Our first virtual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium featured a multi-day format on Nov. 9-11 which allowed attendees time to network, interact with sponsors, exhibitors and other attendees. Click here to view the program.

More than 500 “Investor Intros” meetings were held on the afternoon of Monday, Nov. 9, between early stage founders and interested investors. The George Mosher Investor Hall of Fame award and ceremony followed, with the 2020 honors going to long-time investor and mentor TIm Keane.

Twenty Tech Council Investor Networks presentations utilized a virtual presentation platform to highlight their individual decks, and we added a new TCIN People’s Choice awards, which went to AirDeck. Congrats!

Viral social media expert Jon Jacques kicked off the Tuesday, Nov. 10 show, followed by a panel discussion with Dr. Nicky Quick and Matt Doyle of Epic Systems talking about the new Epic Health Research Network. Jason Franklin of WV Ventures and Craig Schedler, Northwestern Mutual, then discussed the future of corporate investing. Tom Erickson, Jignesh Patel, Kristjan Sigurdson of the Wisconsin CDL (Creative Destruction Lab) talked with Jessica Silvaggi of UWM Research Foundation about the new program’s competitive opportunities for startups.

The Triple E Awards (Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education) wrapped up the day, with angel investor Lorrie Heinemann taking the 2020 honors. A new video segment was added this year: ‘Trep Teachers to Watch, which featured highlights from across the state: Dr. Tim Nelson, Mayo Clinic and Eau Claire; Erin Clausen, Irontek; Que and Khalif El-Amin, Young Enterprising Society and Jill Enos, TitletownTech. Watch it here

The morning of Wednesday, Nov. 11 opened with a panel of out-of-state investors: Candice Matthews Brackeen, Lighthouse Capital; Jonathan Ellis, Sandalphon Capital; and Ron Watson, Dundee Venture Capital, discussed why they are following Wisconsin startups with John McDonald, Godfrey & Kahn. A panel followed that focused on bioindustry and sustainability with Mary Blanchard, Wisconsin Energy Institute; Michael Koeris, serial entrepreneur and National Institutes of Health; Kevin Barnett, Pyran and Karen Timberlake of Michael Best. Our final panel of the day featured Kristi Ebong of Orbita, who discussed healthcare AI trends with Jed Roher of Husch Blackwell.

Our Elevator Pitch Olympics were still live, albeit virtual, and focused on the 90-second pitches of 17 different early stage startups being scored and offered immediate feedback by our investor judges: Erin Henry, Northwestern Mutual; Sarah Bain, Techstars; and Michael Thorson, Inventure Capital.

Rising Star awards (top judges scores) went to Nobbits USA – a unique shoelace innovation, Otrafy – a farm-to-table SaaS platform. The People’s Choice award, as voted by attendees, went to Mappix – a social network for drone photography.  Congrats and great job to all!

Student stories from the UW-Madison LSC class can be read here!

News and press releases on the 2020 Early Stage Symposium:
Wisconsin State Journal: Two Madison-area startups, and one from Minnesota, win prizes in business competition
WisBusiness: Social networking guru says focusing on one platform can jumpstart online success
Countdown! Top 10 reasons to check out this week’s Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium
WisBusiness: The Podcast with Tom Still previewing the 2020 Early Stage Symposium
InsideWis: Virtual ‘new normal,’ coastal flight may benefit Wisconsin venture capital
WisBusiness: Boosted Chews looks to stimulate interest in its caffeine product
Rise of corporate investing topic of Nov. 10 at virtual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium
Emerging firms will pitch Nov. 9, 10 and 11 at virtual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium
Mentor, investor Tim Keane is 2020 inductee to Tech Council’s ‘Investor Hall of Fame’
vFairs to power interactive virtual platform for November Wisconsin Early Stage event
Can Wisconsin lead bio-industrial surge? Find out at 2020 Early Stage Symposium
Returning military vets, students may register at discount to attend November Early Stage event
WisBusiness: An EHRN duo from Epic will explain how it is tapping digital health records to better inform clinical experts
Epic Health Research Network to be featured at 2020 Early Stage Symposium
Midwest investors to discuss potential in Wisconsin, region at Early Stage event
Long-time angel capital leader Lorrie Heinemann to receive ‘Triple E’ award at Early Stage Symposium
Wisconsin ‘Creative Destruction Lab’ to be featured at 2020 Early Stage Symposium
Deadline extended to apply for three chances to pitch at the Early Stage Symposium
Viral marketing pro, entrepreneur Jacques joins 2020 Early Stage Symposium line-up
Calling all companies!  Apply for three chances to pitch at the 2020 Early Stage Symposium

Thank you to all who joined us Nov. 9-11, 2020: THANK YOU ESSWI 2020