May 31-June 1, 2023 - Italian Community Center, Milwaukee

Wednesday, May 31

2 to 3 p.m. Registration
2 to 2:45 p.m. Investor only meeting
Sponsored by Insperity
3 to 5:30 p.m. Top 12 Diligent Dozen presentations
Sponsored by WE Energies
5:30 to 7 p.m. Reception celebrating Wisconsin entrepreneurs

Thursday, June 1

8 a.m. Continental breakfast and registration
8:45 to 9:45 a.m. Charles Ross, chief executive officer of the International Business Innovation Association, keynote speech
9:45 to 10 a.m. Networking break
10 to 10:50 a.m. LAUNCH: 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 ag-tech, and from water-tech to power and controls, learn about four sectors that are among those that set Wisconsin apart from others.
Moderator: Jessica Silvaggi, UWM Research Foundation
Panelists: Amy Jensen, The Water Council; John Lucey, UW-Madison Center for Dairy Research; and Adhira Sunkara, WiSys
10 to 10:50 a.m. GROW: Startups need corporate sales partners: How to find the right person to say ‘yes’ (or at least a quick ‘no’)
Angel and venture capital is important to many young companies, however, securing revenue from strategic customers is just as vital for business longevity. How does the entrepreneur get to the right people in a large or complex organization to inform a credible pipeline including the likelihood and timing of a sale?
Moderator: Chad Johnson, Tip a ScRxipt

Panelists: Kelsea Elder, Strategist and Sourcing Professional; Mike Maschek, Inception Health; and Alysha Newby, Dell Technologies
10 to 10:50 a.m. SUCCEED: 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: Laura King, Accure Medical; Thomas “Rock” Mackie; and Raymond Seaver, zizzl
10:50 to 11:05 a.m. Networking break
11:05 to 11:55 a.m. PLENARY PANEL: How to pitch to investors when the angel and venture industry is puckering up
Hear some of the basics of raising capital from investors in an uncertain market. Your pitch matters, but so does your patience, especially at a time when it could be riskier to invest in young companies. A solid business plan, a product-market fit, a differentiator from the competition and an exit strategy are among elements that help investors decide whether you’re worth the risk.
Moderator: Tom Still, Wisconsin Technology Council

Panelists: David Arnstein, Venture Investors; Caroline Casson, VITALIZE Venture Capital; Mary Hannes, Golden Angels Investors; and Jacob Johnson, Laerdal Million Lives Fund
Noon to 1:30 p.m. 20th annual Seize the Day luncheon
2023 winner: Deb Carey, New Glarus Brewing Co.
1:30 to 2 p.m. Wisconsin Innovation Showcase
2 to 2:50 p.m. LAUNCH: Core services for growing your company: Strategic steps around accounting, banking, HR, and legal needs
Questions often come much earlier than you think as you grow your business. Dive into strategy around accounting, banking, compensating team members, and managing assets as your venture prepares for growth and investment.
Moderator: Scott Brunner, Husch Blackwell

Panelists: Scott Hess, CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen); Bill Stone, Wintrust; and Stephanie Timmers, Lauber & Timmers
2 to 2:50 p.m. GROW: Challenges women face as entrepreneurs: 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: Stephanie Melnick, Melnick & Melnick/She Stands Tall

Panelists: Valeri Lucks, Honeypie; Marian Singer, Wellntell; and Sherry Zhang, GenoPalete
2 to 2:50 p.m. SUCCEED: Other ways to raise money: Crowdfunding, grants, accelerators and more
Young companies can raise money in a variety of ways, from loans, grants, crowdfunding, in-kind trades, accelerators, lines of credit, venture debt and, of course, selling a product … perhaps the most overlooked strategy of all.
Moderator: Spencer X. Smith, AmpliPhi Digital

Panelists: Melinda Caughill, i65 and Steven Visuri, Stem Pharm
2:50 to 3 p.m. Networking break
3 to 4:30 p.m. Governor’s Business Plan Contest award ceremony
Awards ceremony sponsored by Business Fitness
Awards sponsored by Madison Development Corp.