June 1-2, Italian Community Center, Milwaukee

Wednesday, June 1

2 to 3 p.m. Registration
3 to 5:30 p.m. Top 13 Diligent (Baker’s) Dozen presentations
Welcoming remarks by invited guest Cavalier Johnson, Mayor of Milwaukee
5:30 to 7 p.m. Reception celebrating Wisconsin entrepreneurs

Thursday, June 2

8 a.m. Continental breakfast and registration
8:45 to 9:45 a.m. Greg Piefer, SHINE Technologies, keynote speech
Sponsored by Wisconsin Investment Partners
9:45 to 10 a.m. Networking break
10 to 10:50 a.m. Wisconsin technologies to watch: Learn more about the state’s hot industries
Our Midwest state isn’t a “one-trick badger” when it comes to industries that employ technology. From life sciences to advanced manufacturing, and from natural resources to power and controls, learn about four sectors that are among those that set Wisconsin apart from others.
Moderator: Aaron Davis, MKE Tech Hub Coalition
Panelists: Dean Amhaus, The Water Council; Phil Fonfara, Blue Line Battery; and Christina Runge, Medical College of Wisconsin
10 to 10:50 a.m. 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 do you run a company and keep your life balance? We’ll ask some experts who have done so.
Moderator: Jessica Silvaggi, UWM Research Foundation
Panelists: Kwadwo Owusu-Ofori, Twi Pods and Ashley Quinto Powell
10 to 10:50 a.m. Finding capital: Different fundraising paths for early stage companies
Wisconsin is developing an array of financing sources for young companies. The list includes angel networks and funds, traditional venture funds, corporate venture arms, family funds, crowdfunding and new twists on debt. Here about some of the state’s early-stage financing flavors.
Moderator: John McDonald, Godfrey & Kahn
Panelists: Allie Palmer, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; Daniel Sem, CU Ventures and John Zeratsky, Character
10:50 to 11:05 a.m. Networking break
11:05 to 11:55 a.m. 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, compensating team members and preparing for investment.
Moderator: Scott Brunner, Husch Blackwell
Panelists: Pat McQuillan, Central Standard Craft Distillery; Tom Quinn, Marquette Energy Analytics; and Carrie Thome, NVNG Investment Advisors
11:05 to 11:55 a.m. Tech talent wanted: Attracting, developing and retaining the skills to fuel your growth
Attracting, hiring and retaining the right people is essential for any organization, large or small, but the stakes can be larger when it’s a young company that cannot afford to make expensive personnel mistakes. Hear from companies that have devised strategies that are right for their stage and size.
Moderator: Kathy Henrich, MKE Tech Hub Coalition
Panelists: David Brady, Colorful Connections; Raymond Seaver, zizzl; Chris Widmayer, Penrod Software; and Lia Vaska, Expert Institute
11:05 to 11:55 a.m. How we funded our companies: Hear from entrepreneurs on their funding strategies
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. We will hear how some young companies pulled it off … their own way.
Moderator: Dan Gawronski, Michael Best
Panelists: Daniel Cruz, washbnb; Sunit Mohindroo, Citylitics; and Forest Richter, Fresh Coast Labs
Noon to 1:30 p.m. 19th annual Seize the Day luncheon
2022 winner: Cory Nettles, Generation Growth Capital
Diversity, equity and inclusion presentation by Matt Kures, UW-Extension
1:30 to 2 p.m. Wisconsin Innovation Showcase
2 to 2:50 p.m. Community and academic resources you can tap in starting a company
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, academic research channels and more.
Moderator: Kalpa Vithalani, Marquette University
Panelists: Ilya Avdeev, UW-Milwaukee; Joey Frayne, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; Adhira Sunkara, WiSys; and Brian Walsh, Center for Technology Commercialization
2 to 2:50 p.m. Challenges women face as entrepreneurs and investors: Some are not always obvious to others
It need not be overt. Many, if not most, challenges encountered by women entrepreneurs are subtle. They include struggles to be taken seriously; being able to “own” their accomplishments without coming off as bragging; and finding investors who understand female-oriented market needs can be different. Our panel will examine ways that women can succeed in a male-dominated field.
Moderator: Leslee Cohen, AllRise Legal Counsel
Panelists: Rebeca Cooke, Red Letter Grant; Bre Loughlin, Nurse Disrupted; and Karen Plunkett, Milwaukee Venture Partners
2 to 2:50 p.m. What kind of deals are getting funded (and what is not) in 2022?
Many observers predicted COVID-19 would devastate the early stage market. It was the opposite, with Wisconsin charting two record years for early stage deal values. What deals are getting funded, however, in a year dominated by inflation, interest rate hikes, war and supply-chain troubles? We will examine where investors are putting their money as 2022 moves on.
Moderator: Mark Ehrmann, Quarles & Brady
Panelists: Tim Keane, Golden Angels Investors and Jenni Le, Venture Investors
2:50 to 3 p.m. Networking break
3 to 4:30 p.m. Governor’s Business Plan Contest award ceremony
With invited guest WEDC Secretary Missy Hughes
Awards sponsored by Madison Development Corp.