OnRamp Wisconsin gives startups the chance to make their pitch

For many startups, a good idea or product may not be enough if they can't secure the necessary financing and support. In an effort to overcome this hurdle, the OnRamp Wisconsin event was held on Thursday, allowing select companies to meet directly with representatives from major enterprises to pitch their services.

The event was organized by startup accelerator gener8tor, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the Milwaukee Bucks, who hosted it at their home arena, the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Nearly four dozen fledgling companies across several industries were given the opportunity to meet with Wisconsin mainstays like American Family Insurance, Harley-Davidson, Northwestern Mutual and Rite-Hite, as well as MillerCoors and U.S. Cellular.

"This is just another sign of the great things going on in the early-stage, tech ecosystem in Wisconsin and in Milwaukee in particular," said William Robinson, vice president of Silicon Valley Bank's Chicago office, to the Journal Sentinel. He called OnRamp a "fantastic collaboration" and a rare opportunity for Midwestern companies.

The participating startups were selected by the event's organizers, who said many had to be turned away due to space constraints. Beyond the possibility of actually securing a contract, the startups say this event at the very least affords them the chance to receive valuable feedback from the companies they would like to count among their clients.

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