The Midwestern trend of creating “funds of funds” to advance young companies and the startup economy will be discussed by a panel of experts June 3 during the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference via vFairs, an award-winning virtual platform.

Register today by clicking here!

Panelists include Aaron Gillum, senior vice president of 50 South Capital, which manages state funds in Illinois and Indiana; Chris Rizik, chief executive officer and managing partner of the Renaissance Venture Capital Fund in Michigan and an advisor to similar funds; Brian Birk, managing director of Sun Mountain Capital; and John Austin, who has written extensively on the Midwest economy for the Brookings Institution, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Michigan Economic Center.

“With the state budget proposal calling for a $100-million investment in a Wisconsin fund, it only makes sense to hear from those who have seen how those venture capital funds work – and have done it themselves,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

The budget would set into motion a process by which a private manager would be competitively selected to manage the fund, which would be matched over time by private money raised by recipient funds. In addition to Indiana, Illinois and Michigan, similar funds operate in Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere.

Produced by the Tech Council, the Entrepreneurs’ Conference has been a signature event for entrepreneurs, investors and others in the early stage sector since launched by the Tech Council in 2003. Detailed panel information will be posted soon at Other highlights will include:

  • Diligent Dozen: Top 12 finalists from the Governor’s Business Plan Contest will present live, via Zoom on June 2
  • The Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” 2021 award winner will be announced
  • Keynote presentation from Wes Schroll of Fetch Rewards
  • Governor’s Business Plan Contest awards ceremony with category winners, a grand prize winner, a “Bright New Idea” award and a new “People’s Choice” award this year
  • Virtual interactive exhibitor booths from more than 30 Wisconsin companies
  • A presentation by the winner of the Wisconsin YES! youth business plan contest, and;
  • Plenty of chances to network 1:1 virtually, a variety of discussions under the “Launch, Grow, Succeed” theme and much more!

Sponsors thus far include: PLATINUM: American Transmission Co., AT&T, Godfrey & Kahn, Husch Blackwell, Michael Best, University Research Park, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. GOLD: Aberdean Consulting, Makin’ HEY! Communications. SILVER: Affiliated Engineers, American Family Insurance, Alliant Energy, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, Center for Technology Commercialization, City of Fitchburg, Dedicated Computing, DeWitt, Findorff, First Business Bank, HealthX Ventures, J.P. Morgan Chase, Madison College, Madison Gas & Electric, Marquette University, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Microsoft, Mobile22, Neider & Boucher, Ogden Glazer + Schaefer, PDS, Perkins Coie, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Shive-Hattery, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison D2P, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, Venture Investors, Versiti, WEA Trust, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Technical College System. SPECIAL SUPPORT: Madison Development Corp.  and RSM.