Sep 18, 201812:17 PMInside Wisconsin
with Tom Still
Young companies from many sectors have opportunities to woo investors
(page 1 of 2)
Known to many I-94 travelers as the exit with an outlet mall, the Wisconsin village of Johnson Creek will take on a different identity this fall when the first “AgTech Venture Day” draws a mix of investors and young companies to town.
The Oct. 2 pitch event will feature 15 companies — from as far afield as Israel, Germany, and British Columbia, Canada, and as close as Middleton, Viroqua, and Madison — with technologies that could change how crops are grown, how livestock is raised, and how natural resources are sustained.
Investors from the Midwest and beyond will gather to hear each company’s story and to consider investments somewhere down the line. The event has the backing of investors such as Milwaukee’s Golden Angels, 4490 Ventures, the State of Wisconsin Investment Board, Open Prairie, organizations such as the Wisconsin Technology Council, and private sponsors.
In a state and region where agriculture is an economic staple, the right investors want to see technologies that can advance precision agriculture, use of drones, crop rotation, robotics, and animal health monitoring, to name a few.
The AgTech Venture Day is one specialized example of how young companies and innovators can get their ideas in front of investors who can help turn it into reality. Another upcoming event, with a track record of success that span decades, is the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium.
Set for Nov. 7–8 at Madison’s Monona Terrace Convention Center, the Early Stage Symposium has introduced up-and-coming companies to prospective investors and contributed to Wisconsin’s high-growth economy over time.
This year’s event will again provide platforms for emerging companies across a wide range of sectors to pitch their ideas and business plans. Those 40 or so companies will range from firms that have raised angel or venture capital in the past to first-time presenters with little more than a compelling idea.
Over time, about 600 companies have pitched at the event, and the list includes its share of success stories.
Past presenters include Promega (then called Promega Biotec), TomoTherapy (now Accuray), Virent, Mirus Corp., Sonic Foundry, Prodesse, NimbleGen, Nerites, Idle Free Systems, Third Wave Technologies, Stratatech, PanVera, Soft Switching Technologies, Invenra, MobCraft Beer, OnKol, HealthMyne, and many more.