MADISON – Entrepreneurs often pitch their business plans to investors – but what happens when the shoe is on the other foot? 


That’s the concept behind the “Reverse Elevator Pitch,” new this year at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium. Five investors will talk about their early stage funds or networks, including the dollar size of a typical investment, targeted industry sectors and more, and then hear reactions from a panel of entrepreneurs who have raised angel and venture capital. That session will take place 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5. 


Also new this year is “Office Hours,” a series of five small-group discussions at which entrepreneurs can discuss specific issues with experts and their peers. Sessions scheduled Tuesday will focus on bank financing for startups, pursuing federal Small Business Innovation Research grants, how to position your company for “non-founder” funding, documents needed for investor meetings and how to obtain state Qualified New Business Venture status. 


Each session is designed for hands-on mentoring from experts in banking, accounting, grant applications, and laws and regulations related to young companies. 


Produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and its partners, the conference gives selected companies the opportunity to make presentations and meet with investors. For more information and to register, go to

Previously announced speakers include:  

·         Mark Schmitz of ZEBRADOG, who will discuss how one of Wisconsin’s leading outputs – intellectual property – is coveted by companies and institutions in emerging economies that increasingly have the capital, the infrastructure and the expertise to put it to work. Schmitz will speak over lunch Nov. 5 during the annual SBIR Awards Luncheon. Luncheon sponsors are K&L Gates and the Center for Technology Commercialization.  

·         Brad Feld, an entrepreneur, investor and co-founder of the successful TechStars accelerators. Feld will speak live via telepresence to open the conference on Nov. 5. Attendees who are present for the 8:30 a.m. presentation will receive a copy of Feld’s book, “Startup Communities,” courtesy of a personal contribution from Mark Bakken, co-founder and CEO of Nordic Consulting, and the Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce.

  The conference will also feature:  

  • Presentations by 28 companies selected for the Wisconsin Angel Network investors’ track. Investors from across Wisconsin and beyond will attend.  
  • The annual Elevator Pitch Olympics, which provide 90-second presentation opportunities for 15 or more additional companies. A panel of investors will judge the contest. 
  • A dozen panel discussions and plenary sessions covering the latest topics. 
  • 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 for registered investors.

To learn more or to register, visit