June 4-5, 2019 at Venue 42 in Milwaukee #WiTreps

Agenda for 2019:

Tuesday, June 4
8 a.m.Continental breakfast + registration
8:45 – 9:45 a.m.

Welcoming remarks
Opening speaker: “super-angel” investor Jeff Rusinow

 9:45 – 10 a.m.Networking break *
10 – 10:50 a.m.

LAUNCH: Milwaukee startups to watch: Learn what’s happening with some of the region’s exciting young companies
Not so long ago, startup companies were more of a curiosity than the norm. That has changed – to the point that Milwaukee-area startups are popping up in all sector. Hear from ‘treps who are redefining the region and why they’re on a successful path.
Moderated by Matt Cordio, Startup Milwaukee
Panelists: Carol Vance, Alinea Engage; Chris Widmayer, Penrod and Brian Beeghly, Informed360
GROW: Milwaukee’s F+B revolution: It’s Brew City, Cream City and more for ‘treps who are putting Milwaukee on the menu
The Milwaukee region has a rich tradition of producing, packaging and shipping food and beverages of all descriptions. With ample water, a central location, logistics, a seasoned workforce and access to agricultural resources, Milwaukee is a major part of a statewide cluster. Learn more from our panelists.
Moderated by Erin Ogden, Ogden Glazer + Schaefer
Panelists: Cindy Poiesz, Evolve Brands; Kwadwo Owusu-Ofori, Satori Food Project and Jim McCabe, MKE Brewing Co.
SUCCEED: Corporate investing trends: Innovation inside major firms can include investing in young companies. Learn what BigCo’s want
Corporate venture capital activity hit an all-time high in 2018 and shows few signs of slowing. It has more than doubled in just five years. What is driving the investment interest of established companies? Learn from four of Wisconsin’s biggest and best major firms.
Moderated by John McDonald, Godfrey & Kahn
Panelists: Craig Schedler, Northwestern Mutual; Jed White, TASC Ventures and Brian Kaas, CMFG Ventures

11 – 11:50 a.m.

LAUNCH: Keeping it legal: Strategic steps to take and pitfalls to avoid
Legal questions often come much earlier than you think if you’re launching a company. Learn some basics about company structure, different ways to protect your intellectual property, and preparing for investment.
Moderated by Jay Creagh, Godfrey & Kahn
Panelists: Kate Bechen, Husch Blackwell; Matt Pietruczak, Quarles & Brady; Dan Gawronski, Michael Best and Ron Bote, WIPFLi
GROW: Connecting the I-Q corridors: Common challenges and assets in Chicago, Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay
The Upper Midwest is home to major companies, financial resources, research universities and more. How can the region bind itself in a way that puts it on the map with innovation hubs on the nation’s coasts and elsewhere?
Moderated by Tom Still, Wisconsin Technology Council
Panelists: Julia Kanouse, Illinois Tech Association; Abby Taubner, gener8tor; Chandra Miller-Fienen, StartingBlock and Peter Romenesko, Titletown Tech
SUCCEED: Three faces of entrepreneurism: From startup to growth to maturity
To be successful, entrepreneurism is a business life cycle, with companies moving from the “born in a basement” stage to expansion to exit over time. What are the phases of growth and how must entrepreneurs adapt to those varying stages? Learn from entrepreneurs who have reached different rungs on the ladder.
Moderated by Tina Chang, SysLogic
Panelists: Cynthia LaConte, Dohmen; Kathy Hust, Scanalytics; Kyle Weatherly, Frontdesk and Justin Nicols, Sift Healthcare

12 – 1:30 p.m.Lunch
16th annual Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” Award
2019 Winner: Sue Marks
Award generously provided by Hendricks Holding Co.
Luncheon sponsored by Marshfield Clinic Health System
1:30 – 2 p.m.Wisconsin Innovation Showcase (Exhibits)
2:05 – 2:55 p.m.

Afternoon plenary panel:
Diversity and Inclusion: What’s the point of D+I?
The topic of diversity and inclusion generates conversation among big and small companies alike, but how do companies move beyond talk to action? And why should they bother to do so? Those questions will be explored by panelists with a mix of workforce experiences in a plenary discussion that will cross all three conference tracks.
Moderated by Gretchen Jameson, Concordia University
Panelists: Elmer Moore, Scale Up Milwaukee, Ben Juarez, Cream City Coders; Gina Pagan, Northwestern Mutual, Dana Guthrie, Alchemy Angel Investors, Amanda Daering, Newance and Tim Keane, Golden Angels Investors

3:05 – 5:30 p.m.Diligent Dozen – Top 12 Governor’s Business Plan Contest presentations
5:30 – 7 p.m.Celebrating Wisconsin’s Entrepreneurs’ reception
Wednesday, June 5
8 a.m.Continental breakfast + registration
8:45 – 9:45 a.m.

Morning keynote: tech designer and author John Zeratsky
The Design Sprint: How to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days

9:45 – 10 a.m.Networking break
10 – 10:50 a.m.

LAUNCH: How to fund your company: Borrow it, earn it or find investors
What funding path works best for you? How much capital do you need? How much equity are you willing to give up? Those are among questions entrepreneurs should ask themselves as they consider where and how they find sources of capital, from angel and venture dollars to loans to customers – to a combination of all three.
Moderated by Tim Keane, Golden Angels Investors
Panelists: Dana Guthrie, Alchemy Angel Investors; Carol Vance, Alinea Engage and Chris Eckstrom, Rock River Capital Partners
GROW: It’s OK to fail, especially if you learn from it: What those who have cratered would change if they could do it over again
Common mistakes that can be company killers, especially if you don’t understand some basic rules. Hear from those who came back from adversity by learning from it.
Moderated by Nathan Hammons, Marquette Law School
Panelists: Jacquin Davidson, Midwest Energy Research Consortium; Kelly Fitzsimmons, Custom Reality Services and Steve Catlin, ParqEx
SUCCEED: State of the ecosystem: Learn how to tap into resources in your community, state and beyond
Through a series of quick pitches, learn how to tap into the resources of private and public networks dedicated to helping your business grow. Hear about community portals into loans and other financing, business tax credits, mentoring and more.
Moderated by Mark Ehrmann, Quarles & Brady
Panelists: Abby Taubner, gener8tor; Dave Linz, Center for Technology Commercialization; Joey Frayne, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; Bruce Palzkill, Department of Workforce Development; Elizabeth Thelen, M7, Elmer Moore, Scale Up Milwaukee and Nadiyah Johnson, Jet Constellations

11 – 11:50 a.m.

LAUNCH: Marketing in the muddle: How to communicate effectively in an age of media dysfunction
Most newspapers are struggling to find the right digital strategy. Television is being supplanted by a myriad of channels. Social media is encountering massive public mistrust, not to mention rumbles of government regulation. So, what’s a young company to do? Learn about multiple approaches to telling your story. After all, it’s all about attracting and retaining customers – and positioning your firm for growth.
Moderated by Jackie Hermes, Accelity Marketing
Panelists: Dan Meyer, BizTImes Media; Jenny Weeden, Accelity Marketing; Spencer X Smith, AmpliPhi and Steve Lyons, SJL Government Affairs & Communications
GROW: How to sleep at night: Maintaining a balance of work, home and mental health
National mental health statistics are troubling – and entrepreneurs are far from immune. In fact, some experts say entrepreneurs are 50 percent more likely to report having a mental health condition, with some specific conditions being incredibly prevalent amongst founders. How can you run a company and keep your life balance?
Moderated by Elmer Moore, Scale Up Milwaukee
Panelists: Rachel Neill, Carex Consulting; Jeremy Fojut, NEWaukee and Mae Haggerty, ConfIdence and Darcy Luoma, Darcy Luoma Coaching and Consulting
SUCCEED: Investing in the Heartland: Hear from some of the leading Midwest-focused investors
Entrepreneurs can wait to be discovered by coastal VCs or look for funding closer to home, where more regional funds are scouting for deals. Sectors such as healthcare, financial tech, logistics and agriculture are fueling investments in the Upper Midwest. Hear from representatives of three funds that are making a mark in the Heartland.
Moderated by Justin Beck, PerBlue
Panelists: Brad Baum, Lightbank; Ron Watson, Lewis & Clark and Trey Hart, 50 South Capital 

12 – 2 p.m.

Gov’s Biz Plan Contest luncheon

Gov’s Biz Plan Contest awards ceremony finale featuring 2019 Wisconsin YES! winners: Pablo Dale, Christian Hong and Andy Liu.
with invited guest Kathy Blumenfeld, secretary, Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions
Award generously provided by Madison Development Corp.


* Networking breaks generously sponsored by these platinum sponsors: American Transmission Co.; AT&T,
Ben Brewer Photography, BizTimes Milwaukee, Godfrey & Kahn, Husch Blackwell, Michael Best,
University Research Park, WARF and WEDC