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.  20 tables in the Discovery Building South Artium adjoining the forum – each table hosted over the lunch hour (actually an hour and a half) by a pair of Madison’s key suppliers of value-add to Madison Startups.  It’s the Madison Startup Ecosystem in miniature.


The floorplan nearby is for the Million Cups VenFair.  Watch this space as the Million Cups VenFair takes shape.  In the left hand column of the table below, see the Ecosystem entities, each of which are highly active in, and collectively comprise the Madison tech scene through their operations and many events.  In the right hand column see their respective host sponsors – these organizations include service providers, investors and supporting organizations.  Collectively they bring continuity and add expertise to Madison’s high tech scene.


Each table is identified with a sign showing the table number and the entity and sponsor.  Check them out, learn who does what,  make new connections and strengthen connections you already have.  Coming soon:  DOWNLOAD VENFAIR FLOORPLAN HERE (PDF)


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

Table 1


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.


QTI Group provides insightful staffing solutions, recruiting strategies, executive search, compensation consulting and HR services. QTI brings more than 50 years of experience matching talent with culture and culture with talent in the Madison and beyond.

Table 2


ACE is an independent non-profit membership organization that provides a voice and a community for UW-Madison faculty, staff, alumni, grad students and PostDocs who are involved in company creation – or who aspire to commercialize their research and creativity. The mission of ACE is to improve the environment for entrepreneurship at UW-Madison and to increase both the number and success rate of new ventures emanating from innovative university effort across the sciences, arts, and humanities.

Representing ACE:

Mark Cook, ACE Board and professor of Animal Sciences, UW-Madison

Christopher Konop, UW Post Doc Organization and Research Assistant Dept. of Zoology, UW-Madison


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 608.257.7181or email .

Table 3


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
  • Adam Sherman

WARF logo_2014

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.

Table 4

Matrix logo

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


Urban Land Interests develops, manages, operates and invests in residential, commercial and industrial property. ULI is committed to developing quality housing, preserving unique historic properties and creating vibrant new architecture in urban areas. For more than 36 of it 40 year history ULI has been in downtown Madison.

Table 5


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.


The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing Wisconsin’s business climate. The mission of WEDC’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation division is to advance Wisconsin’s startup and emerging growth businesses by integrating a system of increased deal flow, entrepreneurial development/support networks, and access to early stage capital and investment incentives.

Table 6


Located in University Research Park in Madison, Wisconsin, Madworks Coworking provides affordable  professional work environment for a diverse group of entrepreneurs, freelancers, innovators and remote workers who value being part of a vibrant community of innovative thinkers.


AlphaTech is a law firm that represents emerging companies with scalable business models.  That’s it.  AlphaTech does not represent individuals, investors, banks, nonprofits, restaurants, service businesses, multi-national conglomerates, etc.  Every AlphaTech professional has many years of experience working with emerging companies.  As AlphaTech is so focused on representing emerging companies rather than trying to serve everyone, our professionals often have more experience with emerging company issues than most legal professionals in the Midwest, regardless of firm size.  Through AlphaTech’s focus, connections, and use of technology, AlphaTech is The Emerging Company’s Counsel.

Representing AlphaTech Counsel:

  • Paul Temple
  • Macy Stoneback

Table 7


1 Million Cups is a national program started by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City in 2012. It is a free, weekly opportunity for local entrepreneurs and startups to engage, and is based on the idea that it takes one million cups of coffee to launch a startup. Cities around the world host local chapters of 1 Million Cups and run their weekly events semi-autonomously. 1 Million Cups Madison launched Dec. 17, 2014, becoming the second 1 Million Cups chapter in Wisconsin (Milwaukee was the first). 1 Million Cups encourages community and inclusivity; startups of all varieties are welcome to apply to present, and anyone in the community who is interested can attend to listen, ask questions and offer advice. Meetings take place each Wednesday at 9:15am at the Madison Central Library.  1 Million Cups Madison’s organizers are Leah Anderson of Nordic, Drew Coursin of Neider and Boucher, Shobhan Thakkar of HealthxVentures, and Rachel Neill of Nordic, all are Madison-based with a love of startups.


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.

Table 8

starting block-logo-green

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:  Scott Resnick


As the electric and natural gas utility for the area, our team goes beyond the pipes and wires to assist both new and existing businesses. The Economic Development “Connect Team” at Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) helps start-ups and established companies by connecting them to local resources, service providers and investors.

Table 9


The Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC) provides one-on-one assistance to early-stage emerging technology businesses throughout Wisconsin at no cost. Expert consultants specialize in Lean Startup methodology and funding acquisition via federal Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs. From feasibility to funding, the CTC assists startups navigating the path to market with evaluating the commercial potential of ideas, business plan development, raising capital and much more.

Representing the CTC

  • Dave Linz, CTC Client Services Director
  • Todd Strother, CTC Senior Technology Consultant

The Wisconsin Small Business Development Center is a statewide network of twelve offices supporting entrepreneurs and business owners through no-cost, confidential consulting and targeted educational programs. Locally based SBDC experts facilitate improvement and growth for small and emerging mid-size companies and help launch successful new enterprises.

Representing the SBDC

  • Bon Wikenheiser, SBDC State Director
  • Neil Lerner, SBDC Associate State Director

Table 10


MERLIN Mentors is a free team mentoring service focused on helping entrepreneurs build their skill and grow their ventures.

Representing MERLIN

  • Susie Younkle, Program Director
  • Gregg Johnson,  MERLIN Mentor, member MERLIN review committee

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, Director
  • TBA

Table 11


Sector67 is Madison’s Community Workspace / Hackerspace / Makerspace / Collaborative Environment dedicated to providing members the opportunity to work on tomorrow’s technology; to build, collaborate, learn, and teach about next generation devices.  Artist? Engineer? Programmer? Sculpturer? Tinkerer? Hobbiest? RC Enthusiast? Maker? Builder? Prototyper? Business Person? Thinker? Visionary? Entertainer? Designer? Writer? Hacker? – We’d like to give you a place to work and discover new ideas.  We have more than 8500 square feet at 2100 Winnebago St (Atwood Neighborhood on the near east side). Full memberships are $100/month, $50/month for college students. Stop by during hours posted on the calendar or call 608-241-4605.

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Venture Investors LLC is a venture capital firm focused on making seed and early stage healthcare and technology investments. The firm, founded in 1982,  is currently investing out of its fifth fund and has over $200 million under management.  With offices in Madison and Ann Arbor, we focus on identifying and commercializing industry-leading technologies developed by some of our nation’s premier research institutions.  Our philosophy is to identify investment opportunities with unique scientific breakthroughs and strong intellectual property. We believe some of the most significant discoveries will come from interdisciplinary research in the biological, computational and engineering sciences.

Representing Venture Investors:  Scott Button

Table 12


Transcend and MadVentures are UW-Madison student organizations, each focused on bringing entrepreneurially minded creative students together through events and networking.  MadVentures operates a co-working space at 333 N Campus Mall.  Transcend based in the UW College of Engineering, is a community of hackers, thinkers, hobbyists and entrepreneurs who want to make new products and collaborate with each other along the way.


Representing Transcend: Mike Fix


Associated Banc-Corp is a U.S. regional bank holding company providing retail banking, commercial banking, real estate lending and private banking.  Headquartered in Green Bay,  Associated Bank has several branch locations in Madison.  It is the largest bank (by asset size) headquartered in Wisconsin. The bank’s main focus is middle-market commercial banking in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and the upper Midwest.  As of June 30, 2016, it had $29 billion in assets and was one of the top 50 publicly traded U.S. bank holding companies


Representing Associated Bank:

Chris Doering

Gary Schaefer

Table 13


Revel is a modern workshop and event space, offering a curated selection of creative workshops and drop-in DIY projects. Revel’s downtown space is a convenient and inspiring venue for everything from personal celebrations to corporate retreats.


Neider & Boucher provides the highest quality legal services and counseling to businesses and individuals.  N&B was established in 1995 by Charles Neider and Joe Boucher.  After many years of working together in a larger general practice firm, Charles and Joe decided to create a boutique firm which focused on the needs of small businesses and their owners.  N&B is proud to celebrate its 20th Anniversary in 2015! The firm has grown from 10 attorneys to 22 attorneys adding legal expertise in a variety of practice areas in an effort to continue to effectively serve the firm’s clients.  Neider & Boucher helps firm clients achieve their personal and business goals.  We are passionate about working with startup companies, closely-held businesses and early stage entrepreneurs and take pride watching these businesses grow.

Table 14


The Weinert Center at the Wisconsin School of Business is dedicated to teaching, research, and service pertaining to entrepreneurial management and enterprise development.  The Center programs include the WEB(Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp), DEL(Distinguished Entrepreneurs Lunch), WES (Wisconsin Entrepreneurship Showcase) and PartnerUp to name a few.   We have been named one of the top entrepreneurship programs by the Princeton Review, Financial Times, and the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE).

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 15

DIYbio Madison is a community of do-it-yourself biotech innovators, tinkerers, and scientifically-minded citizens who generate and act on ideas that solve real world problems in the life sciences. Everyone is welcome whether you’re currently working on a diyBio project or just curious and want to learn more about this exciting movement in the biosciences.


Representing DIYbio:  Stefan Koehler

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:  Luella Schmidt and Sarah Odden

Table 16


DreamBank is a free community space put on by American Family Insurance.  Our mission is to inspire and equip our community to pursue their dreams.  We host over 35 free events each month, including about 10 Entrepreneur-related events.  We hire subject matter experts to present on topics like social media, marketing, start-up tips, networking and leadership.  We also offer free meeting and event space for entrepreneurs and groups.


Representing Dream Bank: Chris Rudolph

Headquartered in Madison, American Family Insurance is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks 332nd on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family helps Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial community through the DreamBank, through program sponsorships like ForwardFest and gener8tor, and through investment in innovative companies by its American Family Ventures operations.

Table 17


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.

M3 Insurance offers insight, advice and strategies to help clients manage risk, purchase insurance and provide employee benefits. We are committed to being experts in both the products we represent and the industries we serve. Our people advance M3’s competitive advantage in the marketplace, and our focus on community builds better places to live and work. M3 is consistently ranked a top 100 broker in America.

Table 18

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

Amy Gannon


Baird is an employee-owned, international wealth management, capital markets, private equity and asset management firm with offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. Established in 1919, Baird has more than 3,300 associates serving the needs of individual, corporate, institutional and municipal clients. Baird has more than $157 billion in client assets. Baird’s principal operating subsidiary in the U.S. is Robert W. Baird & Co.

Table 19

The UW-Madison Garage Physics lab in Sterling Hall is a makerspace for student-driven interdisciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship. Garage offers UW-Madison students an unstructured safe environment to explore technologies and to develop creative ideas through project-oriented just-in-time learning. Want to make something or make something happen? You have come to the right place.


Representing Garage Physics: Duncan Carlsmith

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.

Table 20

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:

Gabe Freeman

Forrest Woolworth

Headquartered in Madison, American Family Insurance is the nation’s 13th-largest property/casualty insurance group and ranks 332nd on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family helps Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial community through the DreamBank, through program sponsorships like ForwardFest and gener8tor, and through investment in innovative companies by its American Family Ventures operations.

This Event is August 17, 2017 – Registration Now Open

$45 Early Bird (closes July 21)
$75 Advance registration (closes August 10)
$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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