Wisconsin Technology Council Wisconsin Technology Council

2014 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium


The 2014 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium was held Nov. 12-13 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center in Madison.

What is the Early Stage Symposium?
The symposium is designed to unlock Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial potential by providing the right combination of ideas, innovation, intellectual property and investment – as well as hands-on instruction and advice targeted to early stage companies ready to make the leap.

This year’s conference, with a theme of “30X10,” celebrated a rich history that goes back to 1984. That year, Wisconsin’s first annual venture conference was held in Madison, pairing high-growth companies with investors and other business leaders from across the state. Originally the Madison Venture Fair, the event has been called the Wisconsin Venture Conference, the Wisconsin Life Sciences & Venture Conference - and for the past 10 years - the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium. Nearly 500 companies have presented during the conferences in one format or another, including some of the largest technology companies that call Wisconsin home.

To view full interviews with past presenters, click on the links below:
Bill Linton, Promega ('84)

Jan Eddy, Office Solutions & Wingra Software ('84)

Ralph Kauten, Quintessence Biosciences & Mirus Corp. ('
96, '98, '02, '04, '07)
Carl Gulbrandsen, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (video sponsor)

What did the Early Stage Symposium include?
More than 45 companies had the opportunity to make presentations and meet with investors, along with other entrepreneurs and business leaders. Many firms have cited participation in the conference as a key factor for significant business growth.

Featured speakers included Kevin Conroy and Graham Lidgard, who shared the story of Exact Sciences, a Madison company developing a home colon cancer test kit. The conference also featured Francois Ortalo-Magne, dean of the Wisconsin School of Business.

The two-day event also featured:
  • Plenary session on how research partnerships are driving innovation and economic growth with UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, UW-Milwaukee Interim Chancellor Mark Mone and Jacqueline Fredrick, president and CEO of the BloodCenter of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

  • Presentations by 28 companies selected for the Wisconsin Angel Network investors’ track. Investors from across Wisconsin and beyond attended.

  • The 10th annual Elevator Pitch Olympics, which provided 90-second presentation opportunities for 18 additional companies. A panel of experienced investors judged the pitches and offered feedback.

  • More than a dozen panel discussions or plenary sessions featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector.

  • “Office hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups.

  • SBIR/STTR awards luncheon to recognize grant recipients from the past year.

  • The inaugural "Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education" award presentation to Tim Keane.

  • The annual “First Look” forum featuring selected campus-based technologies.

  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.

  • A first-night reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

Post conference materials

  • "30X10" opening video - highlighting history of the conference and past presenters
  • Footage of keynote presentation - Kevin Conroy and Graham Lidgard, Exact Sciences
  • Remarks by Tim Keane - 2014 recipient of the "Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education" award
  • Summary of media coverage
  • View photos of the event
  • Final registration list - by company and by last name

The conference is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and its partners and sponsors.

For more information, visit www.wisearlystage.com

2013 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View all the 2013 post-conference materials, including highlights, attendee list, press coverage and sponsors.

2012 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View all the 2012 post-conference materials, including highlights, presentations, attendee list, press coverage and sponsors.

2010 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View the 2010 conference agenda.

2009 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View the 2009 post-conference materials, including a list of the companies that presented.

2008 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View the 2008 post-conference materials, including the agenda and WAN Track presenters.

2007 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View the 2007 post-conference materials, including agenda, speakers, presenters, press coverage and sponsors.

2005 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View press coverage and mediasite presentations from the 2005 conference.