Dear readers, June 2019

With the 2019 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in the books, the rest of the summer will build on our successful June 4-5 return to Milwaukee. Please see our “It’s a Wrap” section below. Three upcoming Tech Council Innovation Network luncheons will feature how science and tech are dealing with animals and insects, breakthrough research on the human eye, and how artificial intelligence is revolutionizing healthcare. We will also host the 25th summer conference of the Tech Councils of North America in the Madison area, with Epic Systems welcoming tech council executives from far and wide to its campus. You’re welcome to attend, too! Check out below how to sign up for the full conference itself – or some of the exciting social events around it!    


Tom Still, president

It’s a wrap: Entrepreneurs’ Conference 2019
The 2019 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference was held June 4-5 in Milwaukee. More than 400 people attended the annual conference with conference co-chairs Tina Chang of SysLogic and Elmer Moore of Scale Up Milwaukee. The #WiTreps conference featured homegrown Wisconsin keynote speakers: “super-angel” investor Jeff Rusinow and tech designer John Zeratsky. Click here to read press coverage, releases and more!

Videos available for select portions of June 4-5 ‘Treps Conference
For those who couldn’t attend the Entrepreneurs’ Conference June 4-5 in Milwaukee, live streams are available for both keynote speakers and the diversity and inclusion plenary panel. Each live-stream is $40. The keynote speakers were Jeff Rusinow (June 4) and John Zeratsky (June 5.) The well-attended diversity panel was June 4. Click here to purchase one, two or all three live streams.

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State ‘techies’ may attend Madison-area gathering of Tech Council execs from U.S., Canada, July 23-25
People from Wisconsin’s tech community may register at the TECNA member rate for the full conference, which includes working sessions at Epic Systems Corp. in Verona and a variety of social events during the three-day conference.  Those who would like to attend the a la carte keynote and social options, which will be held at a variety of Madison-area venues, can register separately or as a combined package at $125 for all three.
To learn more about the conference or the special social package, visit
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Tech platform that cuts record-keeping time in childcare wins 2019 Business Plan Contest
A Stoughton-based “voice assistant” platform that provides hands-free documentation to child care centers took home the grand prize in the 17th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest. Patricia Wooldridge, Brent Brenner and others created GrowthChart Records to dramatically cut time and effort devoted to record-keeping by childcare providers, this increasing time devoted to actual care. Brenner presented for Growth Chart Tuesday during the 2019 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee.

Brookfield Academy students win annual ‘Wisconsin YES!’ youth business plan contest
Pablo Dale, Christian Hong and Andy Liu, who will be seniors this fall at Brookfield Academy, are the grand prize winners in Wisconsin YES!, a statewide youth business plan contest for students in middle and high school. Their company, unRaveled, is a tangle-free earbud case that slides on the back of phones. The students presented their winning idea June 5 at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee during the awards luncheon for the Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Cielo’s Sue Marks received ‘Seize the Day’ award at 2019 Entrepreneurs’ Conference
Serial entrepreneur Sue Marks, the founder and chief executive officer of recruitment leader Cielo, received the 16th annual Ken Hendricks “Seize the Day” award June 4 at the 2019 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference. Headquartered in Brookfield, Cielo is the world’s leading strategic recruitment process outsourcing partner. In January 2019, the company reported serving 177 clients from 95 countries and 39 languages, employing about 2,000 people worldwide. The company began with Marks’ founding of Pinstripe in 2005. She previously founded two other startups in the human resources field, ProStaff and HRFirst, which were sold in 2000.

 Vaccines Bats and ticks and feral critters … oh my! Learn more at June 25 Tech Council luncheon
The advent of summer means people are getting back in touch with nature … and nature is touching humans, not always in a healthy way. Research to aid people and animals alike will be featured. Panelists thus far are Dr. Jorge Osorio, professor at the UW-Madison’s School of Veterinary Medicine, who is researching vaccines for bats and ticks and Tom D’Orazio, chief executive officer of SpayVac-for-Wildlife, a company working on targeted contraceptives for overabundant, feral in invasive species. Panelists will each give a seven-minute pitch to former “ag-tech” investor Kieran Furlong of the UW-Madison’s Discovery to Product.
Read more + register.
 eyes The ‘eyes’ have it! Madison-Milwaukee research to headline July 11 Tech Council event in Wauwatosa
Hear from representatives from two major Wisconsin research institutions discuss their collaboration to better understand the structure and function of the human visual system. Panelists are Dr. Joseph Carroll, an investigator for Medical College of Wisconsin, and Dr. Melissa Skala, an investigator for Morgridge Institute for Research. Together, they developed an imaging technique that offers 3D color images of melanin, which serves a protective purpose by absorbing excess light that comes into eyes and is essential to vision.
Read more + register.
 Epic-Logo Epic data science leader to overview innovation at July 30 Tech Council luncheon in Madison
James Hickman of Epic Systems will discuss the landscape of data science and machine learning in healthcare, predictive modeling efforts at Epic and impacts on patient care and operations and the future of machine learning applications in healthcare IT. Hickman leads Epic’s data science team, which works alongside Epic software developers and organizations using Epic software to support success with the development and implementation of predictive models and machine learning features. Read more + register.

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MIchael Best

Guest column: Venture capitalists and entrepreneurs: The same, only different
Venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are a poster-child couple for the notion of the love-hate relationship. Any VC who has been around the block more than a time or two is certain to have stories of inept, dishonest and/or overwrought entrepreneurs. Ditto any entrepreneurs who have spent any serious time courting or managing relationships with VCs. And yet, the VC/Entrepreneur nexus is the greatest innovation engine the world has ever seen. Go figure.

It’s said that opposites attract, and in the VC/Entrepreneur relationship there is certainly some obvious opposition. When the dance starts, VCs have money, and entrepreneurs don’t. That surely makes for some serious mutual attraction, even as it is often a point of serious contention as well.

It’s also said that familiarity breeds contempt. That, I think, also helps to explain the friction that comes between so many VCs and entrepreneurs. They have more in common than either wants to admit.

Read the full column by Tech Council Innovation member Paul Jones, of counsel to the VentureBest team at Michael Best


Week of June 10

WisBusiness: The Podcast with Wally Block, founder of TherVoyant
Xconomy: Polco’s tools help governments coax citizens out of echo chambers
DailyReporter: Wisconsin professor pioneers microgrid technology
WisBusiness: Research contract bill (“Mark Cook Bill”) clears Assembly committee

Week of June 3

Release: 5 LAKES Pitch Call for Startups
WisBusiness: Skip & Co. Maritime navigates online training for mariners
WisBusiness: Drift & Row aims to inspire the value of play

Week of May 27

Milwaukee Business Journal: Is Direct Supply one of Milwaukee’s best kept secrets? Company exec thinks so
: This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features Elmer Moore Jr., the executive director of Scale Up Milwaukee.
WisBusiness: SpayVac provide efficient, effective vaccines to control wildlife populations
BizTimes Milwaukee: Bright Cellars launches its own wine label
WisBusiness: ‘GrowthChart’ aims to replace busy work for childcare providers
Milwaukee Business Journal: Health, smart transit among categories for inaugural pitch competition at Summerfest Tech
BizTimes Milwaukee: Experienced entrepreneurs automate medical records review
WisBusiness: Blexx Technology seeking to improve hypodermic needle sterilization and disposal
BizTimes Milwaukee: Finalists selected for Governor’s Business Plan Contest
NYTimes: Your 5G phone won’t hurt you. But Russia wants you to think otherwise.

Week of May 20

WisBusiness: ‘DarkAero’ creating new ways to fly with personal aircraft kits
Milwaukee Business Journal: Shorewood startup among companies selected to pitch at 2019 Governor’s Business Plan Contest
WisBusiness: Planting seeds of market change: Seedlinked modernizing seed sales
BizTimes Milwaukee: Scanalytics moving HQ to Chicago
WisBusiness: Hemp businesses on the rise in Wisconsin, lawmaker says

BizTimes Milwaukee
: TitletownTech plans to house entrepreneurs
Milwaukee Business Journal: Next Summerfest Tech to feature Dell and Intel execs, DJ Aoki, LiveWire and women in technology
WisBusiness: The Podcast with Derek Zenger, co-founder for Live Undiscovered Music

BizTimes Milwaukee: Delafield’s Montage merges with Shaker International
Xconomy: WI Watchlist: Montage, LÜM, WEDC, Titan Spine, Polco, Swallow & Morez
: SHINE adds chief strategy officer and general counsel
Release: Tech Council board member Chand wins major manufacturing award

Week of May 13

Release: Idea Fund of La Crosse acquires medical device business
WisBusiness: Exact Sciences highlighting new screening research

: The Podcast with Ali Bakhshinejad, founder of VasoGnosis
UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health: Cellular pharmaceuticals meet the Wisconsin idea
Release: SHINE and IOCB Prague enter Lu-177 process license agreement

: These 10 U.S. cities have the most successful women per capita
MadREP: State of the Madison region economy


Scale Up MKE


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Tom Still 
Tech Council


06/06/19: InsideWis: Milwaukee entrepreneurship not like Madison scene, nor should it be
05/30/19: InsideWis: Business plan contest finalists reflect a more diverse entrepreneurial Wisconsin
05/23/19: InsideWis: Midwest emerging as venture hot spot: Will Wisconsin step up?
05/16/19: InsideWis: Rural and urban economies can improve with cooperation
05/09/19: InsideWis: Robocall relief may be coming, but it’s likely temporary and won’t be foolproof



Stay tuned for our upcoming guest interviews with Tina Chang, SysLogic; Chandra Miller Fienen, StartingBlock Madison; author and tech designer John Zeratsky; Jed White, TASC Ventures; Dana Guthrie, Alchemy Angel Investors; Ben Juarez, Cream City Coders; Craig Schedler, Northwestern Mutual and Elmer Moore Jr, Scale Up Milwaukee.


BizTimes Milwaukee: TAI Diagnostics launches series B funding round
Milwaukee Business Journal: Aaron Rodgers launches $50 million venture capital fund to back consumer startups
Release: BrightStar announces two new investments
Milwaukee Business Journal
: Northwestern Mutual launches $150 million corporate venture fund
Milwaukee Business Journal: Abodo raises $3.6 million to scale apartment listing technology platform
Forbes: Why the Midwest drives top venture returns
BusinessWire: Understory closes $5.25 millin Series B funding round to expand global deployment of weather sensor network
BizTimes Milwaukee: Titan Spine to be acquired by Medtronic
WisBusiness: Preterm infant care company raises $5 million

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Tech Council Innovation
Tech Council Innovation Network membership:
Experience for yourself why the Innovation Network has been a Tech Council tradition for over a decade. With more than two dozen events annually, you'll expand your network while learning from top-notch speakers. When you become a member, your membership applies to all chapters, statewide. With a variety of membership types to choose from, you and/or your company will be sure to find a membership that fits your business goals. Join today!

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




Need help finding the membership level right for you?
Please contact Angela Schlobohm, development & member
relations director: or 608-442-7557.

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Tech Council Investor Networks membership:
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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