Investors from Wisconsin, the Midwest and beyond will share their expertise with entrepreneurs and others at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, to be held Nov. 2-3 at Madison’s Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Register at

Angel and venture capitalists will take part in eight panel discussions during the two-day conference, which will also feature the seventh annual “Elevator Pitch Olympics” for companies in a seed financing stage and the fifth annual Wisconsin Angel Network Early Stage presentation track for companies seeking angel investments and beyond.

Other investor-oriented tracks include the annual “First Look Forum” for campus-based discoveries and the I-Q Corridor Investors’ Forum, an educational event for accredited investors only. Investors will be able to attend two-dozen company presentations during the Wisconsin Angel Network tracks, and will serve as judges during the Elevator Pitch Olympics.

Investors registered so far represent groups such as Baird Venture Partners, Kegonsa Capital Partners, the Schillfarth-Schnoll Group, Venture Investors, DaneVest Tech Fund, Phenomenelle Angels, NEW Capital Fund, Stateline Angels, CW Technologies, Calumet Venture Fund, Hendricks Holdings Co., Wisconsin Investment Partners, Madison Development Corp., Sun Mountain Capital, Monument Capital, Capital Midwest Fund, DFJ Mercury, Peak Ridge Capital, Silicon Pastures, Successful Entrepreneur Investors, Daycholah Capital, Ziegler Wealth Management, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board and individual investors.

Here are panel discussions involving investors:

“How to tell if angel or venture capital makes sense for your company” – Not every start-up or emerging company is a candidate for angel or venture financing. Hear from experienced investors and entrepreneurs on when you should seek angel or venture financing, and how much, or pursue other avenues to finance your company.

“Campus entrepreneurism: Fad or fixture?” – Entrepreneurism is once again hip on campus, where many students are electing to make their passion their profession. It’s a trend in Wisconsin colleges and universities as well as nationally – but will it last? Learn how three student-born companies from life sciences to informational technology are getting up and running on a shoestring budget, and how others can follow their example.

“What happens next?: Post-funding strategies for angel-backed companies” – The good news: Wisconsin has a number of active angel networks and funds that have invested in start-up companies. The challenging news: Those angel networks and funds need to work with investors and others downstream in realize a return on their investment. What are strategies for investors and entrepreneurs?

“Entrepreneurs’ workshop: Perfecting your short-building elevator pitch” – Delivering the right pitch at the right time for your company or idea may not be a science, but it’s an art form. Join Rich Bendis of Innovation America and other mentors for an informative, hands-on session aimed at preparing entrepreneurs for a short but productive ride on the “elevator.”

“Coming to terms with your term sheet” – For many entrepreneurs, a private equity term sheet is a mysterious document to be approached with great caution. Demystify the process by peeking behind the scenes of a “mock” term-sheet negotiation, with role-playing by an experienced entrepreneur and veteran investors.

“Heading for the exit: Keeping your company on track for merger or acquisition” — Savvy entrepreneurs know they can make money day-to-day by running a good business, but the much bigger payoff comes when they plan for an exit from the start. Hear some tips on how to keep your eyes on the prize!

“Intellectual property: An investors’ perspective in a post-reform world” – Investors look at multiple factors in deals, from technology to the team, and intellectual property is a big part of the mix. This panel will examine how a company’s IP strategy can entice investors – or force them to think twice. Learn valuable information and hear war stories from our panel of experts.

“What federal budget cuts mean to Wisconsin’s R&D economy” – Federal funding for a variety of agencies, projects and programs is likely to be cut in years ahead as the twin issues of the annual deficit and the national debt take center stage. What does that fiscal reality mean for federal funding of research and development? Many observers believe it won’t be spared, despite arguments that investments in R&D are like economic “seed corn” for an innovation economy.

The conference is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and its partners and sponsors. Visit to register, review sponsorship opportunities or to learn more.