MADISON – Fifty-seven early stage companies applied for one of two chances to present to potential investors at the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, to be held Nov. 5-6 at Madison’s Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.

The annual conference, which has existed under different names for more than 20 years, will feature the fourth annual “Elevator Pitch Olympics” for companies in a seed financing stage and the second annual Wisconsin Angel Network Early Stage presentation track for companies seeking angel investments beginning in the $500,000 range. About three-dozen companies will be selected to present in one track or the other.

Company applications were received in five major sectors: information technology and Internet services, biotechnology, medical devices, advanced manufacturing and “cleantech.”

“We will select a strong line-up of companies that will merit the attention of investors and others who attend this year’s conference,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Tech Council. The Tech Council produces the conference and manages the Wisconsin Angel Network.

During the 2007 conference, 47 investors from five states heard presentations from about three-dozen companies. Several received financing within weeks.

Selected companies for the 2008 conference, to be announced soon by the conference steering committee, will make presentations in one of two tracks: 

  • Companies actively seeking angel financing will present Wednesday, Nov. 5, during the Wisconsin Angel Network investment track. Presentations will be limited to seven minutes with up to three minutes of questions from investors from across the “I-Q Corridor” region of the Upper Midwest. 
  • The Elevator Pitch Olympics on Thursday, Nov. 6 will allow entrepreneurs to make 90-second presentations to a panel of investors. The term describes a pitch that’s short enough to be given during an elevator ride. Just as in the real Olympics, investor judges hold up their scores and give points ranging from 1 to 5 in the categories of “quality of presentation” and “business fundability.” Immediately afterwards, presenters will get constructive feedback from the judges – all seasoned investors.

The symposium will also feature nationally known speakers, more than a dozen panel discussions, a look back at the founding of University Research Park, a networking reception and an awards dinner for Wisconsin recipients of federal small-business research grants. Participants in the angel and “Elevator Pitch” tracks will also be eligible to take part in presentation training seminars.

The conference is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and its partners and sponsors. Visit to register, review sponsorship opportunities or to learn more.