Artificial intelligence is doing some amazing things, but we would prefer to see the “real,” in-person intelligence and wit of people like you at the 19th annual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium in Madison. Here’s are 10 motivations to drop by Wednesday and Thursday for one of the Midwest’s premier events for entrepreneurs and investors.

Register in-person Wednesday and Thursday at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, 1 John Nolen Drive, in downtown Madison. Here is why you should be there…

  1. Have we mentioned it’s in-person? We’ve found we can’t say it enough – we’ll be there in 3D!
  2. You’ll hear about national trends that touch Wisconsin: Michael Knetter, who has advised presidents of both parties and heads the UW Foundation, will talk about trends in the macro-economy that could touch the early-stage world. Susan Healy, who has been a CFO for major companies, a Goldman Sachs investment banker and an advisor to young firms, will talk about getting “back to basics” for startups in an uncertain time. Veteran video game designers Brian Raffel of Raven Software, Tim Gerritsen of Lost Boys Interactive and Ben Kvalo of Midwest Games will describe how Wisconsin is poised to become a leader in that industry. Even better, you can play some of their games before or after in the Grand Terrace!
  3. You’ll watch new companies make their pitch to investors: The heat is on! Twenty-four companies were picked by our steering committee for five-minute presentations Wednesday. They range from advanced manufacturing to medical devices, from pet products to energy, and from workforce solutions to innovative construction. On Thursday, another 15 startups will pitch to a panel of investor judges during our annual “Elevator Pitch Olympics.” It’s a lightning round – 90 seconds per pitch!
  4. You will likely bump into a seasoned investor: About 60 investors of all stripes are registered to attend. They include angels, venture capitalists, corporate VCs and more — not only from Wisconsin but well beyond. Even if you’re not presenting in one of the conference tracks or signed up for “Investor Intros” on Nov. 9, if you show up at Monona Terrace, you are likely to meet one. The rest is up to you.
  5. You’ll feel the buzz from the state’s largest speed-dating event: Speaking of ourInvestor Intros” segment, emerging companies will circulate among 30-plus tables to meet with investors in a series of short ice-breakers. With 275-plus speed dates booked over two hours, some meaningful relationships are on the horizon.
  6. There’s no lack of program choices: Ten panels or workshops are spread over two days, all organized around questions entrepreneurs and early stage companies need to ask – and answer.
  7. You can visit with experts during our “Office Hours” segments: Back by popular demand is “Office Hours,” a series of small-group discussions at which entrepreneurs can discuss specific issues with experts and their peers. Scheduled during the two days are: “Understanding Wisconsin’s ‘Qualified New Business Venture’ process”; “Legal essentials for entrepreneurs and startups”; “I’m not ready (yet) for angel or venture: What are other sources?” and “To LLC or to not LLC: How you form your company can matter.”
  8.  You won’t leave hungry: Two luncheons, a reception and two breakfasts are included in your registration fee. It’s hard to go wrong on that alone!
  9. You’ll be flooded with useful info: Our 58-page program manual is a storehouse of information. P.S. Bring your mobile phones so you can engage in the social media conversation and take part in judging some of our pitches.
  10. You’ll be a part of a major networking event: Whether it’s over refreshments, during the panel discussions or in lobby conversations, you’ll meet hundreds of people who are building Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial economy. Join them!

Learn more by checking out our online agenda at