Tom Still

– If you have ever gone on a “speed date,” and even if you haven’t, you
probably get the concept: A short meeting in which both parties exchange a bit
of information about one another and break the ice, with the goal of moving to
the next level… or simply moving on with no regrets.

the concept behind the second Wisconsin Tech Summit, which will be held March
23 at the GE Healthcare Institute in Waukesha.

of a social speed date forum, this matchmaking exercise will involve large and
small companies in Wisconsin’s technology and innovation sectors.

Fourteen major
companies in Wisconsin – many of which are national and global powers – have
already agreed to take part. They are: American
Family Insurance, Aurora Health Care, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Dedicated
Computing, Direct Supply, Faith Technologies, GE Healthcare, HP Enterprise
Services, Intel, Johnson Controls Inc., Kraft Foods/Oscar Mayer Information
Systems, Marshfield Clinic, Rockwell Automation and TASC (Total Administrative Services
Corp). Others will join the list soon.

will engage in a series of 15-minute meetings with emerging companies from
across the state which apply for the chance to pitch their products, services
and ideas.

The speed-dating meetings will run 15 minutes each. Other
features of the event will include:

opening panel discussion to help set the stage for emerging companies by
allowing major companies to talk generally about their goals, needs and
emerging markets;

Hours” meetings and presentations, which will be available to all participants
during those times in which they are not scheduled for individual meetings;

closing keynote speaker who will bring perspectives that will be helpful for
major companies as well as emerging firms;

companies will be able to hear from emerging firms with innovative products or
services tied to areas such as “big data,” connected devices and data analytics
in sectors ranging from health care to information systems, and from power
electronics to advanced manufacturing.

evolving information needs of major companies may require strategic
partnerships with innovative young companies. Potential business relationships
might include contracting for research and development, becoming part of a
larger supply chain, and pursuing investment or acquisition strategies.

companies can apply to participate at The deadline is
Monday, Feb. 16. A selection process involving major companies and the
Wisconsin Tech Council will follow. Selected emerging companies may meet with
more than one major company, depending on mutual interest.

is no cost to apply. If selected, a company registration fee will be charged.
Attendance is limited to participating companies on either side of the table.

“Last year’s Tech Summit proved to be productive for
many of the major companies that took part,” said Vivek Bhatt of GE Healthcare,
the co-chairman of this year’s event. “It’s a way to enhance greater
connections in Wisconsin and our region. There are benefits to entrepreneurs
and major companies alike.”


At the inaugural Tech Summit in 2014, about 55
emerging companies engaged in nearly 200 speed-dating meetings. That’s an average
of about four meetings each for the emerging companies.

young companies, it’s not all about raising angel and venture capital. It’s
about making the right business connections. Large and small companies often
travel in different “orbits,” even if they’re in the same business sectors, and
they rarely collide except by chance. The Wisconsin Tech Summit’s
“speed-dating” approach aims to help some of those orbits to cross – and the
state’s business development stars to better align.