WARF Entrepreneurons Series

The series to take if taking an idea to market is on your mind.

Entrepreneurons Past Events

Our archive of past events includes information on Entrepreneurons speakers as well as downloadable slides from some of the keynote presentations. Visit our video archive to watch any sessions you may have missed.

Fall 2017 Events

Spring 2017 Events

Fall 2016 Events

Spring 2016 Events

Fall 2015 Events

Spring 2015 Events

Fall 2014 Events

Spring 2014 Events

Fall 2013 Events

Fall 2017
Tuesday, October 3

WARF's plans for advancing innovation and entrepreneurship:
What it means for campus and Wisconsin
Keynote & Moderator:
Erik Iverson, WARF

Rock Mackie, UW–Madison & Association of Campus Entrepreneurs (ACE)
Tom Still, Wisconsin Technology Council
John Neis, Venture Investors

Wednesday, November 8

Building bridges to launch: Connecting campus innovators to their next steps
Keynote & Moderator:
Mike Wagner, WARF

Scott Resnick, StartingBlock
Todd Sobotka, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation
Maggie Brickerman, gener8tor

Tuesday, December 12

D2P 2.0: UW–Madison's entrepreneurship focus
Keynote & Moderator:
Andy Richards, D2P and Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Education

Carla Pugh, UW School of Medicine and Public Health
Shawn Michels, UW–Madison
Mark Lange, UW-Extension Division for Business and Entrepreneurship
Spring 2017
Wednesday, February 22
Things that surprise founders
Paul Temple, AlphaTech Counsel

Mary Jo Gordon, Gordon & Associates
Shawn Guse
, Intuitive Biosciences
Shobhan Thakkar, HealthX Ventures
Andy Walker, Rock River Capital Partners

Monday, April 24
Talking Tech:
How to use communications to make and break an idea
Frank Gruber, co-founder, CEO and executive editor, Tech.Co

Tara Golshan, journalist, Vox
Kathleen Gallagher
, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of One in a Billion

Fall 2016
Thursday, October 6

Safe, effective and well thought out: Product liability and avoiding unexpected pitfalls
Jordan Eisenberg, entrepreneur

Lars Gulbrandsen, Quarles & Brady LLP
Catherine Faught Pollard, Quarles & Brady LLP
Ryan Polkowski, Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Joan T. Schmit, UW–Madison

Monday, December 5

Is venture capital funding right for me? Early stage financing alternatives
Paul Jones, Venture Best

Henry Schwartz, MobCraft Beer
Lorrie Keating Heinemann, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation
Stephen Dinehart, Moola Pitch 
Todd Strother, Center for Technology Commercialization
Spring 2016
Thursday, January 21

Mergers & acquisitions: Why do some companies choose to stay in Wisconsin?
Nicholas Caruccio, general manager, Epicentre (an Illumina company)
Kaz Hirao, CEO, CDI (a Fujifilm company)
Andrew Kirkpatrick, senior vice president of global operations and corporate development, Accuray
Scott Johnson, vice president of assay research & development, Luminex Corporation

Moderator and Discussion Leader:
Lisa Johnson, CEO, BioForward

Wednesday, February 17

Why choose Wisconsin for your business?
Scott Resnick, executive director, StartingBlock Madison
Alex Kubicek, founder and CEO, Understory
Jillana Peterson, corporate social responsibility, Zendesk
Kevin Barrett, senior vice president for strategic business development, Gilson

Moderator and Discussion Leader:
Lisa Johnson, CEO, BioForward

Wednesday, April 27

Social entrepreneurship: Can you do well by doing good? 
Ibrahim AlHusseini, FullCycle Energy Fund

Mark Richardson, GigBlender
Amelia Baxter, Whole Trees
Neil Peters-Michaud, Cascade Asset Management
George Hofheimer, Filene Research Institute
Nathan Clarke, Mad Urban Bees 

Maurice Cheeks, MIOsoft Corporation & City of Madison

Monday, May 9
Success is seldom a straight line: Startup stories of pivots and failures
Mark McGuire, American Family Ventures

Rimas Buinevicius, Rowheels
Laurie Benson, LSB Unlimited
Emile Nuwaysir, CDI/Fujifilm
Mark Zager, Silatronix

Craig Heim, WARF

Fall 2015
Monday, October 12

The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem at UW–Madison: Everything you need to chart your path Panel:
John Biondi, Discovery to Product (D2P)
Anne Smith, Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic
Mike Williams, Business Clinic
Dan Olszewski, Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
Leigh Cagan, WARF
Elias Meyer-Grimberg, Student Business Incubator
Friday, October 23
The synergy of art and technology in entrepreneurship Keynote:
Toni Sikes, CEO, CODAworx

Lisa Frank, artist
Eric Spray, senior concept artist, Raven Software
Rock Mackie, serial entrepreneur and emeritus professor, UW–Madison

Stephanie Jutt, professor of music,UW–Madison

Wednesday, November 11
Accelerators and Incubators – Models from around the country and across town Panel:
Mat Falkowski, IndieBio
Scott Resnick, StartingBlock
Elizabeth Thelen, The BREW
David Schubert, Accelerator Corp.

Bob Buderi, Xconomy

Wednesday, December 2

Constructive Counsel: Choosing and working with the right lawyer for your startup
John Neis, managing director, Venture Investors of Wisconsin
Shawn Guse, CEO, Intuitive Biosciences
Greg Lynch, partner, Michael, Best & Friedrich

Stephanie Adamany, deputy general counsel, WARF

Spring 2015
Tuesday, January 27
Building your networks Keynote and Moderator:
Spencer X. Smith, business consultant, Spencer X. Smith Consulting

Chris Rudolph, business coach, American Family Dream Bank
Cathy Yerges, social engagement strategist, BG3
Evan Wing, assistant vice president, market manager, Park Bank - Madison
Thursday, February 26

Market research: Learn about your markets early and often Keynote:
Oliver Richards, vice president, The Beacon Group

Ann MacPhetridge, senior global commercialization marketing manager, Promega
Kevin Micklitz, partner, Sunseed Research LLC

Dan Olszewski, director, Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship, UW–Madison School of Business
Tuesday, April 7

Competitive Intelligence: How to gain a strategic advantage by studying your competition Keynote:
Harry Gwinnell, counsel, Greenblum & Bernstein P.L.C.

Scott Piering, vice president and chief intellectual property counsel, Spectrum Brands
Kate Toews, engagement manager, McKinsey & Company
Steven Andrzejewski, patent and market analyst, WARF

Brian Jelinek, student, UW–Madison Law School
Wednesday, April 22
Business Plans: Dead or alive? Keynote:
Peter N. Townshend, partner, Perkins Coie LLP

Joe Kirgues, co-founder, gener8tor
Eric Steege, innovation consultant, American Family Insurance
Michelle Somes-Booher, business consultant, Small Business Development Center
Suman Banerjee, professor, UW–Madison computer sciences department

Terry Grosenheider, wealth management advisor, The Private Client Reserve of U.S. Bank N.A.
Fall 2014
Date Topic Speakers
Monday, October 6

How do I know if I should start a company? Keynote:
Fred T. Lee, professor of radiology and biomedical engineering, UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, and founding member of Cellectar Inc., NeuWave Medical Inc. and Elucent Medical LLC

John Biondi, director, UW–Madison Discovery to Product (D2P) Program
Leigh Cagan, chief technology commercialization officer, WARF
Anne Smith, co-director, UW–Madison Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic

Jeff Engel, Wisconsin editor, Xconomy
Monday, October 13

Academic entrepreneurship: Notes from the trenches Keynote:
Daniel van der Weide, professor, UW–Madison College of Engineering, and co-founder of Tera-X LLC, NeuWave Medical Inc. and Elucent Medical LLC

Max Lagally, professor, UW–Madison College of Engineering, and founder of nPoint Inc. and SonoPlot Inc.
Douglas McNeel, professor, UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, and co-founder of Madison Vaccines Inc.
Timothy Shedd, professor, UW–Madison College of Engineering, and co-founder of Ebullient LLC
Jamey Weichert, professor, UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, and co-founder of Cellectar Biosciences Inc.

T. Rock Mackie, professor emeritus, UW–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health and College of Engineering, and co-founder of TomoTherapy Inc.
Thursday, October 23
The importance of intellectual property: What is it, how do you protect it and how do you capture its value? Keynote:
Earl "Eb" Bright, executive vice president and general counsel, ExploraMed

Heather Gerard, intellectual property manager, Promega Corporation
Scott Piering, vice president and chief intellectual property counsel, Spectrum Brands

Michael Falk, general counsel, WARF
Thursday, November 6
Anatomy of a deal Keynote and Moderator:
Greg Robinson, managing director, 4490 Ventures

Mark Gehring, co-founder and president, Propeller Health
Paul Radspinner, co-founder, president and CEO, FluGen
Justin Beck, co-founder and CEO, PerBlue
Monday, November 24

The art and science of the perfect elevator pitch Keynote and Moderator:
William Dougan, professor of management, College of Business and Economics, UW-Whitewater

Laurie Benson, CEO and board director, LSB Unlimited
Scott Button, managing director, Venture Investors of Wisconsin
Joe Kremer, CEO, Isomark
Thursday, December 4

Early stage financing Keynote and Moderator:
John Philosophos, partner, Great Oaks Venture Capital

Justin Reed, president and CEO, C-Motive Technologies
Fred Robertson, operating partner, Baird Capital
Laura Strong, president and COO, Quintessence Biosciences
Spring 2014
Date Topic Speakers

Monday, January 27

Download Bryan Jurewicz's slides

Customer acquisition and development

Keynote: Bryan Jurewicz, CEO advisor, LeanTech Group

Matt Younkle, CEO, Murfie Inc.; inventor and serial entrepreneur
Fred Robertson, MD, operating partner with Baird Capital; assistant professor, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; former CEO, Tomotherapy Inc.
JoAnne Robbins, professor, UW School of Medicine and Public Health; founder, Swallow Solutions LLC

Michael Enyart, director, Business Library, UW–Madison School of Business

Wednesday, February 5

Download Luella Schmidt's slides

Startup accounting and taxes

Keynote: Luella Schmidt, owner, Fine Point Consulting

Danny Andersen, director and CPA, Baker Tilly
Mark Zager, CEO, Silatronix Inc 
Stacie Laplante, assistant professor - accounting & information systems, UW–Madison School of Business

Michael Williams, faculty associate - management & human resources, UW–Madison School of Business

Monday, February 10

Download Rich Schifreen's slides

Valley of death: Surviving the journey from idea to product

Keynote: Richard Schifreen, Accelerator Program manager, WARF

Robert J. Drape, executive director, WiCell
Derek Hei, director, Waisman Biomanufacturing
Peter Sausen, vice president global safety assessment, Covance Laboratories Inc. 
Terry Sivesind, director, MERLIN Mentors

Tuesday, February 25

Download Sean Jacobsohn's slides

Valuation and financial analysis

Keynote: Sean Jacobsohn, venture partner, Emergence Capital Partners

Terry Sivesind, director, MERLIN Mentors
Chad Raube, president and CEO, Guaranty Services Group
Carrie Thome, director of investments, WARF

Mark Ehrmann, partner, Quarles & Brady

Thursday, March 27

Marketing/PR and communications

Keynote: Marsha Lindsay, CEO, Lindsay, Stone & Briggs

Todd LaBeau, vice president, director of digital marketing, Lindsay, Stone & Briggs
Mike Judge, director, Center for Brand and Product Management, Wisconsin School of Business
Tim Gill, search manager, Shopbop.com/Amazon.com
Chris Parker, vice president and chief commercial officer, Cellular Dynamics International

Wednesday, April 9

Download Paul Jadin's slides

Entrepreneurial ecosystem part I: Unique Madison resources

Keynote: Paul Jadin, executive director, MadRep

Pam Christenson, economic development director, Madison Gas and Electric
Dawn Mortimer, innovation director, American Family Insurance
Todd Strother, consultant, Center for Technology Commercialization (CTC)
Leigh Cagan, chief technology commercialization officer, WARF

Moderator: Zach Brandon, president, Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday, April 22

Download Jon Eckhardt's slides

Entrepreneurial ecosystem part II: Accelerators, incubators, co-working spaces—the view from Silicon Valley and closer to home

Keynote: Jon Eckhardt, Robert Pricer Chair in Enterprise Development and executive director, Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship

Michael Fenchel, co-founder and chairman, 100state
Troy Vosseller, co-founder, gener8tor, Sconnie Nation and Sconnie Beer
Kelda Roys, founder and CEO, OpenHomes

Fall 2013
Date Topic Speakers

Thursday, October 3

Download intro slides

Do you really want to start a company?

Join experienced entrepreneurs and UW–Madison faculty as they discuss their personal experiences in deciding whether, when and how to make the leap to entrepreneurship.

Keynote: Paul Shain, president and CEO, Singlewire Software

Mark Cook, professor of animal sciences
W. John Kao, professor of pharmaceutical sciences
Dan Ludois, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering
Laura Strong, president and COO, Quintessence Biosciences

Tuesday, October 15

Download intro slides

Download IP essentials slides

The importance of intellectual property: Know what is at the core of your value and potential as a company and how to protect it.

Keynote: Stephanie Adamany, WARF associate general counsel

Dave Kettner, vice president of legal affairs, Virent
Matt Messinger, executive director, Wisconsin Center for Education Products & Services
Bill Baxter, senior IP counsel, GE Healthcare
Moderator: Kevin Noonan, partner, McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff

Tuesday, October 22

Download intro slides

Download Brian Wiegand's slides

Building a startup team

Keynote: Brian Wiegand, serial entrepreneur and CEO and co-founder of Jellyfish, Alice.com, NameProtect and BizFilings

Becky Splitt, CEO, StudyBlue
Norman Koo, VP and general manager, AOL
Paul Radspinner, president and CEO, FluGen

Thursday, November 7

Download intro slides

Download Ted Feierstein's slides

Lean startups and business plans

Keynote: Ted Feierstein, partner, LeanTech Group

Rimas Buinevicius, lead member, Madcelerator; CEO, Rowheels
Mark Gehring, president and co-founder, Asthmapolis
Adrian Reif, co-owner, Yumbutter

Wednesday, November 20

*This session is a workshop only.

Lean business model canvas workshop

Neil Lerner, director, Small Business Development Center

Thursday, November 21

Download intro slides

Download Kevin Conroy's slides

Structure and governance

Keynote: Kevin Conroy, president and CEO, Exact Sciences

Lorrie Keating-Heinemann, vice president, Brightstar Wisconsin Foundation
Scott Resnick, vice president, Hardin Design & Development
Paul Wrycha, partner, Foley & Lardner

Moderator: Dan Olszewski, director, Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship

Thursday, December 5

Download intro slides

Download Mark Reinstra's slides

Early stage financing

Keynote: Mark Reinstra, partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich and Rosati

Dan Blake, director, Wisconsin Angel Network
Scott Button, partner, Venture Investors
Toni Sikes, general partner, Calumet Venture Fund
Patricia Struck, administrator, Department of Securities, Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions

Moderator: Joe Kremer, CEO, Isomark