From helping people who get hung up over buying gifts to providing household solar systems for people in developing nations, and from devising a better way to fill open job shifts to instilling the profit motive in school fundraisers, 17 companies will pitch to investors and the crowd during the Elevator Pitch Olympics at the 2017 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium.


The 17 companies will deliver 90-second pitches and be scored by a panel of investor judges – as well as the crowd – during the second day of the Nov. 15-16 conference at Madison’s Monona Terrace Convention Center.


Judges are: Maggie Brickerman, gener8tor; Connie Deng, Pritkzer Group; Dan Rashke, owner and chief executive officer of TASC; Mike Thorson, Inventure Capital and Wisconsin Investment Partners; and Andy Walker, Rock River Capital Partners.


In addition to the judges’ feedback, participants will also be scored by members of the audience for selection of a “People’s Choice” award. Taking part in the Elevator Pitch Olympics are:


1myVote, Middleton, Wis; Burn Rate Nutrition, Appleton, Wis.; Clock’d, Madison, Wis.; GiftGuru, Madison, Wis.; GymDandy, Madison, Wis.; hankr, Milwaukee, Wis.; Kilter Rewards, Madison, Wis.; Lifebook Builder, Racine, Wis; Melius Outcomes, Ann Arbor, Mich.; NovoMoto, Madison, Wis.; OneEvent Technologies, Mount Horeb, Wis.; Pyxsee, Oshkosh, Wis; StakeHaul, Milwaukee, Wis.; Swirl Insurance, Mequon, Wis.; Syndeo, Middleton, Wis.; Torq Labs, Madison, Wis.; and, Wauwatosa, Wis.


Previously announced: The Tech Council Investor Network tracks on the opening day of the conference will feature 25 companies making five-minute presentations during two sessions, morning and afternoon. Read a short description of each of the 25 companies on the “Presenting Companies” page at


About 85 companies from across the Midwest applied to present at the annual conference or to meet with investors through the second annual “Investor Intros” track. Other conference highlights previously announced include:

  • Remarks at the Wisconsin W·O·M·E·N reception the evening of Nov. 14 by Toni Sikes, the CEO of CODAworx. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. at The Madison Club. Register here for this separate event.
  • An un-keynote presentation on Nov. 15 from Tamara Kleinberg, founder of LaunchStreet, on innovation and getting ahead of the competition.
  • The first public appearance by Sector67 founder Chris Meyer since his Sept. 20 accident.
  • Nov. 16 plenary panel discussion entitled “Outside looking in: Thoughts on Wisconsin from investors in other states.”
  • More than 40 investor groups set to meet with emerging firms in “Investor Intros” on Nov. 16.
  • Entrepreneur and mentor Allen Dines to receive ‘Triple E” award Nov. 16.
  • The 2017 Investor Hall of Fame dinner, where BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation founder Tom Shannon will be inducted before invited investor guests.
  • Day Two luncheon speaker Dan Rashke, owner and CEO of TASC.
  • Hands-on “Office Hours” sessions to dive into common business issues facing young companies.


The Tech Council produces the conference. Sponsors so far include: 100state, Aberdean, Accuray, ACS, Advanced Materials Industrial Consortium, Affiliated Engineers, Alliant Energy, American Family Insurance, American Transmission Co., AT&T, Aurora Health Care, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, BMO Harris Bank, Boardman & Clark, Bunker Labs Madison, Carroll University, Center for Technology Commercialization, City of Fitchburg, Concordia University, Cresa, CUNA Mutual, Dane County Regional Airport, Dedicated Computing, DXC Technology, Enbridge, Findorff, First Business Bank, Fluno Center, Functional Biosciences, Godfrey & Khan, HealthX Ventures, Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Madison Central, Husch Blackwell, Industrious – Madison, Madison College, Madison Gas & Electric, Makin’ HEY! Communications, Marquette University, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Medical College of Wisconsin, Michael Best, Midwest Prototyping, Technology Innovation Center – Milwaukee, Morgridge Institute, Murphy Desmond, N29 Capital Partners, Neider & Boucher, Northwestern Mutual, Omni Resources, Perkins Coie, Promega, Red Arrow Productions, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, River Valley Bank, Skyward, Smith & Gesteland, Square 1 Bank, Susan Healy (Tech Council board member), SWIB, TASC, University Research Park, UW-Green Bay, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy, UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations, Venture Investors, WCMP, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., WERCBench Labs, Whitewater University Technology Park, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority, Wisconsin Hospital Association and Ziegler.


Learn more and register for the conference at