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Events

Early Stage Symposium

2014 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium
November 12
 – 13

The symposium is designed to unlock Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial potential by providing the right combination of ideas, innovation, intellectual property and investment – as well as hands-on instruction and advice targeted to early stage companies ready to make the leap.

This year’s conference, with a theme of “30X10,” is celebrating a rich history that goes back to 1984. That year, Wisconsin’s first annual venture conference was held in Madison, pairing high-growth companies with investors and other business leaders from across the state. Originally the Madison Venture Fair, the event has been called the Wisconsin Venture Conference, the Wisconsin Life Sciences & Venture Conference – and for the past 10 years – the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium. More than 480 companies have presented during the conferences in one format or another, including some of the largest technology companies that call Wisconsin home.

What will the Early Stage Symposium include?
Select companies will have the opportunity to make presentations and meet with investors, along with other entrepreneurs and business leaders. Many firms have cited participation in the conference as a key factor for significant business growth.

Featured speakers will include Kevin Conroy and Maneesh Arora, who will tell the story of Exact Sciences, a Madison company developing a home colon cancer test kit. The conference will also feature Francois Ortalo-Magne, dean of the Wisconsin School of Business. Other speakers and highlights will be announced in the coming weeks.

The two-day event will also feature:

  • Presentations by more than 20 companies selected for the Wisconsin Angel Network investors’ track. Investors from across Wisconsin and beyond will attend.
  • The 10th annual Elevator Pitch Olympics, which provide 90-second presentation opportunities for more than 15 additional companies. A panel of experienced investors judge the pitches and offer feedback.
  • More than a dozen panel discussions or plenary sessions 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.
  • SBIR/STTR awards luncheon to recognize grant recipients from the past year.
  • The inaugural “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education” award presentation.
  • The annual “First Look” forum featuring selected campus-based technologies.
  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 Wisconsin companies.
  • A first-night reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

How do I get registered?
Don’t miss the early bird registration discount! Sign up before Oct. 21 and receive a $40 discount off the general admission price. Select the “Fees” tab at the top of the page to see a list of registration options, as well as pricing and refund information. The “Register Now” button in the top right can get you started.

How do I apply to present?
The WAN application process is open to early stage companies representing an array of industries, including biotechnology, medical devices, health care, advanced manufacturing, information technology and others. For more information on the application process, see the “Presentation Opportunities” tab above.

Are there any recommended hotels in the area?
Need a hotel while in Madison? Discounted rates are available at the Hilton and Sheraton hotels until Oct. 12. More information on each, along with booking details, can be found at the “Convention Center & Hotel” tab at the top of this page.

The conference is produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and its partners and sponsors.