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

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.

Join Milwaukee Startup Week's Email List!

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.

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-3pm
Ward4: 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

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

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.