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Innovation finds a better mouse trap with BizStarts Milwaukee


Innovation finds a better mouse trap with BizStarts Milwaukee

Don’t miss the’s interview with Dan Steininger, President & Co-founder of BizStarts. Read his reflections of BizStarts’ beginnings, objectives and successes as he notes “We’re agnostic. We’ll play with anyone.” It’s the story of BizStarts’ leadership in the growth strategy for the M7 region. Read the article here 


Next WIN-Milwaukee Lunch on July 12 focuses on the JOBS Act  


The Wisconsin Innovation Network’s next Milwaukee lunch, held in cooperation with BizStarts, will focus on what’s really in the JOBS Act. It takes place at the Crowne Plaza on July 12th; find out more and register here!


Save the Date: Next Inspirational Entrepreneur event is August 7th

Make sure you join BizStarts Milwaukee and over 150 of your closest friends in the entrepreneurial space on Tuesday, August 7th at We Energies, when we celebrate and hear from Inspirational Entrepreneur Jeff Rusinow. There may be State Fair treats there, too. Watch your e-mail and for full details!


It’s been a busy month for innovation and entrepreneurs! 

The 10th Annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference and Governor’s Business Plan Competition was held at the Pfister Hotel on June 5 and 6, a premier networking and educational event. It was a great success, attended by over 400 people. Our track was “Let’s Get Bizzy: How to Work With BizStarts”, and we thank the attendees, including several from companies we’re working with now to help move them toward launch.

In the Governor’s Business Plan Competition, finalists included NexVexNexVex Home Services Exchange, Collegiate Business Plan Competition winner Scanalytics, and the competition winner, RoWheels.

HandsOnGarageCOMMON Pitch Milwaukee
was held on June 7 at the Turner Ballroom and featured 10 startups. One finalist presenting was Gary Miller, President & Founder of Hands-On Garage, which BizStarts helped launch. Their motto is “We Help You Help Yourself, Full Service or Self Service” He says “40% of water pollution is caused by improper disposal of used engine oil.” Hands-On Garage was founded to help reduce the environmental problem and it can handle all your automotive repair and maintenance car needs.

Congratulations to Betsy Rowbottom of The Good Jobs! She
goodjobsreceived the $1,500 First Prize at the Startup Wisconsin Speed Pitch Competition. An affiliate of the Startup America partnership, its focus is to support entrepreneurship to create a lasting ecosystem, which will support all phases of the startup life cycle. The event was sponsored by Michael Best & Friedrich. The Good Jobs: “jobs that reflect your life/work balance”. 


May Pitch Preview Review

Pitch Preview gives our entrepreneurs opportunities to learn and practice. Presenting the concepts and philosophies of their companies, up-coming plans for launch and investment, their visions for success, they receive feedback from volunteer mentors and seasoned businesspeople. Some of these companies are so far along, they’ve resulted in the start of investment talks. Pitch Preview is considered one of the last pieces of the puzzle before a company is considered “investment ready”, and one of the favorite pieces of Venture Track for entrepreneurs, investors, and staff.


Our May 23 Pitch Preview companies were:

  • SpeechTails: a self-directed online, web-based speech therapy and learning system providing speech assessment to every school age child at no cost.  
  • One Event Technologies: internet-enabled detectors that stream live temperature and smoke
    OneEventTechnologies  data to software that analyzes it for more accurate responses to bring new technology to fire detection.  
  • Strong Microbials: produces private label and custom microbial
    StrongProducts products: direct fed microbials, silage inoculants, waste treatment products and environmental products.

Want to find out more about these start-ups? Contact Venture Track Director


Venture Track adding more mentors

From BizStarts Venture Track Director Todd Sobotka


I have stated many times since joining BizStarts almost 8 weeks ago
ToddSobotka that I have been pleasantly surprised by the quality, quantity, and diversity of businesses in the pipeline and those currently knocking on the door.

With this continued success, we need to further develop our supply of mentors and coaches to work with entrepreneurs and help drive their high-growth opportunities forward. If you are a successful entrepreneur or business professional, we could use your help.

Additionally, if you have an area of expertise that could be uniquely useful–law, finance, fundraising, etc. or familiarity with a certain market, industry, or dynamic technology, you’d be surprised at how much value you can add, the fun you will have, and the excitement you will see in the developing entrepreneural ecosystem of the region.

Interested in taking part? Contact Todd at 414-331-8633


FastPitch Competitons ready for sponsors, judges, volunteers, and participants 

Pitch competitions continue to heat up… FastPitch is coming to two locations in and near the region. So what is it all about? With FastPitch, entrepreneurs have three minutes to pitch their business or business concepts to a group of judges from the business and investment community. Hear creative and interesting concepts from people who will showcase those ideas and learn what it takes to advance them.fastpitch_logo
Two FastPitch competitions are coming up in August that combine the efforts Kenosha and Racine counties, and Rock and Walworth counties. Contestants may participate in more than one competition but are only eligible to win one prize. The competition will culminate with a World Series event to be held in Fall, 2012.


Passionate entrepreneurs in all phases of business (including startup, pre-startup, or idea stages) are invited. High school and college students are eligible to compete for student prizes.
Participants are eligible to win startup funds and other prizes, but the true value of the competition lies in the invaluable feedback, experience, and exposure to be gained. The best pitch will receive up to $5,000 in startup funds. The best student pitch will receive up to $2,500 in startup funds.
Rock and Walworth counties (Wisconsin): August 8, 2012
Kenosha and Racine counties (Wisconsin): August 29, 2012

Get more details here or by calling (262) 898-7404.


BizStarts mourns the loss of Ken Krolski

It is with a heavy heart we report that Ken Krolski, the original webmaster for BizStarts, passed away on June 9th. Ken played a huge role in the launch of BizStarts and in making our website one of the most complete online resources entrepreneurs have in our region.

“Several years ago I got a interesting call from Ken because he was passionate about entrepreneurship,” said BizStarts President and Co-founder Dan Steininger. “He wanted to know why large companies would not create a seed fund to get companies started. He even started an entity on his own to do just that. When I found out he was an engineer who self-taught himself computer skills, I knew right away we had to have him. He labored tirelessly to build our website and then gave it great credibility by serving as our first webmaster. He became a great personal friend. He was always upbeat with an inquiring mind. We should have more like him in this world!

I know his love and passion for our mission continues from heaven above, where he must surely be as a reward for helping to launch BizStarts.”

He will be greatly missed.


Featured Startup: Touch-A-Prize “Turns Fans into Fanatics”  TouchAPrize

According to entrepreneur Bob Kames, the company began with two premises: Games are fun, and people like to win money.

Interactive Marketing Promotions has developed Touch-A-Prizeô an online/onsite game software platform creating interactive promotions that result in capturing consumer data and target marketing information while increasing recurring customer visits. Their unique system increases traffic to a web site while at the same time drives traffic to any onsite promotion.

Bob Kames Jr. the president of the company stated ” We have a simple philosophy in converting fans to fanatics or prospects into customers. We call it “RIEIR”
1. Reach out
2. Inform
3. Engage
4. Interact
5. Reward

Their goals are to enhance a clients existing database, build a completely new client or fan database and manage it for them, all while increasing traffic to both their web site and place of business by rewarding the consumer with incentives, merchandise and a chance for the big cash prizes.”

With rollout support from Motor Trend magazine, Auto Shows of North America (ASNA) and their members for the CarIWant promotion, this business model of interactive promotions, lead generation and advertising opportunities is ready for the automotive vertical market place of auto dealers, venue-based events like auto shows and sporting events.

Visit  to see the Touch-A-Prizeô line of interactive products to see the “Car I Want” auto show promotion in action.


Other great uses of your reading time…

“Skills Every Startup Team Needs” by Rieva Lesonsky

Quote of the Month:

“If necessity is the mother of invention, discontent is the father of progress.” David Rockefeller


Mark Your Calendars


June 28, 9am – 5pm: Fast Forward Business to Business Expo.
July 12, 11:30am-1:30pm Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN) Luncheon, The Crown Plaza, Wauwatosa “What’s Really in the Federal JOBS Act?” Registration
July 17, 6pm – 9pm, Featured class: “First Steps To starting a Business” UW-Milwaukee, Small Business Development Center, $29 Learn the most important elements to starting a business and how to avoid common mistakes. Get your questions answered, discuss concerns and network with other new entrepreneurs. Begin working on your business concept in class and leave with a wealth of information and resources. Details 


August 7, 4:30pm – 6:30pm: Inspirational Entrepreneur Event. We will honor Jeff Rusinow, at the We Energies Auditorium, 231 West Michigan Avenue, Milwaukee. Learn from his wisdom and viewpoints on success as entrepreneur and as an investor.


Fast Pitch Pitch your three minute idea and walk away with $5,000! In three minutes entrepreneurs pitch their business or business concepts to a group of judges from the business and investment community. Hear creative and interesting concepts from people who will showcase those ideas and learn what it takes to advance them.


August 8, 5:30pm: Rock/Walworth Counties, Blackhawk Technical College, Janesville FastPitch Competition. Details


August 29, 5:30pm: Racine/Kenosha Counties, Gateways Integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology (iMET) Center, Sturtevant FastPitch Competition. Details August 9: Hear from UWM’s Chancellor Lovell on UWM and the innovation economy More details to follow 

October 19, “Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour” Details to follow

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