MADISON, Wis. – People involved in all sizes and stages of companies can learn about coping with the economic adversity of COVID-19 by attending the six panel discussion sessions at the June 4th 2020 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, a virtual event.

This year’s theme is “Crossing the coronavirus chasm: Surviving and prospering during a ‘new normal’ for young companies.” Registration is open: click here!

The two sets of three concurrent panel discussions feature industry-leading experts, entrepreneurs who are seeing success during the coronavirus pandemic, and investors who are keeping a close eye on the opportunities. A bonus: All sessions will be recorded, so you can watch the ones you missed later! Our “who’s who” lineup includes:

10:30 a.m. Things COVID-19 taught us, why they may be here to stay – and how ‘treps can capitalize

Social distancing, face masks, take-outs, curbside delivery and one-way aisles are just a few of the changes that have come with COVID-19. Will life ever be the same again, or should entrepreneurs look for opportunities that reflect an enduring set of post-virus practices?

Moderated by Mark Ehrmann, Quarles & Brady with panelists: Taralinda Willis, Curate Solutions; Matt Howard, EatStreet and Deb Archer, Destination Madison

10:30 a.m. Negotiating “down” rounds with investors: How entrepreneurs should prepare

A “down round” refers to a private company offering additional shares for sale at a lower price than those sold in a previous round or rounds. It’s not anyone’s first choice, but sometimes a reality when valuation dips and cash is needed to keep the company alive. Learn what to expect if your company finds itself in a ‘down round’ position in these uncertain times.

Moderated by Erin Ogden, Ogden Glazer + Schaefer with panelists: Andrea Dlugos, Wisconsin Investment Partners; John Neis, Venture Investors and Paul Jones, Michael Best 

10:30 a.m. Cybersecurity and COVID-19: How to make working from home safer

A recent survey revealed that about 42% of Americans can work at home, but the security challenges of doing so are complicated by how that “home office” is configured and maintained. Hear from experts who want to keep you productive … and the “bad guys” out of your work lives.

Moderated by Steve Lyons, SJL Government Affairs & Communications with panelists: Lois Brooks, UW-Madison Information Technology; Jim Blair, Aberdean Consulting and Sarah Sargent, Godfrey & Kahn

2:30 p.m. Securing first customers: How to make sales in a challenging time

With face-to-face meetings out of the picture for now, companies are relying on other formats and tools to connect with customers, to make sales and to maintain healthy relationships. Innovation is yet again changing how companies market their goods and services and demonstrate their value to customers who they may have never met “live.” Learn some tips and practices from our experts.

Moderated by Nathan Hammons, Marquette Law with panelists: Jackie Hermes, Accelity Marketing; Regina Newcomb, Northwestern Mutual and Joe Scanlin, Scanalytics

2:30 p.m. What kinds of deals are getting funded (and what is not) in 2020?

Barring an existing investor relationship or current portfolio status, entrepreneurs may find it harder to raise angel and venture capital money during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s not an absolute, however. Investors are still putting money into sectors that reflect the “new normal” of the market. Hear about trends from a veteran investor and two young companies.

Moderated by John McDonald, Godfrey & Kahn with panelists: Amanda DoAmaral, Fiveable; Kyle Weatherly, FrontDesk and Tim Keane, Golden Angels Investors

2:30 p.m. On-shoring: COVID-19 is accelerating the trends technology created

One of the lessons of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States was the shortage of personal protection equipment, or PPE, in the domestic pipeline. There were similar supply-chain issues in other sectors that exposed both weaknesses and opportunities. Hear from people who can help young companies identify opportunities that might involve people as well as products and services.

Moderated by Kathy Henrich, MKE Tech Hub with panelists: Buckley Brinkman, WCMP and Bill Berrian, Pindel Global Precision

Produced by the Tech Council, the Entrepreneurs’ Conference is one of the largest events for entrepreneurs and early stage investors in the Upper Midwest. Other highlights will include:

  • Keynote by UW-Madison grad Brian Pinkerton, chief architect of Siri, Apple.
  • Diligent Dozen: Top 12 finalists from the Governor’s Business Plan Contest will have presentations available to watch online in the week preceding June 4th.
  • Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” 2020 award winner to be announced!
  • Governor’s Business Plan Contest awards ceremony with category winners, a grand prize winner, a “Bright New Idea” award and a new “People’s Choice” award this year
  • Virtual interactive exhibitor booths from more than 40 Wisconsin companies
  • A presentation by the winner of the Wisconsin YES! youth business plan contest, and;
  • Plenty of chances to network with 1:1 virtual private meeting times, “Birds of a Feather” breakout sessions in the afternoon, and so much more!

Register today!

Sponsors thus far include: PLATINUM: American Transmission Co., AT&T, Godfrey & Kahn, Husch Blackwell, Michael Best, Northwestern Mutual, University Research Park, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. GOLD: Aberdean Consulting SILVER: Affiliated Engineers, Alliant Energy, American Family Insurance, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, Boardman & Clark, Burish Group at UBS Financial Services, CD Smith Construction, Center for Technology Commercialization, CGI, City of Fitchburg, Dedicated Computing, DeWitt, Discovery World, Findorff, First Business Bank, HealthX Ventures, J.P. Morgan Chase, Kimberly-Clark, Madison College, Madison Gas & Electric, Marquette University, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Microsoft, Neider & Boucher, Ogden Glazer + Schaefer, Oshkosh Corp., Perkins Coie, Quarles & Brady, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, Rockwell Automation, UW-Madison D2P, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, UW-Madison University Relations, UWM Research Foundation, Versiti, WEA Trust, Whitewater University Technology Park, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Technical College System, Yahara Software, Zerology and SPECIAL SUPPORT: Board member Susan Healy and Madison Development Corp. 


To learn more, visit or call the Tech Council at 608-442-7557.