Reverse Pitch MKE: Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about the Reverse Pitch MKE program: 

Do I have to register for the November 6th event as a team?
No. Feel free to find your team after the event. If you have a team, please register as individuals so we have a final count.

Do I have to register for the event?
Yes.  If you would like to attend the event on November 6th, you must register using the form on the Milwaukee Startup Week website.

What is the dress code for the event? Casual

If registration for the event fills up, can I view Northwestern Mutual pitch their business problems?
If the event sells out, we will consider making the Reverse Pitches available via video.  Decision to be made close to the event.

What will happen at the Madison and Chicago Kickoff events?
Those events will be used to promote the November 6th event in the local market, answer questions, and facilitate networking.

Where should I park for the November 6th event?
Free parking is available behind the Northwestern Mutual building at 611 E. Wisconsin Ave.  Lot located between Van Buren Street and Jackson Street; lot entrance located on Van Buren Street.

Directions to the visitor lot: Take I-794 east from the freeway interchange where I-94 and I-43 meet.  Exit I-794 at Plankinton Street and travel north one block to Michigan Avenue, take a right and head east to Van Buren Street. Take a left onto Van Buren, the 611 visitor lot is the second driveway on the left.

Which Northwestern Mutual entrance should I use on November 6th? 
Please use the entrance at 720 East Wisconsin Avenue—NM’s South Building entrance.  Check in at the registration table and someone will direct you to the Commons where the event will take place.

What time does the November 6th event take place?
The event will begin promptly at 4pm and last until 6pm.  Please arrive early enough prior to the event to register and find a seat.  Following the Reverse Pitch, a networking happy hour will take place until 8pm.

Who from Northwestern Mutual will be in attendance on November 6th?
Northwestern Mutual’s Digital Innovation and Research team, key subject matter experts on the business problems being pitched, several executives.

Traveling and overnight accommodations:
You are responsible for your travel costs. Preferred hotels are listed below.  We do not have a reserved block of rooms at any of the hotels.  Mention you are staying for a Northwestern Mutual Event to get the company discount.

The Westin Milwaukee: 550 N Van Buren Street, Milwaukee, WI, 53202, 800.675.2671
The Pfister Hotel: 424 E Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202, 855.213.0582
Hotel Metro: 411 East Mason Street, Milwaukee, WI 53202, 414.272.1937

Will I have access to a representative at Northwestern Mutual to ask questions to after the Reverse Pitch MKE event?
Yes; How to access this resource will be announced at the event.

How do I register to pitch my idea back to Northwestern Mutual executives?
Following the November 6th event, there will be an application form available shortly after the event on the https://www.startupmke.org/revpitch website.  Registration to pitch back to Northwestern Mutual will close on December 10th.

What should I include in my pitch-back application?
Please include all materials you would like to be considered in your application, including a rough draft of your pitch deck (business plan, business model canvas, wireframes, etc).  Materials will not be considered final, but will be used to determine which applicants can pitch on January 8th. 

How long do I have to pitch at the January 8th event?
If your application is accepted to pitch back to Northwestern Mutual judges, you will have 20 minutes to present the idea and all related materials.

Materials needed for the event:
Any material you will need to present your idea.  If you are using technology as part of your presentation, don’t forget your power cord.  We will provide you the connectors to our Wi-Fi and displays.  Please note, you will not be able to print or use a thumb drive to present your idea.

If we are selected to pitch on January 8th, will we be able to see other teams pitch?  Will other teams hear ours? 
No. We will consider each team’s business plan/solution to be proprietary to them.  Only a team from Northwestern Mutual will sit in on the pitches.

Will the leading idea be selected by the panel on January 8th? If not, when will we know if we will be offered an investment? 
Investment decisions will not be made on January 8th. Northwestern Mutual will follow up with teams by the end of the month.

Can existing startups that have solutions to Northwestern Mutual problem statements apply?Absolutely.  We welcome existing startups that can solve these problems.  Companies who already have a determined valuation should include that information in their pitch.

Startup Milwaukee, Skills Pipeline Launch a New Event Series Focused on Building The Region's Tech Community!

Code + Craft Brews will provide a forum for the region's technology leaders and talent to exchange ideas on how to build the region's tech economy. 

Milwaukee, WI - Startup Milwaukee hopes to help build and strengthen the local tech community with their Code + Craft Brews quarterly event series. 

Code + Craft Brews will highlight local technology leaders who are having a significant impact in their organization as well as the broader the tech community in Southeast Wisconsin. Code + Craft Brews will provide a forum for executives and technologists to share best practices on attracting, retaining and managing tech talent. 

"Milwaukee already has several amazing events that focus on helping the tech community share best practices around specific technologies" said Matt Cordio, Founder & President of Startup Milwaukee & Skills Pipeline. "Our goal with Code + Craft Brews is to convene technologists, tech executives and community leaders to discuss how to attract and retain technology talent in the region." 

The first Code + Craft Brews event will be hosted at Good City Brewing's new "Good City Hall" event space. The event will feature a fireside chat with Emilia Sherifova, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture & Engineering at Northwestern Mutual. Prior to joining Northwestern Mutual Sherifova was CTO of LearnVest a financial planning startup acquired by Northwestern Mutual in 2015. 

Sherifova will discuss her role in Northwestern Mutual's digital transformation and her experiences building and leading technology teams at startups and large enterprises.

Code + Craft Brews events are free and open to the public. Software Engineers, Technology Company Executives and community leaders are encouraged to attend.

Register now, space is limited.

ABOUT OUR HOSTS

Startup Milwaukee is building and networking Southeast Wisconsin's high-growth startup community. Learn more about our Startup Milwaukee at StartupMKE.org.

Skills Pipeline helps companies grow through helping them access the top digital talent in the Midwest. We help technology professionals grow by helping them find meaningful work opportunities. To learn more about Skills Pipeline visit, SkillsPipeline.com.

Startup Spotlight: HiveCast

Paul Lemley invited me to Stone Creek Coffee in Walkers Point, his remote office of choice especially on a hot summer day. Paul marked out his passion for storytelling in Dubuque, Iowa, setting up Dubuque’s first TEDx event and working alongside a non-profit first to augment their marketing capabilities. Paul began pitching Hivecast in the summer of 2016 to old employers, friends and family, and found a forward momentum that has led him to a four person partnership and the upcoming launch of his first app.

About Hivecast

Hivecast’s inspiration came from the Lumiere Brother’s cinemagraph, the first recording and projecting, production and distribution film technology. Paul believed if he could take their spirit of innovation and apply it to social video sharing, online storytelling would greatly improve.

“We want to enhance live streaming to get people to show their point of view and contribute to performances and events.”

With Hivecast, one person can host 3 people to livesteam at an event. That host acts as the producer between those livestreams, transitioning perspectives and selecting a single audio stream. Since there’s a broad spectrum of live video, Paul wanted to bring crowd sourced livestreaming toa  video production company standard of quality and storytelling.

On Challenges:

“In the midwest you need to see a return in a short period of time,” Paul explains that there’s a small number of potential investors in the Midwest. As a result, developing an idea into a viable product and business model was necessary to gain traction for Hivecast.

Paul also had to learn that finding talent was all about perfecting a pitch for both the business and for himself.

On Staying in Milwaukee:

Paul puts it simply as why he’s staying in MKE: its home, its cheaper, and building in the Midwest has all the same tech and resources as the coasts. Since his team already works remotely- with a designer in Minneapolis, MN, and a developer in Grand Rapids, MI, Paul believes working separately prevents a groupthink mentality and keeps the team’s incoming ideas fresh.

Simply put, Hivecast has no desire to set up anywhere else.

On Advice for Startups:

As a firm believer that ideas shouldn’t be developed in secret, Paul advises entrepreneurs to put their idea on blast. “Tell as many people around you, shoot holes in your idea, generate buzz around it, and get your connections to introduce you to all the right people… It takes a lot of grit and investment to get going, but being candid with yourself [and your skills] is what gets you closer to your goals. All the rest is bullshiMany thanks to Paul and the rest of the team at Hivecast for this opportunity to learn more about their mission and help inspire the rest of the Milwaukee Startup community with their story. You can sign up for as a beta tester or learn more about Hivecast at their website Hivecast.co.

Startup Spotlight is a summer series and collaboration between Pomelo Productions and Startup Milwaukee.

Author Alycia Griesi is the Lead Graphic Designer and Content Creator for Pomelo Productions. Alycia works remotely in Salem, Wisconsin, and spends most of her free time baking, biking, and playing with her dog Vinnie. For article inquiries, email alycia@pomeloproductions.com.

Startup Spotlight: Buzzi

Manoj Nair, CSO of BUZZI and Swarming, welcomes me into the offices of Swarming Technologies, next door to Milwaukee’s Oriental theatre on the East Side. Walking past walls in vibrant orange and blue, development teams hard at work, Manoj gives me a rundown of Swarming before we discuss the company’s new product BUZZI. 

About Swarming Technologies:

Swarming started out in 2011 as an e-commerce development agency providing online retail solutions for midsize to large companies. They expanded their services through a partnership with IBM, the successful deployment of a learning management software RISE, and other developments that can be found on their website. After some unsatisfactory experiences with e-commerce, the team at Swarming was able to develop a new technology that they were excited to share with me.

About BUZZI:

Buzzi emerged from a need to improve online shopping experiences and help retailers understand the best methods to engage with their customers. The partners Ian Baxter, CEO of both of BUZZI and Swarming, and Manoj had learned from creating e-commerce websites that caches of user interactions were going under utilized, stagnating data could be easily repurposed and personalized.

Enter Buzzi, an open source platform that provides in-house developers meaningful uses for re-engaging online users. Buzzi’s team can then handle all the unmentionables that come with managing huge aggregates of data: this includes managing access to data, organizing data flow to specified users,  and providing real-time error handling.

On Challenges:

The team at Buzzi found aligning resources and getting organized to be their greatest challenge. “It’s like the saying, ‘Building an airplane when you’re already in the air,’ you have to be quick to prototype, test, and then get on board ASAP,” Manoj recalls laughing about trying to get Buzzi off the ground. 

On Staying in Milwaukee:

Ian and the team have many connections in Milwaukee, so setting up Buzzi here was a no brainer. “If you plant your business in a garden of connections, you’ll see successful growth,” Ian noted.

The team is adamant about supporting Milwaukee’s community through long-term engagement and hopes that by bringing success stories they can encourage other businesses to have a bigger vision for their city.

For Buzzi, stationing in the Midwest was ideal when hard work and tenacity is the foundation of it’s culture. “Hard work is really important to what we’re trying to accomplish, we always need to be in the startup mode to be nimble… This culture of giving back has helped me sustain this,” Ian admits, attributing much of his success to the work ethic and community of Milwaukeeans.

On Advice for Startups:

Ian and Manoj  agree that becoming an entrepreneur isn’t for the lighthearted and you got to be a little crazy to take risks. “I never had a formal job after high school, I’ve always been in startups, always loved where the problems were,” recalls Ian on asking him what it takes to become an entrepreneur.

Ian notes that Swarming was a 7 day a week, 12 plus hour a day job and at times he felt like a mad scientist. “You really got to have a level of tenacity and perseverance where you’re 100% in it.”

Many thanks to Manoj, Ian, and the rest of the team at Buzzi for this opportunity to learn more about their mission and help inspire the rest of the Milwaukee Startup community with their story. Check out their website at Buzzi.io.

Startup Spotlight is a summer series and collaboration between Pomelo Productions and Startup Milwaukee.

Author Alycia Griesi is the Lead Graphic Designer and Content Creator for Pomelo Productions. Alycia works remotely in Salem, Wisconsin, and spends most of her free time baking, biking, and playing with her dog Vinnie. For article inquiries, email alycia@pomeloproductions.com.

Startup Spotlight: Project Foundry

Project Foundry Team At the northernmost edge of Walker’s Point, Project Foundry is tucked away in a timeless Cream City brick office overlooking the Milwaukee River. Ellen Jennings, the Director of Operations at Project Foundry, answers the door and leads me to an open concept office reminiscent of an academic study. Among the M.C. Escher prints, model sailboats, and fern-lined bay windows, a team of six welcomes me as they work at desks spread throughout the space.

I sit down with Bill and Camille Mortimore, the CEO and the Chief Learning Officer of Project Foundry who inform me that while Project Foundry is not a startup, the company is young, emerging, and is committed to student success from Milwaukee and around the US.

About Project Foundry:

Project Foundry sprouted from the non-profit Homeboyz Interactive, a program designed to get kids off the street, teach them to code, and provide meaningful job placement. The launch of Project Foundry in 2006 was the result of years of cultivated research based on the success of those students in a project based learning environment.

“Project Foundry emerged to assist teaching new educational models as a means to adapt to the needs of a 21st century student,” Bill compares current education models to that of factory line workers, where the methods are the same year after year to produce mass amounts of product. “We meet students where they are [in their education], line out what to do next, track their progress and then repeat.”

Project Foundry helps implement project based learning systems and provide coordinating tracking software. Bill cites that students gain autonomy from this methodology and teachers gain the appropriate oversight so they can ask the right questions at the right time.

On Challenges:

“When you design a product like this, you need to line up the resources and make sure you’re in the right place at the right time,” Camille describes that changes in the market and needs of the student/teacher necessitates flexibility and ease of accessibility.

“By designing a highly customizable platform, you can adapt the language and the system… we don’t force our schools to use a particular model.”

Project Foundry works with stakeholders in an industry that doesn’t make changes very quickly, so searching out the right clientele was paramount in testing and improving their product. Alternative education programs from public schools were first to lean into project based learning and became the first users of Project Foundry.

On Staying in MKE:

“Being in Milwaukee was crucial… the reality is this movement (charter schools and PBL) has been predominant in Minnesota and Wisconsin. We have students on each coast, [but] Milwaukee prototyped the project.” Project Foundry has served over 250 schools across the country and maintains 10,000 active users. While many startups look to gain traction from investors in Silicon Valley, Project Foundry’s roots are strongly planted in the Midwest. Bill goes on to clarify, “There’s no reason for us to be anywhere else. To do something transformational, you can’t always go to the coast.”

On Advice for Startups:

The team at Project Foundry believe strongly in the power of community. Camille points out that more than half of their client base comes from referrals and that being an emerging business is consistent hard work for everyone in network. Camille recommends, “Find the others, find your kin, find your like minded. Invest your time in building your network. Find help and give help, [and] all those relationships will attract others.”

Many thanks to Bill, Camille, Ellen, and the rest of the team at Project Foundry for this opportunity to learn more about their mission and help inspire the rest of the Milwaukee Startup community with their story. Check out their website at ProjectFoundry.com.

Startup Spotlight is a summer series and collaboration between Pomelo Productions and Startup MKE.

Author Alycia Griesi is the Lead Graphic Designer and Content Creator for Pomelo Productions. Alycia works remotely in Salem, Wisconsin, and spends most of her free time baking, biking, and playing with her dog Vinnie. For article inquiries, email alycia@pomeloproductions.com.

Recapping Milwaukee Startup Week

We would like to thank the nearly 2,600 people who attended the inaugural Milwaukee Startup Week events last week. Attendance numbers at this inaugural event doubled our expectations. My co-organizer Ed Javier and I are humbled by the support we have received from  the community. We have no doubt in our minds that Milwaukee Startup Week will return in 2017 bigger and better.

As economic development experts from around the Midwest urged, the moment for a Midwestern city like Milwaukee to build momentum around a high-growth, technology-enabled startup community is now. The future of economic growth in Southeast Wisconsin in our minds is dependent upon continuing to launch programs that attract entrepreneurs (locally and) from around the world to start-up and grow their companies in Southeast Wisconsin.

We would like to thank the 30+ community partners who organized the dozens of events last week and our sponsors Meissner Tierney Fisher Nichols S.C., WEDC, WHEDA, Accelity Marketing, Brilliant DPI, Newsradio 620 WTMJ & Radio Milwaukee. In addition to the strong attendance at last week's events we are thankful for the attention Milwaukee Startup Week received from the local media, here are some of the stories that showed Milwaukee's startup community is alive and well.

Southeast Wisconsin is a region built by iconic entrepreneurs: Harley Davidson, Miller, Pabst, Allen Bradley, Johnson Controls, etc. we can and must return to our roots. Stay tuned for more from Startup Milwaukee. Let's venture forth and continue to build momentum in our region's high-growth startup scene.

Venture forth! Matt Cordio & Ed Javier Co-organizers, Milwaukee Startup Week

Inaugural Milwaukee Startup Week Calendar Released!

Startup Milwaukee today announced the official calendar for first-ever Milwaukee Startup Week will be held November 1-6 at various locations around Southeast Wisconsin.

The entrepreneur-led week will feature over 20 events that bring entrepreneurs, investors, local leaders and startup enthusiasts together to build momentum and celebrate Southeast Wisconsin’s unique entrepreneurial identity. All events are free as a way to give back to the entrepreneurial community and are intended to educate and engage the entire entrepreneurial stack.

“Building a stronger startup community in Southeast Wisconsin is critical for the long-term economic health of the region, research shows that startup companies create nearly 100% of net new jobs.” said Matt Cordio, Co-founder of Startup Milwaukee and a Co-organizer of Milwaukee Startup Week.

“We’ve all heard the negative news regarding startup growth for our region, instead of complaining about it , we decided to do something about it.” Said Ed Javier, Co-organizer of Milwaukee Startup Week.  “We believe that by hosting this event we can highlight the organizations out there who are helping entrepreneurs in Southeast Wisconsin and help foster the long-term growth of the community.”

Milwaukee Startup Week is sponsored by Meissner Tierney Fisher & Nichols S.C., Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

Find more information on the Milwaukee Startup Week website.

Startup Milwaukee Announces Milwaukee Startup Week

Startup Milwaukee is excited to announce the first-ever Milwaukee Startup Week, an entrepreneur-led event that brings entrepreneurs, investors, local leaders and startup enthusiasts together to build momentum and celebrate Southeast Wisconsin’s unique entrepreneurial identity. The event is tentatively scheduled to take place November 1 - 6 at various locations around the region.

Startup Milwaukee has partnered  with several organizations to produce events during Milwaukee Startup Week 2016, including CrafterSpacegener8torNewaukeeMilwaukee Tech EngineBizStartsWard 4Granular MarketingIdeaWakeThe Commons and more.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT MILWAUKEE STARTUP WEEK HERE

Media Contact: Matt Cordio, matt@startupke.org

Escaping the Startup Silo

By: Ed Javier, EMJ Consulting In the few months of living in the Milwaukee area, I have been networking, attending events and observing the startup scene. There is a lot happening here, and it’s interesting for me to see how it all works. But one potential roadblock that I have heard repeated in conversations is the perception that groups within the system are working in “silos.”

When key players and organizations are not sharing information and resources, essentially doing their own thing, startup growth is stunted. According to Brad Feld, author of Startup Communities, one of the crucial components to a healthy startup ecosystem is Network Density. This concept is based on the existence of a well-connected community of startups, groups, events and individuals that work together to benefit the whole.

Last week I witnessed first hand that the silo perception in Milwaukee may soon be an old school mentality. The Milwaukee Quick Pitch event at Miller Park was hosted by Jessica Silvaggi and Brian Thompson from the UWM Research Foundation, along with Kalpa Vithalani from The Medical College of Wisconsin, and Laura Savatski from The BloodCenter of Wisconsin. This pitch event showcased teams from their respective incubators. By working together, inviting new faces like myself and other industry folks from outside their own institutions, it was obvious that these three groups were doing their part to foster Network Density.

This is not the first time I have met groups and individuals that are sharing and connecting within the startup community here in Milwaukee. I would love to hear from you about other examples of groups, individuals and events building Network Density. If you are still stuck in with the “siloed” opinion, I’d like to hear from you as well. With leaders like Jessica, Brian, Kalpa and Laura showing us the way, we can all learn to work together and advance the Milwaukee startup ecosystem.

Ed Javier has been working in the tech space for more than 15 years. He is an experienced executive that helped build and scale start-up companies such as Cars.com and HomeFinder.com; lead technology SaaS product launches into new industries; and most recently, as the General Manager, pivoted and sold the leading real estate website in the Philippines to Rocket Internet. Ed and his family recently moved to the Milwaukee area. Connect with Ed on LinkedIn

 

Join us for Happy Hour!

Happy 2016! It has been a while since Startup Milwaukee has hosted a happy hour. Join us for happy hour at 6pm on February 4 at NOVO. Meet dozens of fellow digital entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts. Local startups featured at this event will include:

  • Bright Cellars is the monthly wine club that matches you with wine that you’ll love.
  • NightStir is a nightlife logistics app that let's Milwaukeeans keep friends in the loop on their nightlife whereabouts.
  • Okanjo's Native Commerce Platform drives new revenue for online publishers, advertisers and SMBs.
  • Seiva Technologies manufactures smart fitness apparel that provides athletes with real-time analysis on their muscle activity and joint angles, resulting in better performance than ever before.

This is a free event with a cash bar, register here.

Rebooted Milwaukee startup, Nightstir, wants to be the ‘AIM Buddy List’ for your nightlife shenanigans

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After dissolving the company three years ago, nightlife mobile app Nightstir recently relaunched at Milwaukee and Chicago area universities. The app, available currently only in the App Store with an Android version in the works, claims to take the guesswork out of the pivotal question facing most 20-somethings come the weekend: “who’s doing what, tonight?”

At it’s core, Nightstir wants to solve the logistical problems of nightlife planning between close friends and new acquaintances. This platform offers a unique way to express your nightlife intentions and plans. The app tells you when and where your friends are “pregaming,” “going out,” or “nightcapping” (going to a party after bar close) -- all in real-time. If a user doesn’t want to be bothered because they’re staying in for the night, they can indicate that using the app, too.

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The startup aims to give students a taste of the time when social platforms like pre-public Facebook and AIM were primarily used to exchange plans and availability for the night (without being judged by the prying eyes of parents, coworkers, and prospective employers) -- as opposed to the more political, media-centric Facebook of today.

“When I was in college in 2009, we utilized a combination of the then college-dominated Facebook, with AIM to figure out who, what, when and where it was going down that night,” says LeMarc Johnson, Nightstir cofounder. “Those days are long gone, but the need for a discreet, social, nightlife logistics platform is still alive and well. That’s what we’ve built. It’s like an AIM Buddy List for your nightlife. Nobody likes group texts”

Back in July 2013, Startup Milwaukee featured Johnson as Startup Milwaukeean of the Week. He and his team graduated from Vetransfer’s inaugural business accelerator program with a $20,000 seed investment.

“To put it bluntly, we failed. But we failed forward. It was my first venture and due to a couple of bad decisions, we ran out of funds when it came time to execute our user acquisition strategy. I was a novice entrepreneur, making novice business decisions,” says Johnson. “But it didn’t fail because there was no need for it -- it failed because of poor execution. This time, we know exactly what needs to happen. We’re going to be the world’s first major nightlife logistics app.”

This time around, they’re currently bootstrapping while they continue to grow their user base in Milwaukee and Chicago. There are significant changes to the core team behind the venture, which is still lead by CEO Johnson.

You can follow Nightstir at @nightstirapp.

OnRamp Madison: Pitch Your Startup to Corporations

Startup application now live for OnRamp Madison 2015https://www.f6s.com/onrampmadison2015/apply
In an effort to increase connections between startups and established corporations, the UW Athletic Department, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and gener8tor have created OnRamp – an event that gives young companies the opportunity to pitch their products and services, one-on-one, to established corporations. This is event is completely free for startups and entrepreneurs.
OnRamp Madison, hosted by the UW Athletic Department
Date: August 27th
Time: selected startups will be notified of their time slot
Location: Camp Randall Stadium
Apply now for your chance to pitch to one of the participating corporations:
* American Family Insurance
* Harley-Davidson
* Kohl's
* Northwestern Mutual
* UW Athletics
Startup application (deadline Sunday, August 23): https://www.f6s.com/onrampmadison2015/apply
Following each OnRamp event, participating corporations will select at least one startup to either purchase from, mentor (at least two lunches/coffees) or invest in.
OnRamp takes place three times per year, rotating between Milwaukee, Green Bay and Madison. Startups must apply during each event's respective application window.

 

Announcing gener8tor's OpenBETA Lunch Series in Madison

Interested in learning more about startups? Looking for team members, a team to join or a chance to network with other entrepreneurs? Love free food?
Join the gener8tor team for OpenBETA, a new summer lunch series in Madison. From July 2 - August 6, gener8tor will host a lunch and speaker from the Madison startup community on Thursdays from 12 - 1 pm at 30 W. Mifflin Street, 5th Floor, Madison, WI 53703. Speakers will cover a range of topics including pitching, fundraising and more.
 
OpenBETA kicks off on July 2 with guest speaker Melissa Turczyn and her talk, Legal Mistakes New Startups Should Avoid. Melissa Turczyn is a partner and member of the Transactional Practice Group, as well as Co-chair of the Venture Best ™ Team. Her practice focuses on all aspects of corporate law, with an emphasis on venture capital.

To sign up to attend OpenBETA, join gener8tor's Meetup Group and register here.

Upcoming OpenBETA Topics: July 9, 2015: The Lean Startup July 16, 2015: People July 23, 2015: Pitching July 30, 2015: Fundraising August 6, 2015: How to Get into an Accelerator

 
Questions about the program? Interested in bringing OpenBETA to Milwaukee? Feel free to reach out to Maggie Brickerman (Maggie@gener8tor.com) and Sara Woldt (Sara@gener8tor.com).
 

gener8tor Office Hours in Milwaukee

Tuesday, June 2, 11am-3pmWard4: 333 N Plankinton Ave, Suite 211

We're looking to invest in Milwaukee startups!
Meet with the gener8tor team in Milwaukee on Tuesday, June 2 to learn more about our Milwaukee 2015 program!
gener8tor invests its community, capital, expertise, mentorship and network in capable, early-stage entrepreneurs with innovative business models. gener8tor works with the startups in its portfolio to create successful, scalable companies.
gener8tor is seeking to invest in high-growth businesses, including software, IT, web, SaaS, e-commerce and hardware. Accepted companies receive up to $120,000 and 12 weeks of mentorship-driven programming. gener8tor is a proud member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) and is sponsored by American Family Insurance.
gener8tor is a Top 15 accelerator in the US as ranked by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project: http://www.seedrankings.com
Applications are currently being accepted: http://www.f6s.com/gener8tormilwaukee2015/apply
Deal Terms & Perks:
- $20,000 cash investment in exchange for 6-9% common stock equity
- $50,000 of guaranteed follow-on capital from gener8tor, Angels on the Water and Wisconsin Investment Partners (convertible note)
- Additional $50,000 of guaranteed follow-on capital for Wisconsin-based companies from the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation (convertible note)
- Access to staff designer and interns (development, marketing, social media, journalism, business development, sales, and more)
- $500,000+ in deals and perks from vendors like SoftLayer, Rackspace, Amazon, PayPal and Microsoft
- Support from the gener8tor team and network of alumni & mentors

Startup Community News & Events: Week of May 10th

Launch Milwaukee will promote the rapid creation and development of hardware and software startup ideas in Milwaukee. Held June 5th through 7th at Ward4, participants are given the opportunity to pitch an idea and ask for help building their idea during a 60-second window on opening night. Teams organically form around shared interests and the building process begins. Participants do not need to have an idea to pitch, and can come individually or with a team. Register at LaunchMilwaukee.com using discount code: STARTUPMKE for a 30% discount. WERCbench Labs announced they looking for teams of engineers, scientists, and programmers to participate in their summer program for technology innovators. WERCbench provides entrepreneurs access to unique production capabilities, including high performance computing, rapid prototyping facilities and small scale production and testing equipment in addition to a $20,000 grant, learn more about WERCbench here.

Subscription wine delivery service BrightCellars has announced they are moving from Boston to Milwaukee with the help of Ward4 and startup accelerator program gener8tor, read more here.

RentCollegePads.com is hiring a Business Development Manager in Milwaukee, apply for the job here. Crowds.io, a crowdsourcing startup based in Milwaukee that helps entrepreneurs launch new products was recently profiled by the Journal Sentinel, read more here.

The Wells Building once a hub for telegrams is now becoming a cloud computing hub learn more about this initiative here.

Four startups recently won Marquette University's ImpactNext Business Model Competitionread all about them here.

Milwaukee-based Scanlytics' SoleSensor technology is being test-driven by a top five telecom firm, according to a recent press release.

To get the latest startup community news & events follow @StartupMKE on twitter!

WERCBench Labs: an immersive program for technology innovators in Milwaukee

WERCBench Labs is a program of the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) that brings together world leading companies, tech colleges and universities that share a passion for making things.

WERCBench Labs is seeking teams or individuals with ideas, products or technologies related to energy, power or controls that want to develop their technology into a product and business. This includes makers, engineers, scientists, and programmers across all funding stages. Along with a globally recognized teaching team, 50 world-class mentors will provide guidance, coaching, and insights throughout the 12-week training program and beyond to the teams accepted into the program.

There is no direct cost or requirement to give up equity to participate in the program. Selected start-ups will receive a $20,000 grant; $10,000 at the start of the program and $10,000 upon successful completion of the program.

The program helps start-ups build products and scale businesses by providing access to technology, market insights and connections for team building, storytelling, customer acquisition and marketing, business modeling, design, legal advice and fundraising.

Participants will have access to unique production capabilities, high performance computing, rapid prototyping facilities and small-scale production and testing equipment.

The program will take place June 8 to August 27 at the Energy Innovation Center located in Century City Tower, once home to Eaton Corporation's world-renowned testing and production facility. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible. The formal application deadline is May 29 but WERCBench Labs will be reviewing applications on a rolling admissions basis.

Apply today, click here!

Launch Milwaukee: launch a startup in 54 hours.

Startup Milwaukee is excited to partner with the Milwaukee Hardware Hackathon to announce, Launch Milwaukee an intense weekend-long competition where engineers, entrepreneurs, makers and designers come to learn, collaborate, and build great things. Launch Milwaukee promotes the rapid creation and development of hardware and software startup ideas in Milwaukee. Participants are given the opportunity to pitch an idea and ask for help building their idea during a 60-second window on opening night. Teams organically form around shared interests and the building process begins. Participants do not need to have an idea to pitch, and can come individually or with a team.

Teams will have all the necessary tools to develop hardware and software prototypes such as 3D printers, CAD software, and Raspberry Pi's. Prizes will be offered in multiple categories to recognize the hard work and creativity teams put forth during the weekend and to help continue the development of their idea in the months to follow.

Details of the event:

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  • Dates: June 5th-7th
  • Location: Historic Pritzlaff’s Ward 4 (second floor)
    333 N Plankinton Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203
  • Buy your tickets now: www.LaunchMilwaukee.com Tickets include food & drinks throughout the weekend. Use the discount code: STARTUPMKE for a 30% discount.
  • If you have questions, please feel to reach out to:
    Brandon Alberti - launchmke@gmail.com

Matt Cordio receives BizTimes Media's Bravo Entrepreneur Award!

Matt Cordio, Co-founder of Startup Milwaukee, The Commons and Skills Pipeline will receive a BizTimes Bravo! Entrepreneur Award from BizTimes Media LLC. The Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards salute southeastern Wisconsin business leaders for their bold leadership, business growth and innovation.

The winners will receive their awards at a ceremony on Wednesday, May 20, at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, Woodland Dreams Ballroom, in Milwaukee at 1721 W. Canal St., from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

The Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards and I.Q. Awards will be presented to the recipients at a luncheon during the 2015 BizExpo, to be held Wednesday, May 20, at the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee.  The awards ceremony will be emceed by WISN-Channel 12 News anchor Craig McKee.

The complete list of the Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards recipients:

  • Rick Barrett, president, Barrett Visionary Development, Milwaukee
  • Kelly Brown, managing partner, American Deposit Management Co., Delafield
  • Matt Cordio, Co-founder of Skills Pipeline, Startup Milwaukee, 96square & The Commons, Milwaukee
  • Michelle D’Attilio, CEO, Sosh, Milwaukee
  • John Hunzinger, president, Hunzinger Construction Co., Brookfield
  • Jerry Jendusa, co-founder, Stuck LLC, Wauwatosa
  • Scott Kubicki, president, Skyline of Milwaukee
  • Tony Mallinger, president and CEO, Metal-Era, Waukesha
  • Lupe Martinez, president and CEO, UMOS, Milwaukee
  • Sandra Nix, president and CEO, Connected Technology Solutions, Menomonee Falls
  • Regional Spirit Award: Griselda Aldrete, president and CEO of Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee
  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Steve Laughlin, executive chairman of Laughlin Constable

“BizTimes Media would like to congratulate these company leaders on their success as they continue to innovate, grow and create jobs in southeastern Wisconsin,” said Dan Meyer, publisher of BizTimes Milwaukee. “We invite all businesses in the region to attend the BizExpo and learn more about the creative best practices that are fueling this growth.”

To register to attend the BizTimes Bravo! Entrepreneur Awards ceremony and/or the BizExpo, visit www.biztimes.com/bravo.

Milwaukee startup aims to connect veterans to colleges!

 Home Front Alliance (based at Startup Milwaukee's 96square coworking space) is proud to announce the launch of its state-of-the-art college-connection platform called "CollegeRecon." After 18 months of research, development and testing, CollegeRecon is now available to those who've served, those currently serving and their families.
CollegeRecon revolutionizes the way Veterans view their post-military lives by equipping them with the most expansive and easy-to-use online tool in the world. This platform, which is completely free for the military, bridges the current gap between college-bound service members and colleges and universities looking to enroll these honorable men and women.

CollegeRecon also serves not-for-profit colleges and universities. There are over 3,000 live school profiles currently on the site and each is able to receive college-bound military user's profiles at no cost and begin communicating. Colleges and universities are able to utilize the site for their own recruiting efforts by registering with Home Front Alliance as a "Patriot Sponsor" institution and searching for potential applicants.

The purpose of CollegeRecon is to foster introductions between Veterans and not-for-profit post-secondary institutions.

Small Shops United to Present January 14th at 1 Million Cups

Also announcing search for a PHP/SQL Programmer

Small Shops United, a Milwaukee area startup creating technology-based marketing and fundraising solutions for small businesses, local schools, and non-profits, will be presenting at 1 Million Cups on Wednesday, January 14th (9am). 1 Million Cups is a weekly event giving entrepreneurs an opportunity to discuss their startup with an audience of advisors, mentors, and fellow entrepreneurs. Events are held at 9am each Wednesday morning in the Historic Pritzlaff Building (325 N. Plankinton Ave).

Additionally, Small Shops United will zithromax for lyme disease treatment be announcing their search for a back end developer as they begin to build their in-house team. It’s a ground floor opportunity to join a growing startup based here in Milwaukee. Interested programmers with a strong PHP/SQL background should reach out to Eric Tallmadge: eric@smallshopsunited.com