MADISON – Investors from eight angel networks or early stage investment funds will take part as judges in the 2007 “Elevator Pitch Oympics” at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, to be held Nov. 14-15 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison.

The phrase “elevator pitch” is a familiar part of our language. It describes a sales pitch that is delivered in a short amount of time – such as an elevator ride in a tall building, or some place else where the “pitcher” has a captive audience.

The Elevator Pitch Olympics at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium is intended to give entrepreneurs and early-stage business executives a chance to deliver a brief (90 seconds or less) pitch about their company or business idea to a panel of venture capitalists and angel investors.

It will be held beginning at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, in the Lecture Hall at Monona Terrace.

Up to 20 companies will be selected to present. There will be no Power Point presentations, hand-outs or props of any kind – just a quick pitch to the panel of judges. The judges will score the contest in a light-hearted manner by numerical scores, 1 through 5 (with 5 being the highest), on two categories:

1. Would you as a judge take a meeting with this business person to discuss the plan in detail?

2. Would you read beyond the first page of the business plan if it arrived the next day in your office?

The judges will take about three minutes to comment after each pitch, with the goal of giving each participant some tips on how to improve their presentation or their business plan summary.

Judges for the contest are: Basil Mundy, Wisconsin Investment Partners; Bob Okabe, RPX Group; Charlie Goff, NEW Capital Management; Tim Mathison, DaneVest Capital; Valerie Wulf, Phenomenelle Angels; Patrick Genn, Continuum Investment Partners; Michael Liang, Baird Venture Partners; and John Neis, Venture Investors LLC.

Participants with the highest scores in each round will win a “Rising Star” trophy from the conference organizers. There will also be a “People’s Choice” award based on audience voting.

“The Elevator Pitch Olympics is intended to be instructional, fun and relatively pressure free. All that’s missing is the elevator and the tall building,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which is producing the symposium. American Transmission Company is the sponsor for the Elevator Pitch Olympics.

The annual conference, which also includes a number of networking events, panel discussions and nationally known speakers, will feature two other opportunities for investors to preview early-stage companies:

n      The Wisconsin Angel Network investor presentation tracks on the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 14, will feature nearly two-dozen companies from Wisconsin. About half are biomedical companies and the rest are engaged in software, Internet services, advanced manufacturing and “cleantech,” which includes alternative energy. Each of these companies is seeking between $500,000 and $5 million in private equity investment. Presentations will be limited to seven minutes each with up to three minutes of questions from investors from across the “I-Q Corridor” region of the Upper Midwest.

The First Look Forum, hosted by the UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations, will be held during the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 14. Investors may get a sneak peek at some of the best technologies under development on campus.

Participants in the angel and “Elevator Pitch” tracks will also be eligible to take part in “VentureQuest,” an instructional seminar conducted by veteran early-stage consultants Courtney Price and Mack Davis of Denver, Colo.

The conference also features an awards banquet for Wisconsin companies that have received federal Small Business Innovation Research grants, which help drive research ideas toward commercialization.

Visit to register, review sponsorship opportunities or to learn more.