Still on the fence about coming to the annual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium in Madison? Here are 10 reasons to join nearly 400 registrants Wednesday and Thursday for one of the Midwest’s premier events for entrepreneurs.

Register through noon Tuesday at or register on site at Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center, 1 John Nolen, beginning 7:30 a.m. Wednesday. Why attend?

1. You’ll hear informative (and sometimes irreverent) speakers: Rich Bendis is an investor and entrepreneur who founded Innovation America, a national group that helps cities, states and regions build their innovation economies. “Rock” Mackie is a scientist and entrepreneur who helps lead the Morgridge Institute for Research, which is accelerating the commercialization of technology from the UW-Madison.

2. You’ll watch 23 up-and-coming companies make their case to investors: Seven minutes on stage go quickly for these young firms! About a dozen companies each in two tracks will present during the Wisconsin Angel Network presentation sessions beginning Wednesday afternoon. View more details at

3. You’ll learn from successful entrepreneurs: Panelists include: David Snyder, Cellular Dynamics International; Kevin Conroy, Exact Sciences; Jeff Moore, Virent Energy; Greg Meier, 94labs; Roy Elkins, Broadjam; Ralph Kauten, Quintessence Biosciences; Paul Radspinner, FluGen; Joe Pleshek, Terso Solutions; Justin Kaufenberg, TST Media; Robert Hopton, IdleFree Systems; Justin Beck, PerBlue; Mark Gehring, Asthampolis; Jay Doescher, SoftSwitching Technologies and many more.

4. You might bump into a seasoned investor: About 40 investors are registered for the conference. They represent groups such as Baird Venture Partners, Kegonsa Capital Partners, the Golden Angels Network, Venture Investors, DaneVest Tech Fund, Phenomenelle Angels, NEW Capital Fund, Calumet Venture Fund, Wisconsin Investment Partners, Sun Mountain Capital, Capital Midwest Fund, Silicon Pastures, Daycholah Capital, Ziegler Wealth Management, DFJ Mercury, Peak Ridge Capital, Monument Capital, Hendricks Holdings, Stateline Angels, Successful Entrepreneur Investors, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board and individual investors.

5. There’s no lack of program choices: The program features 19 panels and workshops spread over two days, including Thursday’s First Look Forum to preview technologies spinning out of the UW-Madison campus. New this year are three panels built around the theme of “How we did it” to examine start-up successes in three growth sectors, all on Thursday. Other panels will discuss topics as diverse of why some major companies are thriving here, understanding the inner workings of a term sheet and campus entrepreneurism.

6. You’ll walk away with our 56-page program manual: It’s a keeper for people hoping to track the who’s who of Wisconsin’s early stage community.  

7. We’ve set up an e-mail kiosk in our exhibit area. Check your messages – and then check out our sponsor booths and tables. They’ll be grouped in the Grand Terrace at Monona Terrace.

8. You’ll take a short elevator ride with new companies: Thursday’s Elevator Pitch Olympics will feature 19 companies, often armed with little more than a good idea, for a series of 90-second presentations judged and scored by a panel of investors. This year’s line-up: Abstract Engineering, Accuspec, Ascentia Health, Brainsy, C5.6 Technologies, Dynamic Benefit Systems, Dynamic BioGen Solutions, Good to Go, Heartfelt Celebrations, Medtrack, NanoOncology, NxGen Power Conversion Solutions, Pan Genome Systems, PDM Solar, Quter, RedGiant Analytics, ScioMD, Simpaction and TrustEgg.

9. You won’t leave hungry: Two luncheons, a reception and two breakfasts are included in your registration fee. It’s hard to go wrong on that alone! Wednesday’s luncheon features the winners of Small Business Innovation Research grants in Wisconsin.

10. You’ll be a part of a major networking event: Whether it’s the luncheons, the reception, the panel discussions or lobby conversations, you’ll meet hundreds of people who are building Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial economy. Join them!

Register or learn more by visiting