MADISON – Whether it’s called a pivot or reinvention … or
simply failure … young companies may encounter situations that require smart
choices. Join four experts in solo seminars on how to avoid (or correct)
potentially fatal startup errors at
the 2015 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, to be held Nov. 4-5 at Madison’s Monona Terrace Community
and Convention Center.

Here are four discussions to be led by some of Wisconsin’s
most successful entrepreneurs and investors. Eight other panel discussions will
be announced soon:

“Reinventing your offer: How to avoid or jumpstart a
stalled equity round”
Nothing causes more anxiety among entrepreneurs and
investors as an under-subscribed and seemingly endless equity round. Why do
even promising ventures at times struggle to generate demand for their
offering? What are investors looking for but not finding? How can
you build or rebuild an offer and pitch that will not just resonate but
will trigger action? Join David Guinther of WISC Partners to learn how you can
greatly improve your odds of a successful equity round as he shares
recommendations drawn from his experiences as a seasoned entrepreneur and
investor. (Wednesday, Nov. 4, 9:35
a.m. to 10:30 a.m.)

“Hard questions you need to ask yourself before going
through an exit process”
The exit process is too often ignored by emerging
companies and even some investors. Entrepreneurs and investors alike sometimes
fail to adopt an exit-centric approach to deals, which can leave some vital
questions unasked – and unanswered – at critical points. Compared to the
emphasis that is often placed on starting a company, there is relatively scant
attention devoted to the exit process. Join Andy Nunemaker, CEO of Dynamis
Corp. and former CEO of EMSystems, as he describes his exit experiences. (Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2:35 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.) 

“Advice I wish I gave myself when starting Retail
Target Marketing Systems Inc.”

Many people know
Tim Keane as an investor (Golden Angels) and mentor (2014 Excellence in
Entrepreneurial Education award winner). Before that, he was an entrepreneur
who created RTMS, which was an early software provider of advanced analytics
systems for retailers and financial institutions. The company was sold in 2000
to Fidelity Financial. Join 2015’s Tim Keane as he looks back on advice he
would have given his 1985 self… if only he could invent a time machine! (Thursday, Nov. 5, 10:15 a.m. to 11:10 a.m.)

“Foundersitis: Is it treatable?” Company founders
often exhibit signs of a condition that can be harmful, if not fatal, to their
firms. It’s called “Foundersitis,” a maladaptive syndrome often resulting in
serious injury, and in some cases, the death of an organization. With
proper intervention and monitoring, there is hope that founders can remain a
part of nurturing and enhancing their companies. Join Murray Firestone of
Restore Health, one of Wisconsin’s fastest-growing companies, for a free
diagnosis based on his years of experience working with companies as an investor,
manager and founder. (Thursday, Nov. 5, 11:15
a.m. to 12:10 p.m.)

Previously announced speakers are Zach Halmstad, founder of JAMF
Software; Sue Marks, founder and chief executive office of Cielo;
and Mike Splinter, the former chairman
of Applied Materials and Intel executive. The conference will also feature:

–  Forty-five
company presentations
by selected firms in the Wisconsin Angel Network
track and the Elevator Pitch Olympics.

–  “Office Hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts
on a variety of topics in small discussion groups or one-on-one.

–  SBIR/STTR awards luncheon to recognize grant recipients from the past

–  The 2nd annual “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education”
award presentation.

–  The “First Look” forum featuring selected campus-based technologies.

–  Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.

–  A Nov. 3 “Wisconsin WOMEN Reception” (Women,
Opportunities, Mentors, Networking, Entrepreneurs) with a presentation by Sue
Marks. This event is open to both men and women.

–  A Nov. 4 reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking
opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

The Tech Council produces the
conference. Sponsors so far include: Aberdean; Alliant Energy; American
Transmission Co.; AT&T; Ascendancy Advisors; Aurora Research Institute;
Baird Capital; Baker Tilly; BDO; BloodCenter of Wisconsin; BMO Harris; Boardman
& Clark; Carroll University; City of Fitchburg; Concordia University; Dane
County Regional Airport; Dedicated Computing; DeWitt Ross & Stevens;
Eppstein Uhen Architects; Findorff; Fine Point Consulting; First Business Bank;
Functional Biosciences; Godfrey & Kahn; HealthX Ventures; HP Enterprise
Services; Keane Consultants; Madison Gas & Electric; Makin’ HEY
Communications; Marquette University; Marshfield Clinic Applied Sciences;
Medical College of Wisconsin; Michael Best & Friedrich; Midwest
Prototyping; MIOsoft; Morgridge Institute for Research; Murphy Desmond; Neider
& Boucher; Nelson Schmidt; Pendio Group; Promega Corp.; Quarles &
Brady; RDC National Inc.; Red Arrow Production; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren;
Safenet Consulting; Skyward; Smith & Gesteland; State of Wisconsin
Investment Board; Summit Credit Union; University Research Park; UW-Madison
Office of Corporate Relations; UW-Milwaukee Research Foundation; UW-Oshkosh
Business Success Center; Venture Investors; WERCBench Labs; Whitewater
University Technology Park; Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek; Wisconsin Alumni Research
Foundation; Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.; Wisconsin Health and
Educational Facilities Authority; and Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension

Learn more and register at