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Dear readers, December 2019

As 2019 draws to close, it’s worth reflecting on the year’s accomplishments. With the help of our staff, key partners, sponsors and members, the Tech Council pushed for state legislation that helped remove regulatory barriers to 5G introduction in Wisconsin, improve the investor tax credits law and make it easier for UW System faculty and staff to start companies. We supported the push to modernize trade rules, especially for tech, through the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, or USMCA. Our consistent message about the economic value of regional tech clusters is resonating with national “think tanks” such as the Brookings Institution, as its recent report noted. Read on and we look forward to 2020!


Tom Still, president


Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest open for 2020 entries through Jan. 31, 2020

Want to take part in a contest with a history of success? Sign up for the annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, which is accepting entries online for the 2020 competition until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31.

This startup focused contest has helped to increase the chances of company success over time by offering young firms and people with pre-company ideas the chance to connect with experienced mentors and resources, as well as public and private programs and possible sources of capital.

A survey of 202 BPC finalists from 2012 through 2019 showed that 76.7 percent (155) are still in business – a rate that far exceeds the average survival rate for young firms.

Contest categories are Advanced Manufacturing, Business Services, Information Technology and Life Sciences. The first phase entry is about 250 words (or 2,000 characters with spaces) spread among four criteria – product or service description; customer definition; market description, size and sales strategy; and competition. There’s no need to submit financials right away.

Since its inception in 2004, nearly 3,900 entries have been received and about $2.4 million in cash and services (such as legal, accounting, office space and marketing) have been awarded.

Read the full article here.
Please visit govsbizplancontest.com for more details and a timeline.

 112119 Gov's Bill Signing AB38 #6

Tech Council legislative agenda included support for AB 38, SB 208, both signed by Gov. Tony Evers

AB 38 streamlines the process by which faculty-led startups are reviewed for possible conflicts of interest. Under current law, any contract exceeding $250,000 over two years and tied to a faculty or staff entrepreneur must receive a 45-day “review” by the UW Board of Regents. It will substitute a process to require management plans for addressing financial interests. While UW-Madison already employs management plans to meet federal requirements, the management plans will now be required by state law.

SB 208 (1)

SB 208 clarifies Wisconsin’s Act 255 investor tax credit law by matching language pertaining to how the credits can be used, especially by insurance companies that may invest in young companies. Act 255 permits a taxpayer to apply the tax credit against several types of tax liabilities. 

Coverage and further details on Senate Bill 208 and Assembly Bill 38:

• University of Wisconsin System: UW System applauds signing of AB 38 into law
• WisBusiness: Legislature passes bills related to startup funding, oversight
• Tech Council: Bipartisan bills tied to investing, UW startups on way to governor after passing Legislature
• 11/26/19 InsideWis: Even in harsh partisan climate, some essential work gets done



Digital expression: Music, arts and tech topic at Jan. 28 Tech Council luncheon in Madison

In a world where technology is changing most human endeavors, the arts are no exception to digital creativity. Learn more about the intersection of music, arts and technology at the Tuesday, January 28 in Madison. Panelists are Max Fergus, chief executive officer and co-founder of LÜM, an app that gives users the power to find undiscovered artists; Anne Katz, executive director of Arts Wisconsin, a non-profit with the mission of promote arts in Wisconsin; and Scott Mosley, chief operating officer of CODAworx, a global online community that showcases commissioned art. Read more + register.

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Wendy Landrum
Baker Tilly

Guest column: Unwrapping a holiday opportunity: R&D tax credits for software, tech companies

Software development and technology companies are experiencing constant pressure to remain competitive in a fast-evolving market of trends such as internet of things, artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, cloud computing, data analytics, automation and cybersecurity. Those trends often force companies to reevaluate and change how they design and develop products and platforms.

Companies are not only devoting extensive effort, money and time into developing innovative offerings using these technologies, but also spending significant resources to reinvent the way they do business, blurring the line between technology companies and other industries. 

Read the full column by Tech Council Innovation Network member Wendy Landrum of Baker Tilly. 


Week of December 9

CompTIA: USMCA sets new precedent for modern trade rules 
CapTimes: Wisconsin dairy, business interests weigh in on new USMCA trade agreement
Wisconsin State Journal: State economic development spending transparency receives second-highest marks in nation
: Governor Evers: Brookings/ITIF proposal would boost funding for Wisconsin tech leaders
: New North ‘2019 Annual Report to the Community’ is now available
Reuters: Jobs of the future are clustering in a handful of U.S. cities, study finds
Brookings.edu: The case for growth centers: How to spread tech innovation across America

Week of December 2

Exact Sciences: Ahlquist, co-inventor of Cologuard, named a Fellow of the NAI
Bloomberg: These are America’s new top tech hubs
BizTimes Milwaukee: Medical College of Wisconsin endowment awards $1.6 million to health initiatives
WisBusiness: Wisconsin again ranked 23rd in United Health Foundation report
WisBusiness: State’s aging population impacting health care workforce
Release: Versiti launches new test to improve HIT diagnostics
Forbes: The 2020 ’30 under 30′ consumer technology class includes Wisconsin-based Fetch Rewards
Forbes: The 2020 ’30 under 30′ social entrepreneurial class includes Wisconsin-based Maydm’s Karanja
Wisconsin State Journal: Madison added 54,000 jobs over past decade driven by tech sector

Week of November 25

WisBusiness: HATCH competition narrows field to eight finalists
Release: DeWitt’s Wisconsin Super Lawyers & Rising Stars announced
Madison.com: When the music stops: Madison-based Murfie unexpectedly ‘ceases operations’
Release: Marquette, WARF announce 2019 ‘Force for Positive Change’ winners

Week of October November 18

USA Today: If you’re a college student, the robots are coming for you. And they’re bringing food
BizTimes: Wages are the bright spot in Wisconsin’s employment picture
Milwaukee Business Journal: Rockwell partners with Accenture to create digital technology offering
BusinessWire: Propeller Health users can now access pharmacy services within the Propeller app
CNN Business: America's milk industry is struggling. Don't blame oat milk
WisconsinINNO: Meet the 3 startups that took home trophies at Tech Council’s Nov. Pitch Olympics 
UW-Madison News: UW among top 10 in national research ranking

Week of November 11

Milwaukee Business Journal: Philanthropy, investments and continued community support next for Abele
WisBusiness: the Podcast with Doug Stafford, president and CEO of Pantherics
Milwaukee Business Journal: He worked with Steve Jobs to create Apple’s iMovie. Now he’s growing his IoT startup
Wisconsin AgConnection: Growing Opportunities Act
Madison.com: Exact Sciences could double Cologuard lab space along Beltline
Release: Senators Baldwin and Hoeven introduce bipartisan tax reform to boost small business start-up growth

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Tom Still 2017
Tom Still
Tech Council


12/05/19 InsideWis: Will clock run out on U.S., Canada, Mexico trade deal? Let’s hope not
11/26/19 InsideWis: Even in harsh partisan climate, some essential work gets done

11/21/19 InsideWis: How can cyber-mounds of health data best be used without violating privacy?
11/14/19 InsideWis: Are Janesville and Monona, Wis., the center of the fusion world? They may well be

Miller Fienen, Chandra 2019

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Ryan Weber
Great North Labs

12/03/19 ‘WisBiz: The Show’ interviews Ryan Weber and Chandra Miller Fienen, covers Tech Metrics, Tom Still commentary 

 2020 conferences 728x90

Milwaukee Business Journal: Three Wisconsin venture capital funds that startups, investors should know
Milwaukee Business Journal: Why I-94 corridor’s largest companies got into venture capital
Wisconsin State Journal: Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals makes $267 million public stock offering
WisBusiness: Winnow Fund director wants more diverse representation in VC field
WisBusiness: the Podcast with Teresa Esser, managing director for Silicon Pastures
Milwaukee Business Journal: Wisconsin firms invest $2 million in startup providing tech to Rent the Runway and Rihanna’s lingerie brand

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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:
angela@wisconsintechnologycouncil.com 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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