Some of the most active entrepreneurs, investors and service experts from Wisconsin and beyond will take part in informative panel discussions during the first day of the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium in Madison.

The conference, which continues Thursday, Nov. 7 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, will also feature speakers, workshops, company pitches and an “Investor Intros” segment to connect emerging companies with angel and venture capitalists.

Learn more, check out our sponsors and register at Here are topics to be covered Wednesday, Nov. 6:

“The rise of social investing: Can ‘doing good’ lead to doing well?”

Whether it’s called “social investing,” “impact investing” or “responsible investing,” certain angel and venture capital investors encourage investing in companies they believe promote social, environmental and community change. But can “doing good” also lead to those investors “doing well?” Learn how investors and others are making space for both in search of a double bottom-line impact.

Moderated by Karen Timberlake, Michael Best, with panelists: Kathy Hoyt, Woronora Advisors; Aaron Olson, NovoMoto; Amanda DoAmaral, Fiveable, and Cindy Bohlen, Riverwater Partners

“Reverse pitch: Healthcare problems that ‘treps can help solve”

Innovation in healthcare involves providers who want to improve quality and results, payers who want to control costs and entrepreneurs with ideas they hope provide solutions. What are the “pain points” for healthcare providers and how can young companies help? Learn more at a “reverse pitch” involving people who understand healthcare, technology and innovation.

Moderated by Jed Roher, Godfrey & Kahn, with panelists: Kristine Seymour, Michael Best Strategies; Bill Farrell, Gundersen Health System and Tim Bartholow, WEA Trust

“CompSci in Wisconsin: How major universities are stepping up to help business”

Computer science is one of the defining skills of our time, and necessary in every business and industry. How are Wisconsin’s major academic computer science programs working with businesses to educate workers, provide research and collaborate on projects? Learn from some academic leaders from four leading institutions on how they are tied into Wisconsin’s digital economy and future.

Moderated by Tom Still, Tech Council with panelists: Remzi Apraci-Dusseau, UW-Madison Department of Computer Sciences; Carmel Ruffalo, Marquette; Ethan Munson, UW-Milwaukee and Derek Riley, Milwaukee School of Engineering

“Alternative models for growing young Wisconsin businesses”

Young companies can raise money in a variety of ways, from angel and venture capital to 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. We’ll examine a few case studies of how a blended approach can work for many entrepreneurs.

Moderated by Jonathon Horne, Idea Fund of La Crosse, with panelists Lizzy Haucke, Reach Works; Tom Gould, Swallow Therapeutics and Kyle LaFond, American Provenance

“Why Wisconsin is no longer flyover territory for investors”

Investors from outside Wisconsin are putting more money into early stage deals in the Badger state. Why is Wisconsin on the watch list for investors from the Midwest and beyond? Learn why a mix of realistic valuations, lower business costs, a talented workforce and more is putting Wisconsin on the road maps of investors.

Moderated by Greg Lynch, Michael Best, with panelists: Jackie DiMonte, Hyde Park Venture Partners; Laurence Hayward, Independence Equity; Abhinaya Konduru, M25 and Ryan Weber, Great North Labs

“Keeping it legal: Do’s and don’ts for young companies”

Legal questions often come fast and furious when you’re a young company. Learn the basics on company structure, protecting your intellectual property, taxes, employee relations, preparing for investment, data privacy and more.

Moderated by Erin Ogden, Ogden Glazer + Schaefer with panelists: Charles Neider, Neider & Boucher; Adrienne Ehrhardt, Michael Best; Michelle Umberger, Perkins Coie and Mindi Giftos, Husch Blackwell

The conference will also feature:

  • More than 40 company presentations and the “Investor Intros” speed-dating segment, which more than 430 one-on-one meetings.
  • Keynote speakers Marques Ogden, former NFL lineman turned entrepreneur, and tech veteran and investor Jeff Schumacher
  • A conversation with Anne Smith, the winner of the “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education” award.
  • “Office Hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups or one-on-one.
  • A Nov. 6 evening conference reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.