Pitch & Re-Play


The MERLIN Pitch & rePlay is proud to be a part of the 2020 Startup Milwaukee week

Musical chairs for entrepreneurs … but the music doesn’t stop and no one is cut out of the process.  MERLIN Mentors and gener8tor’s g-Beta are joining up again to host the MERLIN Pitch & rePlay on Zoom Thursday November 12, 2020 3:30 – 5:00pm. 


Elevate Your Business

Special for this Startup Milwaukee Week event we are pleased to announce a prize for the best pitch. Thanks to Novel Coworking the winner will receive a FREE private office for two months at Novel Coworking’s Cathedral Square location in Milwaukee at 790 N Milwaukee St.  Join a national network of high growth companies and business owners in this inspiring, plug & play work environment.  This has a value of $1100.  Offer expires 6/30/21.  (See below more details)  To apply to pitch scroll down and complete the short application form on this page.  To be considered to pitch your application must be received by Midnight November 6.


This session gives entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to fine tune their pitch in a non-competitive environment to a few interested listeners. They get immediate feedback on their idea from a small but eager audience. All this is repeated five times to different small groups where entrepreneurs  get to make corrections perfecting their pitch and their presentation style all while gaining helpful feedback and meeting others who can help. Those who pitch range from individuals who have been thinking over an idea, to CEOs of companies preparing to go into the investor arena for funding.

In prior years as a live event in a room buzzing with conversations, the Pitch & rePlay has proven to be an extremely successful event. Several now well known startups on the Madison Scene have used this forum for their initial pitch to the startup community.  For 2020, with special thanks to gener8tor and g-Beta for Zoom support this virtual Pitch & rePlay will be similar to that used successfully in the g-Beta’s  Mentor Swarms.

The intent of the Pitch and re-Play is a departure from the typical pitch event.  The structure of most pitch events is a ‘one-shot up and out’ experience for the entrepreneur where feedback is limited to a few questions at the end (if that). All presenters are winners here as each presenter gets to pitch five times in succession to five different small groups of interested listeners.  This enables participants to perfect their pitch making changes on the fly and testing ideas on ways to better convey their stories.  The exposure to five different audiences provides small group dynamics and facilitates receiving helpful feedback on each pitch.  Also entrepreneurs potentially make new connections with people who can help.

About Startup Milwaukee Week

Startup Milwaukee Week connects high-growth entrepreneurs with the resources they need (investors, support programs, service providers, etc.) to launch and scale high-growth tech companies in the Milwaukee region. The 5th annual event is taking place virtually, November 11 – 18, 2020 and is supported by Husch Blackwell, Northwestern Mutual and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Skills Pipeline. To view the full calendar of events visit StartupWI.org.

Guidance for those who want to Pitch

Due to the limitations of the virtual setting only five entrepreneurs will be pitching. Application deadline is  November 6, 2020 COB.  Although having an existing entity (for profit or not for profit) is not a requirement, those who apply should have thought through the problem they are addressing, their solution, how they intend to build a sustainable business and how their skills and experience rise to the task of executing the project

Specifically a good pitch should cover:

  • who you are
  • what problem you are solving
  • who you target as customers
  • why your solution will interest them enough to buy and
  • how you will build a sustainable business around your vision.

The format is simple. Following welcome remarks, all attendees will be moved to rooms of 5-8 attendees each. the number of rooms =  the number of entrepreneurs pitching.  Each entrepreneur will be assigned to a ‘room’ to meet his/her initial audience. Each entrepreneur gets 15  minutes in the room, 5 minutes to pitch, and the rest to answer questions and receive feedback.  Entrepreneurs will receive a 1 minute warning  prior to rotating to the next room. Entrepreneurs should be able to deliver 5 pitches to 5 very different diverse and helpful audiences.  This is a very active participatory event.  Through the Zoom software screen sharing option entrepreneurs may elect to use a slide deck should they chose.

For questions contact Chief Pitch Wrangler, Dennis Barnum


To apply to pitch entrepreneurs must submit the application below by midnight Friday November 6, 2020.  Applicants selected to present will be notified by Nov 9 and must participate in a short online orientation to be arranged between Nov 10-11.


The winner for the best pitch will be determined by “Peoples Choice.”  Attendees, after hearing all pitches, will vote on their choice of the presentation having the best prospects for becoming a successful business.  The winner must claim their award no later than January 1, 2021.  The free two month access to Novel’s private office space must start not later than May 1, 2021.


Your Name (required)

Your Title (required)

Company Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Phone (required)

Your Website

Company Summary (250 word maximum)

Logo (1mb maximum, gif, png, jpg, jpeg)


For background see below  information showing  the companies selected to present at the August 13 Pitch & rePlay during the Badger Startup Summit

Boosted Chews,  Kit Chow, Co-founder

Company Summary

Boosted Chews aims to boost your day with bite-sized caffeinated chocolate chews. The company is a minority owned, UW student-run startup that is focused on providing caffeine in a useful and convenient format while being delicious to eat any time of the day. Each chew is 30 mg of caffeine, which is one-third of a cup of coffee, and are designed to be affordable, portable, and caffeine controllable.





GLW Technologies, Nick shepherd, CEO

Company Summary

We are a 3DP printing design, research, and service firm. We focus on working with small businesses and entrepreneurs in launching their ideas through 3DPrinting. Printing in 130 materials and 20 active printers we can do one off prototypes to short run manufacturing. We also spend time on innovating the range and scope of 3DP applications offer them to customers and clients through collaboration, licensing, and use.



IVO Systems, LLC   Eric Christiensen, Co-Founder

Company Summary
IVO Systems is a B2B SaaS company formed in October 2019 by Howard (Bob) Lien III and Eric Christensen with 9 customers on yearly subscriptions for our web-based construction operations software. We are currently the only full-time employees of the company in addition to two part-time UW-Madison (DECA member) student interns. We have plans to hire more interns/staff for lead generation and marketing in 2020. We have not raised any funding at this stage and have been funding the company through early sales. We are currently refining our pricing and sales model to understand market and provide a specific plan to raise money, as needed in the future.

IVO provides easy-to-use and mobile friendly software for organizations to track extensive construction equipment, tools inventory and multiple project locations in one platform. Leveraging the work history and contacts of both founders, we have chosen to focus our sales efforts initially on the heavy civil (roads, bridges, landscaping) construction market. Our deep understanding of the challenges facing the industry allows us to quickly and credibly demonstrate how IVO’s software improves construction operations and profits. Based on our depth of industry knowledge and ongoing relationships with industry professionals, we have developed a better software solution to manage construction equipment and personnel than currently exists in the marketplace.

Our customers are constantly dealing with an information gap between the field and office for managing their operation and equipment. We help by providing processes and a single source of truth for dealing with their biggest pain points which include (1) tracking equipment, (2) dispatching/moving equipment between projects, (3) equipment preventative maintenance, (4) scheduling field crews and (5) aggregating and turning GPS/Telematics data into actionable information.


NANO RED, Jonathan Ebben, CEO

Company Summary
NANO RED is building the future of precision-delivered medicines to deliver better outcomes for cancer patients. Using an NCI-developed technology, we leverage the power of photoactivated liposomes to specifically deliver potent immunomodulators directly to tumors. In practice, a patient receives an IV injection of our lead, NR-01. A physician then illuminates the area to be targeted directly in the patient’s tumor, triggering specific release of agents designed to turn on the patient’s immune system, while also directly killing tumor, with fewer systemic side effects. We provide significant competitive advantages, representing a unique means that allows a physician to release therapy where it is needed at precisely the right time. This technology adds value to the single biggest focus in oncology care- making existing immunotherapies work better. This enables partnership with existing pharmaceutical companies to accelerate market access. Our core technology could also revolutionize delivery of agents for chronic wound healing, as well as new ocular therapeutics–the benefit of our platform technology allows us to focus our development while using alternate revenue streams to de-risk development and build a substantive pipeline with both healthcare and non-healthcare applications.

We have demonstrated robust proof-of-concept in a mouse model of aggressive triple negative breast cancer, showing a greater than 80% tumor response. NANO RED was recently recognized as one of Nature’s “Spin-Offs to Watch”, as well as being a winner in the National Cancer Institute’s Nanotechnology in Cancer Startup Challenge, as well as the life sciences category winner in the WI Governor’s Business plan competition (2017).



TagPHOTO,  Tara Gimmer, Founder

taragimmer.com (under construction), taragimmerheadshots.com

Company Summary
tagPHOTO – mobile photo studios in custom Airstream trailers.

tagPHOTO mobile photo studios offer expert, professional headshots taken in our innovative mobile studio at strategic, convenient locations. We serve individual job seekers, business organizations, conferences and economic and workforce development agencies to help individuals best represent their personal brand with a high quality, professional business headshot. Not only do we come to you, but our sleek, modern rolling studio provides a clean, relaxed environment so that photo sessions are efficient, stress free, safe and fun!

The need for a strong online presence has never been more apparent. Today, we do business with people across town, across the country and around the world – many of whom we may never meet in person. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly accelerated the need for positive virtual impressions and connections whether it be in conducting business, finding new customers or searching for new employment opportunities.

A professional headshot session with tagPHOTO is safe, easy and FUN! Tara’s email: tara@taragimmer.com

The Virtual Pitch & rePlay Comes to Milwaukee November 12, 2020 3:30 – 5:00 pm

Registration for attendees is open  – Act now

As this is a virtual event there is no registration fee but space is limited.  Pitches take place in ‘rooms’ to optimize exchange and discussion only possible in a small group setting.


As Nov. 12 approaches…

We will send all attendees the Zoom link to access the event.

To apply to pitch scroll down…

Use the application form on this page. Deadline is Midnight Nov. 6

And for the winner…

The winning pitch gets two free months of private office space courtesy of Novel Coworking


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