Badger Startup Summit | The Million Cups VenFair
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The Million Cups VenFair

Welcome to the Million Cups VenFair: The Madison Startup Ecosystem in miniature!

The Badger Startup Summit now includes a microcosm of the Madison Startup scene.

Thanks to 1 Million Cups for organizing and hosting this year’s VenFair in the Discovery Building South Atrium adjoining the forum – each table hosted over the lunch hour (actually an hour and a half) by a key supplier of value-add to Madison Startups.  It’s the Madison Startup Ecosystem in miniature.


The Million Cups VenFair floorplan is nearby.  Watch this space as the VenFair takes shape.  Event Sponsors participating in the VenFair include, Baker Tilly, Capitol Bank, Kollath CPAs, The LeRose Group at Morgan Stanley, MakinHey!, Murphy Desmond, University Research Park, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

The organizations that make up the core of the Madison Tech and startup scene are here today.  Several companies that provide expertise and support to Madison entrepreneurs have collectively sponsored the food that will sustain your energy as you roam the tables.  Collectively all these organizations bring continuity and add expertise to Madison’s high tech scene.


Each table is identified with a sign showing the entity or sponsor.  Check them out, learn who does what,  make new connections and strengthen connections you already have.    




Your Challenge: find the resource you need whether it be partners, employees, customers, investors, consulting skills. Go make the connection and learn more.

VenFair Participants by Table number – See descriptions following


Summit Event Sponsors

Table ev2    Kollath CPA is a full-service accounting firm with locations in Middleton and Sauk City that offer a wide range of tax, accounting, assurance and payroll services.  Kollath’s team of professionals are focused on the health and growth of your business and will give you the personal, custom attention you need to be proactive.  We will help you meet your goals.

Table ev3  Capitol Bank is a locally owned, full-service community bank based in Madison and Verona, Wisconsin.  Founded in Madison, WI in 1995, Capitol Bank focuses on local decision-making, above-and-beyond personal service, and maintaining deep roots in the community.  The Bank’s clientele, includes a high concentration of business customers.

Representing Capitol Bank:  Justin Hart and Kari Harpold

Table ev4  The University Research Park is a 255 acre research and technology park on Madison’s near West side housing more than 120 companies that employ more than 3,000.  The Park operates or supports several entities that participate directly in growing the Madison high tech scene including MERLIN Mentors, Madworks co-working, Madworks Seed Accelerator and @1403, a campus based facility offering events and work space for campus-based entrepreneurs.

Representing the University Research Park:  Aaron Olver

Table ev1  The LeRose Group at Morgan Stanley develops strategies for businesses and families to help them invest in a manner consistent with their goals and beliefs.  The combination of our personal service and the global resources of Morgan Stanley help us provide sound financial advice, integrated solutions and intelligence across the world’s major markets.

Representing the LeRose Group from Morgan Stanley:  Joan LeRose and John LeRose

Table ev3  Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP is a full-service accounting and advisory firm delivering refreshing candor with clear industry insight to connect your business goals with innovative solutions that drive your business forward. Baker Tilly’s industry-focused teams serve clients that are both privately held and publicly traded companies, and occupy all stages of development—from start-ups and family-run businesses to international corporations.

Representing Baker Tilly:  Dan Anderson

Table ev4   Since 1931, the law firm of Murphy Desmond S.C. has been assisting small, medium and large businesses to grow and thrive in Wisconsin. Named the “#1 Preferred Law Firm” (2010-2013) in In Business magazine by Madison-area executives (and listed in the Top 3 for over 10 years), included on U.S. News & World Report’s“Best Law Firms” list, and rated AV (top rating) by Martindale-Hubbell and, Murphy Desmond has earned a reputation as a dependable business law firm. The lawyers at Murphy Desmond work with start-ups and emerging companies, and the firm is a committed partner in helping to build a strong network of support for entrepreneurs, investors and innovators who bring new ideas to the marketplace. Call us today at 608.257.7181 or email

Representing Murphy Desmond:  Matt Frank,  Connor Valentyn and Roy Fine

Table ev4  Modest in size, but mammoth in creative talent, there’s not much Makin’ Hey! Communications can’t handle. From strategic planning and brand identity to web design and development. From print and packaging design to social media strategy and management, we’ll make your project or organization a splash of color in a sea of black and white and the spicy among the bland. Our crew believes that the status quo is boring, that it’s ok to color outside the lines, and that great ideas always start with a full glass. So, if you’re looking to make some noise amid the quiet, let Makin’ Hey! be your megaphone.

Representing Makin’ Hey!   Allen Veak and Kevin Kiley

Table ev2  The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) promotes, encourages and aids scientific investigation and research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research.  Founded in 1925, WARF is among the oldest and most successful technology transfer offices in the nation. As the designated patenting and licensing organization for UW–Madison, WARF advances transformative discoveries to the marketplace to benefit humankind across Wisconsin and the world.  Upstart is a free entrepreneurship program created by WARF for women and people of color.

Representing WARF:  TBA

Enjoy lunch courtesy of VenFair Hosts


Table 3   Fine Point Consulting LLC  provides a full accounting department to our customers so that you can choose from a menu of services, from everything to day-to-day bookkeeping to forward-looking CFO advisory services. Our goal is to give entrepreneurs more time to focus on strategy, market, and product by taking over your back office work for you, for less than the cost of adding a full headcount to your team.

Representing Fine Point:  Will Huepenbecker and Matt Loewi


Table 4   HealthX Ventures is a digital healthcare focused venture capital fund based in Madison, Wisconsin. HealthX Ventures supports early/seed stage, high-growth companies in all areas of digital health, including companies who are making healthcare safer, more efficient and more affordable. The firm is investing out of its flagship fund, and is led by experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts who have grown companies and led change across the healthcare system.

Representing HealthX:  Mark Bakken and Taha Jangda

Table 5  Cresa  is The world’s largest corporate real estate advisory firm that exclusively represents tenants and buyers, never landlords or sellers, for truly conflict-free representation.


Table  8   Emelar Consulting Group is a full service sales force consulting firm specializing in intelligently refining business processes so you can leverage the full power of the

Salesforce platform.  From CRM to CPQ we have you covered.  Bottom Line:  Emelar makes Salesforce simpler.

Representing Emelar Consulting Group:  Jesse Theiler and Eric Dunnivant

Table 2   Atlas Providers is a network of local, specialized startup service providers who are passionate about entrepreneurship and have a proven track record of working with emerging companies. Our platform provides a digital community where entrepreneurs can easily search, review and connect with curated service providers in a transparent and simplified manner.

Representing Atlas Providers:  Nick Lombardino and Ryan Waite

Table 10   Since it’s inception, Bendyworks has focused on creating powerful software that drives business and gets results. Founded in 2009, Bendyworks teams up with corporations nationally to create and fix valuable business software. From Fortune 25 enterprises to startups, our deep and wide experience enables us to apply to our current clientele the myriad lessons we’ve already learned. We dedicate ourselves to delivering software that stands the test of time by being adaptable to changing business needs; indeed, the etymology of our name comes from this notion: that software should bend, not break.

Representing Bendyworks:  Ashley Powell

Table 6  The Wisconsin Technology Council is the science and technology advisor to the Governor and the Legislature. Launched in 2001, the Tech Council was created by a bipartisan act of the governor and the Legislature. It is an independent, non-profit and non-partisan board with members from tech companies, venture capital firms, higher education, research institutions, government and law.

Representing Wisconsin Technology Council:  Cassidy Wartenweiler and Bram Daelmans

Table 9  Anchor Bank, long a familiar part of the Madison banking scene recently merged with Old National Bank,  the largest financial services holding company headquartered in Indiana. Old National ranks among the top 100 banking companies in the U.S. and has been recognized as a World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute for six consecutive years. With combined assets of $17 billion, following the acquisition Old National will continue building long-term, highly valued partnerships with clients. In addition to providing extensive services in retail and commercial banking, Old National offers comprehensive wealth management, investments and brokerage services.


Table 7   Venture Investors LLC  seeks the next big things in healthcare. Based in the Midwest with open access to renowned research universities, and the vibrant communities that surround them, we target, uncover, and invest in extraordinary ideas that will shape the future of health and wellness. With decades of proven success, we’re fueling the future of what’s driving healthcare. Today, we have over $200 million in assets under management.

Representing Venture Investors:  Paul Weiss

starting block-logo-green

Table 1   Starting Block is a physical embodiment of Madison’s tech and startup scene.  To be located in the Capitol East Gateway, StartingBlock will foster economic development through partnerships among existing industry players and regional startups and through linking Madison to other communities throughout the Midwest.

For Starting Block:  Chandra Miller-Feinen

VenFair Startup Resources


Table 14  The Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic (L & E Clinic) provides free legal services to nascent entrepreneurs and early stage companies through the work of law students supervised by faculty and private sector attorneys. In collaboration with Madworks Seed Accelerator the Clinic also connects entrepreneurs with mentoring and related resources in the entrepreneurial ecosystem who can help them launch.


Table 15  MERLIN is a free team mentoring service focused on helping entrepreneurs navigate the challenges of a startup venture.  MERLIN mentors are peer-reviewed volunteers who have masterfully started and managed new ventures. These mentors use their skills, experience and enthusiasm to guide emerging entrepreneurs in early stage ventures to boost the potential of business success.

Representing MERLIN:  Susie Younkle


Table 16   100State is Wisconsin’s largest co-working space by membership.  More than coworking, 100State serves as a community and home for problem­ solvers, creatives, and entrepreneurs designed to inspire collaboration and create connections that unleash Madison’s community potential.

Matrix logo

Table 14   Horizon is a community workspace offering individuals and early stage startup teams a downtown hub to work and connect.  Matrix is a collaborative business facility located on Madison’s near West side offering workspace for business, arts and wellness professionals.  Matrix and Horizon members enjoy reciprocal access to both locations.

For Horizon:  Preston Austin

For Matrix: Tiffanie Mark

Transcend Logo

Table 16   Transcend is a student organization focused on providing invaluable resources and opportunities to students on campus who are interested in creating their own ventures. Our core concept is to inspire the Madison student community to create businesses and innovative ideas that will change the world. We hold an annual student run innovation competition where UW startups compete for various prizes.

Representing Transcend: Jordan Black

Table 15  Synergy Coworking is a social enterprise that provides flexible workspace, including private offices, coworking, meeting rooms, and DIY event space. We foster a diverse and professional environment and community of growth and collaboration through the exchange of knowledge, expertise, ideas, resources, and tools. We also facilitate strategic connections and provide coaching and guidance for utilizing Madison’s ecosystem of support for startups, small businesses, and professionals. We are committed to delivering development and accelerated growth opportunities to women and people of color.


Table 13  gener8tor is a nationally ranked accelerator that invests in high-growth startups. Twice a year we invest up to $140K in each of five startups who receive a concierge experience during our 12-week program. gener8tor supports the growth of these startups through our network of experienced mentors, technologists, corporate partners, angel investors and venture capitalists.

Representing gener8tor/gBeta:  Nhi Le

Table 13   Doyenne Group is committed to challenging women to reach their fullest potential as entrepreneurs and leaders in their communities.  Through our monthly meetings, learning groups, retreats, and other special events, we design social spaces where women can talk with each other about their experiences, get greater clarity on who they are and what they do as entrepreneurs, and push themselves outside their comfort zone as they work to build ventures that have impact.


Representing Doyenne Group:  Heather Wentler and Amy Gannon

Table 12   Discovery to Product (D2P) is a major partnership between UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) that is focused on entrepreneurship and building on a long history of collaboration by the University and WARF to move UW-Madison technology and innovation to market.

Representing D2P:  John Biondi

Table 11  ACE  The Advocacy Consortium for Entrepreneurs will improve the environment for entrepreneurship at the University of Wisconsin – Madison (UW), striving to increase the number and success rate of ventures started and to reduce barriers to entrepreneurship.
WiSolve WiSolve Consulting Group is a Wisconsin non-profit strategic consulting firm that provides data-driven business solutions for Wisconsin companies while providing our graduate student and postdoc consultants with practical experience in the business of science and technology focusing on the development of transferrable skills and business acumen.
Representing ACE:  Dick Burgess
Representing WiSolve:  Chris Konop and Jonathan Lenz

Table 12   Capital Entrepreneurs is a community group for Madison area entrepreneurs, and is the social fabric that ties much of the Madison entrepreneurial community together. Our members are dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship by bringing entrepreneurs together to create new connections and a community around the startups in Madison. CE focuses on social and networking events that include smaller scale monthly meetings, all the way up to large 400+ socials. CE has also initiated and organized a number of other entrepreneurial events throughout the ecosystem.


Representing CE:   Sam Farber

The 2018 Summit is August 22 – Registration Now Open

Stay tuned for 2018

$45 Early Bird (until Jun 30)
$75 Advance registration

$100 at the the door

Find it

Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery
The Hector Deluca Forum
330 North Orchard Street
Madison, WI 53715


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