energy contracts. Convergence, headquartered in Lake Geneva, has built one of the largest solar farms in Wisconsin. Learn more and register here.

U.S.-India Endowment Fund promotes joint tech innovation
The governments of the United States of America and India have established the United States-India Science & Technology Endowment Fund for the promotion of joint activities that would lead to innovation and technopreneurship through the application of science and technology. Tech Council President Tom Still recently met with representatives of the fund during a visit to Madison.

The fund aims to select and financially support promising joint U.S.-India entrepreneurial initiatives that address the theme of “commercializing technologies for societal impact” through a competitive grants program. Executive summaries can be submitted by bi-national teams of entrepreneurs before Aug. 14. For more information, visit or

Click here for the full flyer. 
 'WisBusiness: The Show' covers news, commentary
Please watch these latest editions of "WisBusiness: The Show," the twice-a-month Web show covering state business news and issues.

On the latest episode of "WisBusiness: The Show," Liz Schrum speaks with Yumin Choi from HLM Venture Partners; Tom Still discusses the pivotal role of technical colleges in Wisconsin's workforce; and the Stock Report covers the tech industry and tax collections.

 Yumin Choi

Click here view the biweekly show, produced by Tweedee Productions for the Wisconsin Technology Council and, as well as archives of past shows. The show is sponsored by Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C., Madison Gas & Electric and UW-Milwaukee.

Guests on other recent shows:
Chris Olsen, Drive Capital
Craig Culver, Culver Franchising System Inc.

 Inside Wisconsin columns tackle state, tech issues
Still headshot for newsletter 

Supreme Court’s cellphone decision keeping with ‘digital privacy’ trends
One such example of consensus among the jurists who make up the nation’s highest court was the 9-0 ruling that police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest. It’s a decision that is likely to apply to searches of tablets, laptops and other connected devices, as well.

Wisconsin's other industries peek out of the woodwork
Most people outside the Wisconsin borders have been trained to think of the state as a place defined by cows, cheese, beer, lakes and the Lambeau Leap. There's not much room in their collective subconscious — yet — to think Wisconsin may also lay claim to a well-rounded, 21st century economy. But here are some examples of excellence beyond our historic brands.

Can’t find skilled workers? Businesses can often shop close to home
The push-pull between tech colleges and four-year colleges is nothing new, but many Wisconsin employers say the shortage of skilled workers is becoming more intense. Still, some of those employers seem unaware that training programs that can meet their needs are often just a short drive from their plants and offices.

What makes a successful 'trep? Advice from those who’ve been there
Two corporate leaders who made their marks in very different industries offered their views on what it takes to start and grow a business at the recent Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, an annual gathering that offers hands-on ways for young businesses to learn more. Featured speakers included Craig Culver, who co-founded the Sauk City-based Culver’s restaurant franchising system that includes about 510 stores in 23 states, and Jack Lynch, CEO of globally recognized Renaissance Learning in Wisconsin Rapids and a veteran of several high-growth software companies.

Flu flap shows perils of science communication in digital age
As news about scientific breakthroughs has migrated to online formats, public discussion about research and innovation has been simultaneously democratized and distorted.

In a post-coal era, energy options include wind from the west
As the state Public Service Commission weighs the pros and cons of the Badger-Coulee line, another factor may rule over both clans: The need to wean Wisconsin from its coal habit.

Wisconsin’s business startup figures - which companies matter most?
With a fresh crop of winners in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest, some enthusiastic out-of-state investors and more than 500 people buzzing about the latest trends, you would never have guessed from June’s Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference that the state lags in company startups. The anecdotal evidence of Wisconsin’s progress as a place to start a company, especially high-growth companies, is persuasive.

More out-of-state investors seen here
In his Sunday Business section column for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Tech Council's Tom Still writes about trends uncovered in the annual Wisconsin Portfolio report -- including a trend toward more out-of-state investors taking an interest in Wisconsin companies.  

 Innovation news round-up
JSOnline: ABC to hold 'Shark Tank' auditions in Milwaukee
ABC's "Shark Tank," on which entrepreneurs seek funding for their projects from a panel of successful businesspeople, will be holding open auditions in Milwaukee on July 21.

Dairyvative Technologies, Top 25 BPC finalists, awarded Dairy 30x20 grant
Dairyvative Technologies, a Top 25 finalist in the Governor's Business Plan Contest this year, has been awarded a Grow Wisconsin Dairy 30x20 Grant for dairy processors.

JSOnline: Wisconsin leads Midwest in new businesses' 10-year survival rate
In steady-as-she-goes Wisconsin, new businesses are notoriously few. That's the bad news. But the ones that do get launched tend to stay launched — more so than in all but a handful of states.

Tech Council board member Sussman uncovers shocking truth about electric fish
Scientists, led by Michael Sussman of UW-Madison, have found how the electric fish evolved its jolt. Read the USA Today story on the research being named as one of the "five most incredible discoveries of the week."

JSOnline: Providing Wi-Fi proves tricky for businesses
As ubiquitous as free Wi-Fi has become, though, many business owners still don't offer it, for a variety of reasons, including worries that it encourages some people to hang out at their location for the Internet access while not spending much money.

Xconomy: Zurex Pharma raises $4M to battle hospital-acquired infections
Zurex Pharma, a Middleton, WI-based startup developing antimicrobial products to prevent hospital-acquired infections, has raised $4.1 million from investors in a round that could top out at $5.1 million, according to a new SEC filing.

State Journal: Real projects showcase local virtual reality companies
Two local tech companies are getting some high-profile placement for their virtual reality products. WebRacing, the second place winner in the Business Services category of the Governor's Biz Plan Contest, will be part of the July 5-6 opening weekend for the Tour de France, with a 30-bike virtual reality cycling installation at the Yorkshire, England, starting point.

Xconomy: Wisconsin edtech startup StudyBlue raises $1.7M
StudyBlue, a Madison, WI-based edtech startup, has raised $1.7 million from investors, a new SEC filing shows.

State Journal: Madison ripe for tech jobs from the coasts, venture capitalist says
Bringing investment money to Madison-area startup companies from the East and West coasts has long been a tough sell. But convincing coastal tech companies to bring some of their jobs here is a real possibility, a partner in a New York venture capital firm told the Madison chapter of the Wisconsin Innovation Network this week.

Xconomy: Thalchemy raises seed funds to develop always-on sensor technology
Thalchemy, a Madison, WI-based startup developing technology to facilitate continuous sensory processing in smartphones and other devices, has raised $650,000 from local and out-of-state investors, Xconomy has learned.

The Trustbelt: High-tech industries drive innovation In Wisconsin
Areas in the state are drawing attention for high-tech job growth. Forbes Magazine recently ranked Madison, Wis., fifth on the 2014 list of “Cities Creating the Most Information Technology Jobs.”

WSRC signs pact to work with Altamira on data research goals
The Wisconsin Security Research Consortium has signed a subcontract with Altamira Technologies Corp., a technology company working to solve problems of national importance, to support the Washington-based company’s “Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity” contracts. 

State Journal: Crowdfunding, Wisconsin style, begins
It’s only logical that MobCraft Beer, a Madison craft brewery that makes its ales based on a majority vote by customers, would be the first company to sign up to use Wisconsin’s new crowdfunding law. MobCraft was the winner of the Advanced Manufacturing category in the 2014 Governor's Biz Plan Contest.

State Journal: Exact Sciences CEO Kevin Conroy wins entrepreneurship award
Kevin Conroy, chief executive officer of Exact Sciences Corp. and Wisconsin Technology Council board member, is one of eight executives named EY Entrepreneur of the Year in the Midwest.

Rowheels wins life sciences pitch event at New York Venture Summit
Rowheels, the winner of the 2012 Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest, won a pitch competition at the New York Venture Summit held Tuesday in New York City. Rowheels was one of 30 competitors in the life sciences track and won for best innovation.

JSOnline: Madison company halfway to funding goal
Kiio Inc., a Madison company with a small computing device that it says could modernize the practice of physical therapy, has raised about half of a $1.3 million offering, according to a filing with federal securities regulators.

 News, events and opportunities

WIN-Milwaukee: American Family Venture Fund
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Wauwatosa
July 10

WIN-Madison: Badger Fund of Funds
Sheraton Hotel, Madison
July 22

Cleantech Network Forum
Wisconsin Energy Institute, Madison
July 29

WIN-Lake Superior Business & Technology Conference
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Ashland
August 8

WIN-Milwaukee: 4490 Ventures
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Wauwatosa
August 14

WIN-Madison: New influenza virus
Sheraton Hotel, Madison
August 26

Get WIN-volved! Membership has its privileges
 WIN logo for newsletter
Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN) is The Tech Council's membership subsidiary - a community-based economic development organization dedicated to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. In association with the Tech Council, WIN programs focus on the needs and challenges faced by new and growing technology-based businesses in Wisconsin. When you become a WIN member, your membership applies to all chapters, statewide. Membership is for one year starting with the month you join. Go here to learn more about the benefits of a WIN membership.

Thank you to the following individuals and organizations that have recently joined or renewed their WIN memberships:

Corporate Members
TeamSoft Inc.
Zurex Pharma Inc.

Individual Members
​Andrew Alexander
Jason Douglas
Anne Hlavacka
Ross Leinweber
Ronald Luskin
Mirka Nelson
Greg Quam
Stephen Schraufnagel

Sponsor your next regional meeting
Sponsoring your chapter's next WIN meeting will give you and your company immediate exposure to Wisconsin's best and brightest people. WIN is a network dedicated to giving a voice to the technology community as a whole - from the bottom up! Sponsorship opportunities are available on a monthly or annual basis. Contact Maurice Cheeks for more information.
 Post events in our community events section
Click here to add your event to the Tech Council Community Events section that is designed to assist in the development, growth and success of science- and technology-based businesses in Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN) eNewsletter is a periodical of news, events and programs about the needs and challenges faced by the new and growing technology-based businesses in Wisconsin. WIN has chapters in western Wisconsin, the Lake Superior region, Madison, Milwaukee, northeast Wisconsin and central Wisconsin.
Phone: (608) 442-7557
Fax: (608) 231-6877

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