Expert seminars on avoiding startup pitfalls
debut at Nov. 4-5 Early Stage Symposium
MADISON – Whether it’s called a pivot or reinvention … or simply failure … young companies may encounter situations that require smart choices. Join four experts in solo seminars on how to avoid (or correct) potentially fatal startup errors at the 2015 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, to be held Nov. 4-5 at Madison’s Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.
Here are four discussions to be led by some of Wisconsin’s most successful entrepreneurs and investors. Eight other panel discussions will be announced soon:
“Reinventing your offer: How to avoid or jumpstart a stalled equity round” Nothing causes more anxiety among entrepreneurs and investors as an under-subscribed and seemingly endless equity round. Why do even promising ventures at times struggle to generate demand for their offering? What are investors looking for but not finding? How can you build or rebuild an offer and pitch that will not just resonate but will trigger action? Join David Guinther of WISC Partners to learn how you can greatly improve your odds of a successful equity round as he shares recommendations drawn from his experiences as a seasoned entrepreneur and investor. (Wednesday, Nov. 4, 9:35 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.)
“Hard questions you need to ask yourself before going through an exit process” The exit process is too often ignored by emerging companies and even some investors. Entrepreneurs and investors alike sometimes fail to adopt an exit-centric approach to deals, which can leave some vital questions unasked – and unanswered – at critical points. Compared to the emphasis that is often placed on starting a company, there is relatively scant attention devoted to the exit process. Join Andy Nunemaker, CEO of Dynamis Corp. and former CEO of EMSystems, as he describes his exit experiences. (Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2:35 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.)
“Advice I wish I gave myself when starting Retail Target Marketing Systems Inc.”
Many people know Tim Keane as an investor (Golden Angels) and mentor (2014 Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education award winner). Before that, he was an entrepreneur who created RTMS, which was an early software provider of advanced analytics systems for retailers and financial institutions. The company was sold in 2000 to Fidelity Financial. Join 2015’s Tim Keane as he looks back on advice he would have given his 1985 self… if only he could invent a time machine! (Thursday, Nov. 5, 10:15 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.)
“Foundersitis: Is it treatable?” Company founders often exhibit signs of a condition that can be harmful, if not fatal, to their firms. It’s called “Foundersitis,” a maladaptive syndrome often resulting in serious injury, and in some cases, the death of an organization. With proper intervention and monitoring, there is hope that founders can remain a part of nurturing and enhancing their companies. Join Murray Firestone of Restore Health, one of Wisconsin’s fastest-growing companies, for a free diagnosis based on his years of experience working with companies as an investor, manager and founder. (Thursday, Nov. 5, 11:15 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.)
Previously announced speakers are Zach Halmstad, founder of JAMF Software; Sue Marks, founder and chief executive office of Cielo; and Mike Splinter, the former chairman of Applied Materials and Intel executive. The conference will also feature:
- Forty-five company presentations by selected firms in the Wisconsin Angel Network track and the Elevator Pitch Olympics.
- “Office Hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups or one-on-one.
- SBIR/STTR awards luncheon to recognize grant recipients from the past year.
- The 2nd annual “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education” award presentation.
- The “First Look” forum featuring selected campus-based technologies.
- Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.
- A Nov. 3 “Wisconsin WOMEN Reception” (Women, Opportunities, Mentors, Networking, Entrepreneurs) with a presentation by Sue Marks. This event is open to both men and women.
- A Nov. 4 reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.
The Tech Council produces the conference. Sponsors so far include: Aberdean; Alliant Energy; American Transmission Co.; AT&T; Ascendancy Advisors; Aurora Research Institute; Baird Capital; Baker Tilly; BDO; BloodCenter of Wisconsin; BMO Harris; Boardman & Clark; Carroll University; City of Fitchburg; Concordia University; Dane County Regional Airport; Dedicated Computing; DeWitt Ross & Stevens; Eppstein Uhen Architects; Findorff; Fine Point Consulting; First Business Bank; Functional Biosciences; Godfrey & Kahn; HealthX Ventures; HP Enterprise Services; Keane Consultants; Madison Gas & Electric; Makin’ HEY Communications; Marquette University; Marshfield Clinic Applied Sciences; Medical College of Wisconsin; Michael Best & Friedrich; Midwest Prototyping; MIOsoft; Morgridge Institute for Research; Murphy Desmond; Neider & Boucher; Nelson Schmidt; Pendio Group; Promega Corp.; Quarles & Brady; RDC National Inc.; Red Arrow Production; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren; Safenet Consulting; Skyward; Smith & Gesteland; State of Wisconsin Investment Board; Summit Credit Union; University Research Park; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation; UW-Oshkosh Business Success Center; Venture Investors; WERCBench Labs; Whitewater University Technology Park; Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek; Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority; and Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership.