Entrepreneurs, investors to come together at Wisconsin symposium

This week will be a big one for Wisconsin entrepreneurs, as the 30th annual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at the Monona Terrace in Madison. At the event, 46 startups will have the chance to make pitches to investors from around the Midwest and beyond. The startups were chosen from a large pool of applicants for their potential for future growth.

Forty-two of the companies are from in-state, but there are also two from Illinois and one each from Iowa and Kansas. Most have already completed their first funding rounds and will be looking for additional investment to continue growing — or perhaps even for a larger company to buy them outright. There is a clear focus on health sciences and technological innovation among the chosen companies, but other industries are well represented.

"This year's crop of presenting companies is as large as it has ever been, and very diverse," said Wisconsin Technology Council president Tom Still to the Wisconsin State Journal. "Investors who attend will see a wide range of companies, by stage as well as sector."

With sponsorship from the Wisconsin Angel Network, 28 companies will make public presentations to capitalists in the audience. The remaining 18 will participate in the so-called "Elevator Pitch Olympics," where they will have 90 seconds to make a pitch. A panel of judges will grade them and give them tips and recommendations. All participants will have ample opportunity for networking and exchanging ideas with their peers.

Local IT consultants can help Wisconsin companies stay relevant in the state's increasingly competitive business landscape.