2020 Program

 Welcome to the 2020 COVID Edition of the Badger Startup Summit

The Badger Startup Summit is all about building networks.  For seven years we’ve brought the myriad participating and supporting entities that comprise Madison Startup Ecosystem into one room, at one time.  The Summit will continue in 2021 as a deep feature our community of startup and tech innovators.  But this year the COVID crisis has forced a radical adjustment.  We are going virtual this year.  With the associated dissolution of geographic constraints, we are going beyond Madison to the larger Wisconsin and regional community.

This year the Summit bookends the startup continuum. We lead with a Keynote Fireside Chat aimed at those already on the path to growth and we focus on the importance of building scale into every startup venture.  We conclude with our signature Pitch & rePlay format aimed at entrepreneurs who are at the earliest stages of testing out their ideas while sounding for feedback in a positive environment.  For this virtual two-part Summit if you haven’t gained new insights or  made new connections today, we aren’t delivering.

12:00 am Fireside Chat   – Lessons Learned on Scaling your Startup for Meteoric Growth

We partner this year with Milwaukee Institute’s 5 Lakes program to host a virtual Fireside Chat.  5 Lakes was formed to expand the opportunities for startups in Wisconsin and the Great Lakes region. In keeping with that mission this Chat dives into what it takes to successfully scale a business.

Our Keynote Guest is Tom Erickson,  a UW-Madison alum and scale-up veteran, Tom Erickson.  Until late 2019 when the company sold​ a majority stake for $1 billion, Tom was Founding Board Director, Chairman and CEO of Acquia, a Boston-based provider of cloud platforms for digital experience management.  He is currently Founding Director of the UW-Madison School of Computer, Data and Information Sciences.

Our moderator is Kathleen Gallagher,  Executive Director of 5 Lakes Institute. A Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, she previously was a business reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Bring your Lunch, pull up a chair and enjoy this candid discussion on the challenges of moving beyond just having a successful venture to one that can scale to achieve the heights that most of us come to associate with companies based on the

West or East coast.

1:00 pm The MERLIN Pitch and Re-Play

Welcome and Introduction Susie Younkle—Program Director, MERLIN Mentors

Our signature pitch session returns in partnership with MERLIN Mentors as a Virtual experience. We will use gener8tor’s Mentor Swarm model (big thanks to the Madison g-Beta team) to rotate entrepreneurs sequentially to virtual

rooms where they meet and pitch to attendees. Entrepreneur start simultaneously in different rooms, each having 5-8 attendees eager to hear your story. Rotate to the next room every 15 minutes

Logistics and Expectations Dennis Barnum—MERLIN Mentors

2:15 pm Pitch Wrap-up  Dennis Barnum

Next up:

Don’t miss the rest of Opening Day at the Fest2020.  Nexxpo, the Pressure Chamber, the High Tech Happy Hour and more…

The 2020 Summit is Aug. 13

Registration is free but required

Click the Buttons below to sign up

Note: The Summit is included with Forward Pass purchase but registration is still required.

Find it

Not at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery this year

Watch your email for the links to the virtual session  you signed up for arriving shortly prior to Aug 13


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