The 2019 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium attracted a mix of 500 investors, entrepreneurs and others Nov. 6-7 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, where a combination of company pitches, speakers, panel discussions and workshops focused on ways to enhance venture and angel capital investing in Wisconsin.

Forty-three companies presented to investors during two separate presentation tracks over the two days. Scores of investors from Wisconsin, the Upper Midwest and beyond joined us to hear those presentations and to meet with companies one-on-one during the “Investor Intros” segment on Nov. 7. Presenting companies were selected from a larger pool vetted by the Wisconsin Technology Council’s steering committee.

The conference also featured impactful keynote presentations by two speakers. Marques Odgen, a former NFL lineman who discussed going from rags to riches and back and learned to embrace inclusion along the way spoke on Wednesday morning after a warm audience welcome by new Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. CEO/president Missy Hughes. Tech veteran, investor and UW-Eau Claire grad Jeff Schumacher presented a fascinating discussion Thursday morning on cryptocurrency and decentralized technology implications and forecasting.

Anne Smith, an attorney, small business owner and mentor won the 2019 Triple E Award (Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education) launched the Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic at the UW-Madison and co-founded Madison Seed Accelerator Inc. and helped to launch StartingBlock Madison, where she serves on the board of directors. Smith then joined a panel of her successful clients: Ankit Agarwal (Imbed Biosciences), Nathan Allman (Chefs for Seniors) and Erin Tenderholt IBlexx Technologies), who also won top honors at 2018 Elevator Pitch Olympics during the Early Stage Symposium.

The annual Wisconsin W•O•M•E•N reception, held Nov. 5 before the formal start of the conference in conjunction with WARF’s Innovation Day, attracted nearly 100 people to hear Darcy Luoma speak about her life coaching experience and how she uses it to help entrepreneurs successfully balance work and personal life, followed by a panel with Cindy Poiesz, Evolve Brands and Laura Gallagher, The Creative Company.

Click here to access the online gallery of #ESSWI by Ben Brewer Photography (searchable by last name when possible) – prints available for purchase.

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Newsroom for 2019 Early Stage Symposium (newest on top):
WisBusiness: Wisconsin’s investment landscape is restricted by an overall lack of capital, according to a panel of investors
Michael Best Strategies: Social Investing – Moving Quickly from Fad to Force for Change
InsideWis: Women entrepreneurs, investors, making tangible strides
WisBusiness: Startup innovations seen as key to fixing ‘broken’ health care system
WMTV: WOMEN Reception promotes work-home balance at Monona Terrace
WisBusiness: HaloVino Founder going into Early Stage Symposium with new sustainability focus
Countdown! Top 10 reasons to check out this week’s Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium
The ‘office’ is open! Industry experts on hand for advice at 2019 Early Stage Symposium
InsideWis: No longer exclusively biotech: Emerging companies in Wisconsin become more diverse
Returning military vets may register at discount to attend Nov. 6-7 Early Stage Symposium
Experienced ‘treps, investors on hand Nov. 6 for six panels at 2019 Early Stage Symposium
Emerging firms will pitch over two days at 2019 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium
Investor, mentor, ‘trep: Jan Eddy latest to join Tech Council’s ‘Investor Hall of Fame’
Achieving effectiveness at work, home topic at Nov. 5 W·O·M·E·N reception in Madison
InWisconsin: Early Stage Symposium connects young companies with investors
Madison Startups: Anne Smith to Receive ‘Triple E’ Award
Law Clinic’s co-founder Anne Smith to accept ‘Triple E’ award Nov. 6 at Early Stage event
InsideWis: No secret sauce, but some common ingredients for university-based startups
Milwaukee Business Journal: Half a billion dollars in VC funds to converge on Madison to hear state startups pitch
WisBusiness: the Podcast with Andrea Dlugos, co-manager for Wisconsin Investment Partners Tom Still: More regulation of tech isn’t the answer
InsideWis: Turning early stage rejection into ‘yes’ can depend on supply of cash
Recovering from business loss is ex-NFL player’s topic Nov. 6 during Early Stage Symposium
LaCrosse Tribune: Tom Still: There’s room for more startup funding
Investors will meet with emerging companies at 2019 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium
Tech veteran, investor Jeff Schumacher to speak Nov. 7 during Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium
Calling all companies! Apply for three chances to pitch at Early Stage Symposium

Mark your calendars now for Nov. 10-11, 2020!