Emerging companies can apply through February 24 to meet with major firms and explore potential business relationships around technology needs and innovation as part of the fourth annual Wisconsin Tech Summit.

The day-long event will be held Monday, March 27, 2017 at the GE Healthcare Institute in Waukesha, Wis. More information, including an application form, can be found at www.wistechsummit.com. Repeat emerging companies are welcome to apply.

The Tech Summit is based on the assumption that large and small companies travel in different “orbits,” even if they’re in the same business sectors, and rarely collide except by chance. The summit will include a series of brief meetings, similar to a “speed-dating” exercise that will foster communication and partnership. It is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and partners that include the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

“In each of the summit’s first three years, about 15 major companies took part in brief meetings with more than 50 emerging companies,” said Toni Sikes, chief executive officer of CODAworx and chairwoman of the Tech Council. “This is a way to enhance company-to-company connections in Wisconsin and beyond, with benefits to entrepreneurs and major companies alike.”

Major 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 telecommunications.

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

“The evolving information needs of major companies may require strategic partnerships with innovative young companies,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “Potential business relationships might include contracting for research and development, becoming part of a larger supply chain, and pursuing investment or acquisition strategies.”

Participating major companies thus far include Aurora Health Care, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Dedicated Computing, Dickten Masch Plastics, Direct Supply, GE Healthcare, HP Enterprise Services, Promega, Racine Metal-Fab and Rockwell Automation. Additional companies will be announced in the coming weeks.

Emerging companies may apply to participate at www.wistechsummit.com with a deadline of February 24. Application is on the website or can be downloaded here. A selection process involving major companies and the Tech Council will follow. Selected companies may meet with more than one company, depending on mutual interest.

A company registration fee is due at the time of application; Tech Council Innovation Network members are eligible for a discounted rate. Companies that are not selected to participate will receive a full refund.

Attendance at the event is limited to representatives of participating major companies, selected emerging firms or funds and event sponsors.  

The “speed dating” meetings on March 27 will run about 15 minutes each. Other features of the event will include:

  • Educational 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 companies an opportunity to talk generally about their goals, needs and emerging markets;
  • An afternoon talk by Chris Rizik, CEO and Fund Manager with Renaissance Venture Capital Fund.
  • A continental breakfast, networking lunch and onsite reception.

Sponsors thus far include Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium; American Family Insurance; American Transmission Co.; AT&T; Baird Capital; BloodCenter of Wisconsin; Dedicated Computing; GE Healthcare; HP Enterprise Services; UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations; UWM Research Foundation; von Briesen & Roper; Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; WTN Media

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