MADISON – Twelve panel discussions on topics of interest to entrepreneurs and investors alike will be among the highlights of the annual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, to be held Nov. 5-6 at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in Madison. 


Produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and its partners, the conference gives selected companies the opportunity to make presentations and meet with investors. For more information and to register for the conference, go to


Organized across three concurrent tracks, the panel discussions will span both days of the conference. The line-up features a series of discussions focused on the funding hurdles for entrepreneurs and the investment climate within the region. Those panels include:  

–   Does angel or venture capital make sense for your company? 

–   Investing in the I-Q Corridor: Perspectives from the region’s investors 

–   Does Wisconsin have the “right” investors for the times? 

–   What’s next for crowdfunding and the SEC’s rule changes?  


A “Reverse Elevator Pitch” will give entrepreneurs an opportunity to hear directly from angel groups and early stage funds on how, when and where they invest. 


Other panel discussions will drill into some of the challenges and opportunities facing entrepreneurs at all stages of growth. They include:  

–   Messaging 101: How young companies can tell their stories 

–   How to find (and keep) your first customers 

–   If you want innovation, learn to pivot 

–   What joining an accelerator is really like 

–   Why large companies may have a stake in your success 

–   Why Wisconsin is right for a healthcare IT “cluster” 

–   Putting the “art” in startup 

Brad Feld, an entrepreneur, investor and co-founder of the successful TechStars accelerators, will speak live via telepresence to open the conference on Nov. 5. Attendees who are present for the 8:30 a.m. presentation will receive a copy of Feld’s book, “Startup Communities,” courtesy of conference producers and a personal contribution from Mark Bakken, co-founder and CEO of Nordic Consulting. 

Other speakers and highlights will be announced in coming weeks. The conference will also feature:  

  • Presentations by more than 20 companies selected for the Wisconsin Angel Network investors’ track. Investors from across Wisconsin and beyond will attend. 
  • The annual Elevator Pitch Olympics, which provide 90-second presentation opportunities for 15 or more additional companies. A panel of investors will judge the contest. 
  • “Office hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups. 
  • SBIR/STTR awards luncheon to recognize grant recipients from the past year. 
  • The annual “First Look” forum featuring selected campus-based technologies. 
  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies. 
  • A first-night reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner. 

To learn more or to register, visit