Venture capitalist and tech veteran Jeff Schumacher, known internationally for his work around “decentralized technologies” such as blockchain and encryption used in financial and e-commerce transactions, will speak the morning of Nov. 7 during the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium in Madison.

Schumacher is a UW-Eau Claire graduate who recently launched 55 Catalyst Capital, which invests in decentralized technologies and next-generation internet infrastructure.

A speaker at events such as the 2019 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and a frequent guest on business news shows, Schumacher launched 55 Catalyst Capital in early 2019 to blend “expertise in technology, venture capital, liquid markets and financial services” addressing growth in decentralized technology.

Schumacher has described decentralized technology as a “next generation internet” that is “consumer-based and able to bring security, transparency and access in a way that restores trust.”

Based in Manhattan Beach, Calif., 55 Catalyst Capital also has offices in Palo Alto, Calif.; Cologne, Germany; and Seoul, South Korea. He was previously founder of BCG Digital Ventures; co-founder of Booz Digital; co-founder of Axon Advisory Partners; led the North American marketing and sales practice of McKinsey & Co; and was chief strategy officer for Sports Authority. While at UW-Eau Claire, he was student body president.

“Wisconsin and the Upper Midwest have complex economies that will benefit directly from decentralized tech,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “We’re eager to welcome Jeff Schumacher back to the state.”

New this year: The conference will be immediately preceded by “Innovation Day,” which is produced by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The WARF Innovation Day will be held Nov. 5 at Monona Terrace Convention Center, with more details to follow.

The annual Wisconsin W•O•M•E•N reception (Women, Opportunities, Mentors, Networking, Entrepreneurs) will also be held Nov. 5. This event will be open to both men and women, with a speaker to be announced soon. The conference will also feature:

  • A Nov. 6 speaker to be announced, panel discussions and workshops featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector.
  • “Office Hours,” offering the opportunity to meet with subject experts on a variety of topics in small discussion groups or one-on-one.
  • The 6th annual “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education” award presentation and luncheon.
  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.
  • A Nov. 6 conference reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

The Tech Council produces the conference. Sponsors so far include: 100state, Aberdean Consulting, Accuray, ACS, Alliant Energy, American Transmission Co., AmpliPhi, AT&T, Aurora Health Care, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, Boardman & Clark, Ben Brewer Photography, C.D. Smith Construction, CGI, City of Fitchburg, Concordia University of Wisconsin, CUNA Mutual, Dane County Regional Airport, Dedicated Computing, Discovery World, Eppstein Uhen Architects, Exact Sciences, Findorff, Fluno Center, Foley & Lardner, Foxconn, Godfrey & Kahn, HealthX Ventures, Husch Blackwell, Idea Fund of La Crosse, KW2, M3 Insurance, Madison Development Corp., Madison Gas & Electric, Makin’ HEY! Communications, Medical College of Wisconsin, Michael Best, Midwest Prototyping, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Morgridge Institute, N29 Capital Partners, Neider & Boucher, One City Schools, Promega, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, RSM US, ScaleFactor, Signature Bank, Summit Credit Union, Susan Healy, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Technology Innovation Center – Milwaukee, University Research Park, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison Office of Business Engagement, Venture Investors, Versiti, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Whitewater University Technology Park, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Dept. of Financial Institutions, Wisconsin Investment Partners, Yahara Software and Ziegler.