Veteran investor John Neis, who helped build Venture Investors LLC into Wisconsin’s largest venture capital fund, will be inducted into the Wisconsin Investor Hall of Fame during a Nov. 7 dinner tied to the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium.

Neis was elected by a panel of 12 judges that included the five past inductees: Dick Leazer, a founder of Wisconsin Investment Partners, the state’s oldest angel investment network; George Mosher, a Milwaukee “super angel” investor; Roger Ganser, a co-founder of Venture Investors LLC, Jeff Rusinow, founder of Silicon Pastures; Carl Gulbrandsen, former managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; and Tom Shannon, co-founder of the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation.

Neis will be honored during a dinner of about 80 invited angel and venture capitalists following the first day of the Early Stage Symposium in Madison.

“Venture Investors is the state’s oldest venture capital fund and arguably its most successful, with investment ‘exits’ over time such as Third Wave Technologies, TomoTherapy, NimbleGen, Inviragen and NeuWave Medical,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

“By focusing on campus-based discoveries in Madison and elsewhere in the Upper Midwest, Venture Investors has helped to turn ideas into companies, jobs and profitable investments,” Still added. “John epitomizes an ‘invest local’ approach that has helped attract larger investors to Wisconsin.”

Neis is a member of the Wisconsin Technology Council’s board of directors and president of the board for the Wisconsin Venture Capital Association. He has also advised the Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship program in the UW-Madison School of Business and been active in the National Venture Capital Association, as well as other community organizations. The Milwaukee native holds degrees from the University of Utah and the UW-Madison.

The dinner, sponsored by Baird Capital and Square One Bank, is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council’s Investor Network. The TCIN works with the state’s angel groups as well as early stage funds and other investors. The Investor Hall of Fame award is one of many conference features. Other highlights unveiled so far:

  • Forty young companies have been selected to pitch to investors in two tracks: The Tech Council Investor Networks track and the Elevator Pitch Olympics.
  • Remarks at the Wisconsin W·O·M·E·N reception the evening of Nov. 6 by Demetria Menard, the former chief operations officer of SwanLeap and an advocate for science and technology education. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. at J.H. Findorff & Son headquarters, 300 S. Bedford St. Register here for this separate event.
  • Keynote presentations by Aaron Kennedy, a UW-Madison graduate who founded Noodles & Co. and who continues his work with startups, and serial entrepreneur Kelly Fitzsimmons of Milwaukee.
  • Panel discussions and workshops involving some of the region’s top entrepreneurs, investors and service experts.
  • About 40 investor groups are set to meet with emerging firms in “Investor Intros” on Nov. 8.

The Tech Council produces the conference. Sponsors so far include: 100state4490 VenturesAberdean ConsultingAccurayACSAlliant Energy, American Family InsuranceAmerican Transmission Co., AT&TAurora Health CareBaird CapitalBaker TillyBarb Luhring Graphic RecordingBDOBloodCenter of WisconsinBMO HarrisBoardman & ClarkThe Burish Group – UBS Financial ServicesCapital NewspapersCarroll UniversityCGICity of FitchburgConcordia UniversityCresa MadisonDane County Regional AirportDedicated ComputingDXC TechnologyEnbridgeEppstein Uhen ArchitectsExact SciencesFindorffFirst Business BankFluno CenterFoley & LardnerFunctional BiosciencesGodfrey & KahnHealthX VenturesHusch BlackwellJP CullenM3 InsuranceMadison CollegeMadison Development Corp.Madison Gas & ElectricMakin’ HEY! CommunicationsMarquette UniversityMarshfield Clinic Health SystemMedical College of WisconsinMerchant & GouldMichael BestMidwest PrototypingMOD MediaMorgridge InstituteMurphy DesmondN29 Capital PartnersNeider & BoucherNorthwestern MutualOgden Glazer + SchaeferOneNeck IT SolutionsPerkins CoieQuarles & BradyRed Arrow ProductionReinhart Boerner Van DeurenRiver Valley BankSkywardSquare 1 Bank, Sun Mountain Kegonsa, Tech Council board member Susan Healy, TASCTechnology Innovation Center – MKEState of Wisconsin Investment BoardUniversity Research ParkUW-Green BayUWM Research FoundationUW-Madison Office of Business EngagementVenture InvestorsWEA TrustWisconsin Alumni Research FoundationWisconsin Center for Manufacturing & ProductivityWisconsin Economic Development Corp.Wisconsin Health & Educational Facility AuthorityWhitewater University Technology ParkWIPFLiWisconsin Investment PartnersYahara Software and Ziegler.

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