Emerging companies may apply through Feb. 26 to meet with major firms and explore potential business relationships around technology needs and innovation as part of the 11th annual Wisconsin Tech Summit, which will take place in-person at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field.

The day-long event will be held in-person Monday, March 18, 2024. More information, including the online application form, can be found at wistechsummit.com. Past emerging companies are encouraged to apply.

The Tech Summit will feature a series of brief meetings, or “speed dates,” to foster communication and partnership. It is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Participating major firms thus far are: CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen), Exact Sciences, Faith Technologies, Findorff, Google, Johnson Controls, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, OEM Fabricators, Oshkosh Corp., Promega, Rockwell Automation, Schreiber Foods and TitletownTech. Others will be announced soon; contact the Tech Council if interested in taking part.

“There are many reasons why major firms would want to meet with emerging companies, and vice versa,” said Gary Frings, chairman of the Tech Council. “This is a way to enhance company-to-company connections in Wisconsin and beyond, with benefits to small businesses and major firms alike.”

“Large and small companies travel in different orbits, even if they’re in the same business sectors, and those orbits don’t often cross,” added Tom Still, president of the Tech Council. “This event aims to align those orbits where possible.”

“Not all speed dates blossom into a serious relationship, of course, but surveys of past major company participants show that 40 percent of their meetings have led to continued contacts,” Still added.

Major firms will be able to hear from emerging companies with innovative products or services tied to areas such as digital health innovation, artificial intelligence, fin-tech and insure-tech, the internet of things, health diagnostics and delivery, software and data analytics in sectors such as health care, information systems and power electronics.

Applications are welcome from early stage funds that may want to introduce portfolio companies and otherwise connect with major firms.

“The evolving tech needs of major firms may lead to strategic partnerships with innovative young companies,” Frings said. “Potential business relationships might include contracting for research and development, becoming part of a larger supply chain, and pursuing investment or acquisition strategies.”

Emerging companies may apply by Feb. 26 at wistechsummit.com to take part. A selection process involving major firms and the Tech Council will follow. Selected emerging companies may meet with multiple major firms, depending on mutual interest.

There is no set definition as to what constitutes an emerging company. It can be a startup with a few founders and limited revenue or a small business with several dozen employees and solid revenue. What matters most is whether major firms spot partnership potential when reviewing applications.

A company registration fee is due at the time of application; forms for which are available online. Companies that are not selected to participate will receive a full refund.

The March 18 “speed date” meetings are 15 minutes each with five minutes between. Other features of the event are:

  • Educational “Office Hours” seminars, which will be available to all participants during those times in which they are not scheduled for individual meetings;
  • An event overview and opening discussion to help set the stage for emerging companies by allowing major firms to talk generally about their goals, needs and emerging markets;
  • A keynote presentation and plenary panel, and;
  • Networking breakfast, lunch and reception.

Sponsors thus far are; Apple, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals, AVI Systems, Baird Capital, BDO, CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen), Deloitte, Flad Architects, Google, Greater Green Bay Chamber, Johnson Controls, Lost Boys Interactive, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Microsoft, Raven Software, Ruder Ware, Sadoff E-Recycling & Data Destruction, SARA Investment Real Estate, Shive-Hattery, Summerfest Tech, Turo, UMOS, University Research Park, UW-Madison Center for Diary Research, UW-Madison Data Science Institute, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Platteville, Virent, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp, WHEFA, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters and Wisconsin Counties Association.

Visit wistechsummit.com for more information on the event, the application process, registration and sponsorship opportunities.