MADISON – The planners of the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium are looking for innovative early stage companies from Wisconsin and other Midwest states to present in November at Madison’s Monona Terrace. 


The annual conference on Nov. 5-6 gives selected companies 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.  Company applications are due no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, 2013.


The application process is open to early stage companies representing an array of industries, including biotechnology, medical devices, health care, advanced manufacturing, information technology and others. 


There are two separate presentation levels at the Early Stage Symposium: the Wisconsin Angel Network Investors’ Track and the Elevator Pitch Olympics


Wisconsin Angel Network Investors’ Track – Tuesday, Nov. 5: 

A total of about 20 companies from the Midwest will present to investors at two separate WAN presentation tracks (application instructions are below). 


Companies selected for the WAN tracks will have many opportunities to interest investors: the seven-minute presentation, networking receptions, an executive summary published in the investor-only program and an opportunity to exhibit where investors may speak directly to presenting companies. Companies selected for the WAN tracks are also invited to participate in a pre-conference practice session with a group of mentors. 


Elevator Pitch Olympics – Wednesday, Nov. 6: 

Companies selected for the Elevator Pitch Olympics, a crowd favorite, will have the opportunity to give a 90-second pitch in front of conference attendees and a panel of six to eight investors. The investors will score the presenter on a scale of 1 to 5, focusing on whether the pitch was compelling enough to arrange a follow-up meeting, and will offer immediate feedback. 


About 15 companies will be selected for the Elevator Pitch Olympics. In past years, these have been companies seeking a smaller investment round or planning to do so within the next year. 


All applicants will be eligible for a discounted conference registration rate of $169. Companies selected for the Wisconsin Angel Network track presentations will receive a complimentary individual Wisconsin Innovation Network membership for one year (a $100 value). Team members of these companies will also be eligible to attend the conference at a special team rate. 


Here’s how to apply for the November 5-6 Early Stage Symposium 


Step 1 – Register for the full conference:  

Companies must first register to attend the full conference in order to be considered by our steering committee for a presentation slot. Applicants can register here and are eligible for the “Company Presentation Applicant” discounted rate of $169. There are no registration refunds after 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, 2013


Step 2 – Submit application: 

* All applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23 


WAN Tracks Application: 

Follow this link to download a template to guide you through this process. The executive summary should be no more than two pages. Please submit your executive summary by email to Dan Blake at


Elevator Pitch Olympics Application: 

To apply for the Elevator Pitch Olympics, submit a 250-word idea abstract to Dan Blake at Submissions over 250 words will not be considered. Your 250-word idea abstract must include:


–       Product or Service Description: describe the nature of the product or service you plan to sell. 

–       Customer Definition, Their Needs – Your Solution: Define your market by answering these questions about your customers: What is the problem your technology or product will solve?  

–       Who has the problem? Who would be an early user of your product?  

–       Market Description, Size and Sales Strategy: Further define the market by answering this question:  

–       How do you size and segment the market to which your technology or product will be sold?  

 –      Segmenting the market means that you identify the specific portion of the market that contains those buyers that have the problem your product or service is targeted to solve. You will also describe how you will go about marketing, selling and distributing your product or service.  

–       Competition: Explain why your product or service is better than alternatives. Describe possible competitors.