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BizStarts Investor Forum: where the rubber meets the road

BizStarts Investor Forum: where the rubber meets the road

As you likely know, we’re all about getting companies started. A huge catalyst (pun intended) for that is bringing in accredited investors to meet and hear from selected Venture Track companies deemed ready for serious funding in our BizStarts Investor Forum.

Michael Best

Our most recent Investor Forum was held at sponsor Michael Best & Friedrich, and featured three companies: Dossette, LLC, a packaging firm using patented centrifugal filling technology; MedTrak, a hospital transport system that dramatically reduces the complexity of patient surgeries and imaging; and MCT, a revolutionary digital cutting company specializing in quality complimentary consumables.
Find out more about each of these companies on our Investor Forum page.

biz_007BizStarts Collegiate Business Plan Competition April 24th: plans being accepted now as up-and-coming student start-ups compete for cash and glory

BizStarts’ 4th annual Collegiate Business Plan Competition, sponsored by Mason Wells, is set for Wednesday, April 24th. It will take place from 4:30-6:30pm at the Todd Wehr Conference Center on the MSOE (Milwaukee School of Engineering) campus.
We’ll find out about the Milwaukee Institute, discover what last year’s winner Scanalytics has been up to (hint: a lot!) and award over $15,000 in cash prizes to our finalists, furnished by Mason Wells. Plenty of great opportunities to network with students, service providers, mentors, investors and more will be available, along with free appetizers and cash bar. The event is free, but you must register.
STUDENTS: you still have time to submit your plans; the due date is April 10th. Find out the details here!


BizStarts expansion brings in more entrepreneurs, provides connections and education on Lean Startup Methodology

More entrepreneurs are coming to BizStarts than ever!  We’ve expanded our services to provide all who come to us with the opportunity to attend our new “Intake Sessions” (yes, we may rename them.)

These sessions give all entrepreneurs, no matter what kind of business they’re starting:

  • 20130308_153958_200
    Venture Track Director Todd Sobotka runs through the Business Model Canvas.

    Networking with other entrepreneurs

  • Opportunties to meet and hear from representatives from important service fields, including law, accounting, banking, insurance, and more
  • Education on the Lean Startup Methodology, 20130308_163136_200complete with a Business Model Canvas to complete as they assess their model and validate customers.
  • Follow-up from BizStarts staff to determine if they would be best served by the Venture Track program, or if another organization (WWBIC, VETransfer, SCORE, Gener8tor, local SBAs or SBDCs, for example) would better fit their needs. In that case, we make the direct referral.

To find out more or attend the next Intake Session (they are held monthly), please go to and click on the “Begin BizStarts” button. Fill out the information, and you’ll be all set!

Andy Nunemaker honored as Inspirational Entrepreneur

AndyNunemaker Over 100 attendees packed the University Club on March 14th to her from and honor Andy Nunemaker as BizStarts’ latest recipient of our George Dalton “Inspirational Entrepreneur” award. Mr. Nunemaker, already successful from the sale of previous startup EMSystems, is currently CEO of Dynamis Inc., a leading provider of health insurance plan optimization.

Andy’s presentation consisted primarily of a lively Q&A session that engaged the audience on topics from his entrepreneurial experiences, from setbacks to successes, and the state of entrepreneurship in general in Milwaukee and Wisconsin.

We were also pleased to have in attendance the Government of Ireland’s Minister of Social Protection Joan Burton, who addressed the audience. We anticipate her return to Milwaukee for Irish Fest. Seriously… we talked about it there.

Startups in the News: launches, coverage, and prizes for Cleverhouse, The Good Jobs, 3D Creations, and more

ClevehouseGamesToys  Do you like strategy games like chess, with a twist? Cleverhouse Toys & Games may have just the right board games and smart phone apps for you with Chess King, their flagship product!  Check out the story and progress of this Venture Track company in this Journal Sentinel article from Kathleen Gallagher titled “For ex-con, new gaming company has serious message.”

Congratulations to Anne Nimke and Betsy Rowbottom, founders of The Good Jobs, which formally launched March 20th with a party at Gener8tor. The Good Jobs went through the full Gener8tor program, receiving guidance, connectiogoodjobsns, clients, and investment along the way. Here’s more about The Good Jobs from the Business Journal.

3DCreations Also, congrats to Jesse DiPinto and his team at 3D Creations for winning the New Venture Business Plan Competition at UW-Milwaukee’s Lubar School of Business earlier this month. 3D Creations, a 3D printing and prototyping startup, received $7,500 as the grand prize.

BizStarts welcomes new sponsors, continuing support from foundations


BizStarts welcomes new sponsors Ellenbecker Investment Group and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation. We would also like to acknowledge and thank the Richard & Ethel Herzfeld Foundation for their new $40,000 grant to BizStarts to help with our Venture Track programming efforts. All of our new and continuing sponsors are long the right side of this Catalyst, be sure to thank them for their support of BizStarts and entrepreneurship!

Ellenbecker Investment Group wedc   HerzfeldFoundation

Other good, topical reads

Great editorial piece from JS on March 25th, regarding state support for entrepreneurs “Legislature should establish a fund for venture capital”:

The GMC is working its new initiative, ScaleUP Milwaukee, designed to align resources and the area’s increasingly robust entrepreneurial ecosystem. BizStarts welcomes the support, especially with Mayor Barrett and Governor Walker announcing joint involvement! “Walker, Barrett to announce initiative to boost Milwaukee entrepreneurs”

Angel fund geared toward young firms starts with $5 million                                     

A new angel fund – the first to focus on very young companies in southeastern Wisconsin – has launched with more than $5 million to invest.

Organizers of the Wisconsin Super Angel Fund raised money from more than 40 investors, including three foundations and an insurance company, said John Torinus Jr., a general partner and chairman of Serigraph Inc. in West Bend. Wisconsin Energy Foundation is among the investors, Torinus said.

Read full article here.

Act 255/QNBV approved for NexVex, Easenet United Community LLC, and SpanDeX

NexVex Congrats to Venture Track company NexVex, along with Easenet, United Community LLC, and SpanDeX for getting certified for investor tax credits!

Mark Your Calendars


April 3, 5:00pm – 9:00pm: Marketing Madness Networking Event WCTC Richard T. Anderson Education Center, 800 Main Street, Pewaukee, WI 53072  Event Fee: $35  Registration deadline April 1, at 12 p.m.  For information on their spring classes, call (262) 695-3468.

April 16, 9:00am-11:00am: Webinar – NIH SBIR/STTR Funding and Reauthorization Information Featuring NIH SBIR/STTR Program Coordinator, Matt Portnoy, PHD. Register

April 24, 7:30am – 9:00am: Investment Management for Small Business; owners/employees SC Johnson iMET Auditorium, 2320 Renaissance Blvd, Sturtevant, WI 53177 Register Here


April 24, 4:00-6:30pm: BizStarts’ Collegiate Business Plan Competition Competition Information

May 7, 6:00-8:00pm: Introduction to the SBIR/STTR Federal Grants Program, Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street, Madison, WI 53706 Register

May 9, 6:00-8:00pm: Preparing to Write an SBIR/STTR Federal Research Grant, Pyle Center, 702 Langdon Street, Madison, WI 53706 Register

June 4-5: Entrepreneur’s Conference, Middleton, WI More Info

June 1-10: “Flying Car”, Milwaukee’s Innovation Week  Details

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