Still on the fence about attending the annual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium in Madison? Here are 10 reasons to drop in Tuesday and Wednesday for one of the Midwest’s premier events for entrepreneurs. 


Register through 12 p.m. Monday at Or register Tuesday and Wednesday at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, 1 John Nolen Drive, in downtown Madison. Why attend? 


1.       You’ll hear from influential and entertaining speakers: Brad Feld, co-founder of TechStars, one of the nation’s leading accelerators, will join the conference via telepresence Tuesday morning. Mark Schmitz, whose Wisconsin firm is designing tech projects in emerging economies worldwide, will also speak about cracking into those markets Tuesday over lunch. 


2.       You’ll walk away with some great materials: The first 250 people who attend Feld’s presentation will receive a free copy of his book, “Startup Communities.” Our 58-page program is a storehouse of information from sponsors and other resources. You can also read more about us on the free wi-fi. 


3.       You’ll watch some hot new companies pitch to investors: Talk about pressure! Twenty-eight companies were selected by our conference steering committee to make seven-minute presentations Tuesday morning and afternoon. They range from a portable jet ski to a diesel aircraft engine to medical devices, software and even dairy products. On Wednesday, another 18 startups will pitch to a panel of investor judges during the annual “Elevator Pitch Olympics.” It’s a lightning round – 90 seconds per pitch! 


4.       You’ll learn from successful entrepreneurs: The panelist list includes: Amelia Swan Baxter, WholeTrees; Mark Bakken, Nordic Consulting; Robert Hopton, Idle Free Systems; Troy Henikoff, TechStars Chicago; Mark Gehring, Propellor Health; Joe Scanlin, Scanalytics; Dominic Dimarco, MobileIgniter; Brian Jensen, Fishidy; Liz Eversoll, SoLoMo Technology; Niko Skievaski, 100State; Dan Wilson, Moxe Health; Steve Glynn, Spreenkler Creative; Matthew Gonnering, Widen Enterprises; Randy Cortright, Virent Energy; Rick Lesniewski, Madison Vaccines Inc.; Sam Adams, Stealth Therapeutics; Jignesh Patel, Locomatix; Jason Weaver, Spendship; Typhaine Morrison, The Art Commission; Trevor Ghylin, Microbe Detectives; Todd Asmuth, AquaMost; and David Dupee, CraftFund.   


5.       You might bump into a seasoned investor: Investors registered so far represent groups such as American Family Insurance, Angels on the Water, Baird Capital, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Capital Midwest Fund, Chicago Ventures, Chippewa Valley Angels, Cornerstone Angels, CW Technologies, DaneVest Tech Fund, DFJ Mercury Group, Golden Angels Investors, Gopher Angels, Great Lakes Ventures, Great Oaks Venture Capital, Hyde Park Angels, Inventure Capital, Kegonsa Capital Partners, Madison Development Corp., Marshfield Investment Partners, Native Capital Investment, NEW Capital Fund, Phenomenelle Angels, Plains Angels, RPX Group, Shamrock Partners, Silicon Pastures, Silicon Valley Bank, State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Stateline Angels, Venture Investors, Venture Management, TechStars, Wisconsin Capital Partners, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Investment Partners, Yahara Angel Network and banks. 


6.       There’s no lack of program choices: The program features 14 panels or plenary sessions spread over two days, including a review of emerging investment funds in Wisconsin, a look at Wisconsin’s water technology and health information clusters, a review of crowdfunding and more. 


7.       You can visit with experts during our “Office Hours” segments: New this year is “Office Hours,” a series of five small-group discussions at which entrepreneurs can discuss specific issues with experts and their peers. Sessions will focus on bank financing for startups, pursuing federal Small Business Innovation Research grants, how to position your company for “non-founder” funding, documents needed for investor meetings and how to obtain state Qualified New Business Venture status. 


8.       You’ll get a sneak preview of emerging technologies: Four examples of academic innovation that could become tomorrow’s commercial successes will be unveiled Wednesday during the annual “First Look Forum.”  This year’s lineup will include potential breakthroughs in medical imaging, biotechnology and information technology. 


9.       You won’t leave hungry: Two luncheons, a reception and two breakfasts are included in your registration fee. It’s hard to go wrong on that alone! 


10.   You’ll be a part of a major networking event: Whether it’s over refreshments, during the panel discussions or in lobby conversations, you’ll meet hundreds of people who are building Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial economy. Join them! 


Register or learn more by visiting