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2014 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium 


The 2014 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium will be held Nov. 12-13 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center in Madison.

The Early Stage 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.   

Through the Wisconsin Angel Network Investor Track, the conference will give selected companies 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. The application process will open at www.wisearlystage.com in late August.

Highlights of the annual two-day event will include keynote speakers, panel discussions and networking opportunities, as well as some core activities. The WAN Investors’ Track will feature presentations from 20 technology-based emerging companies from around the state, the SBIR/STTR Awards Luncheon will recognize grant recipients from the past year and the 10th annual “Elevator Pitch Olympics” will showcase 90-second pitches from more than a dozen Wisconsin companies – most of which will be seeking their first round of financing.

Watch for more information coming soon!



Apply to pitch your company to the most active investors in the Midwest at the annual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, being held Nov. 12-13 at Madison’s Monona Terrace. Many companies have cited their presentations at the conference as a key factor for getting funding and growing their business.

All applicants will be eligible for a discounted conference registration rate of $169. Registration will open Sept. 5 at www.wisearlystage.com.

Companies selected for the Wisconsin Angel Network track presentations will also receive a complimentary individual Wisconsin Innovation Network membership for one year (a $100 value). Team members of these companies will be eligible to attend the conference at a special team rate.

Company applications are due no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014.


There are two separate presentation levels at the Early Stage Symposium: the Wisconsin Angel Network Investors' Track and the Elevator Pitch Olympics*.

Wisconsin Angel Network Investors’ Track – Tuesday, Nov. 12:
The WAN tracks will feature about 20 companies from the Midwest representing an array of industries, including biotechnology, medical device, health care, advanced manufacturing, information technology and mobile application sectors.

Companies selected for the WAN tracks will have many opportunities to interest investors: a seven-minute presentation, networking receptions, an executive summary published in the investor-only program and an opportunity to exhibit where investors may speak directly to presenting companies. Companies selected for the WAN tracks are also invited to participate in a preconference practice session with a group of mentors.

Elevator Pitch Olympics – Wednesday, Nov. 13:
Companies selected for the Elevator Pitch Olympics, a crowd favorite, will have the opportunity to give a 90-second pitch in front of conference attendees and a panel of six to eight investors. The investors will score the presenter on a scale of 1 to 5, focusing on whether the pitch was compelling enough to arrange a follow-up meeting, and will offer immediate feedback.

About 15 companies will be selected for the Elevator Pitch Olympics. In past years, these have been companies seeking a smaller investment round or planning to do so within the next year.

*Applicants not selected for the WAN tracks will automatically be considered for the Elevator Pitch Olympics, unless indicated otherwise.  

Here’s how to apply for the 2014 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

Step 1 – Register for the full conference:
A representative from the company must register to attend the full conference in order to be considered by our steering committee for a presentation slot. Registration will open Friday, Sept. 5, at www.wisearlystage.com. Applicants are eligible for the “WAN Investors’ Track Applicant” discounted rate of $169. There are no registration refunds after 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, 2014.

Step 2 – Submit application:

* All applications must be received no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24

There are two ways you can submit your application for the WAN Investors’ Tracks:

(A)   Through GUST.com Gust is a secure global platform endorsed by leading angel and venture capital associations and powers more than 1,000 investment organizations in 80+ countries. Follow this link to get started. Click on the “Submit your Company” button and create a company profile. Once complete, your company profile will be submitted to the Wisconsin Angel Network and its members. Please alert Dan Blake by email at dblake@wisconsinangelnetwork.com.

(B)   By email – Follow this link to download a template to guide you through an email application process. The executive summary should be no more than two pages. Please submit your executive summary by email to Dan Blake at dblake@wisconsinangelnetwork.com.

Elevator Pitch Olympics ONLY Application:
To apply for the Elevator Pitch Olympics, submit a 250-word idea abstract to Dan Blake at dblake@wisconsinangelnetwork.com. Submissions over 250 words will not be considered. Your 250-word idea abstract must include:

-      Product or Service Description: describe the nature of the product or service you plan to sell.

-      Customer Definition, Their Needs – Your Solution: Define your market by answering these questions about your customers: What is the problem your technology or product will solve? Who has the problem? Who would be an early user of your product?

-     Market Description, Size and Sales Strategy: Further define the market by answering this question: How do you size and segment the market to which your technology or product will be sold? Segmenting the market means that you identify the specific portion of the market that contains those buyers that have the problem your product or service is targeted to solve. You will also describe how you will go about marketing, selling and distributing your product or service.

-      Competition: Explain why your product or service is better than alternatives. Describe possible competitors.

2013 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View all the 2013 post-conference materials, including highlights, attendee list, press coverage and sponsors.

2012 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View all the 2012 post-conference materials, including highlights, presentations, attendee list, press coverage and sponsors.

2010 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View the 2010 conference agenda.

2009 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View the 2009 post-conference materials, including a list of the companies that presented.

2008 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View the 2008 post-conference materials, including the agenda and WAN Track presenters.

2007 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View the 2007 post-conference materials, including agenda, speakers, presenters, press coverage and sponsors.

2005 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium

View press coverage and mediasite presentations from the 2005 conference.