MADISON, Wis. – What’s it like to build a software company from scratch, overcome hurdles along the way and then sell it for $450 million while keeping the bulk of your operations in Wisconsin?

Find out the answers to that question and more Nov. 3 when two of the principals for Paradigm, a Middleton company that sold for $450 million this summer, speak at the annual Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium at Madison’s Monona Terrace Convention Center.

Chief Executive Officer Nathan Herbst and Chief Financial Officer Joel Fields will talk about their entrepreneurial journey during a “fireside”-style conversation with Wisconsin Technology Council President Tom Still to launch the conference around 8:45 a.m.

Paradigm, once known as WTS Paradigm, launched in 1999 and has grown to about 300 employees in Middleton and three satellite offices, providing software and related services to the building industry. It was sold to Builders FirstSource in Dallas.

“This is an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs and leaders of young companies to learn what it takes to start, run and grow a successful company, and to wrap up on a strong note for all concerned,” Still said.

Applications are being accepted through Friday, Oct. 1 from young companies that want to tell their stories to investors during the conference, to be held in person Nov. 3-4 at Madison’s Monona Terrace Convention Center.

Companies that apply for the conference will have up to three chances to meet with angel and venture capitalists, corporate funds, family funds and other investors on hand. The 2021 format includes two pitch opportunities – the Tech Council Investor Networks track (five-minute presentations) and the popular Elevator Pitch Olympics. All registered companies are eligible for “Investor Intros,” which allow pre-selected companies brief, one-on-one meetings with targeted angel and venture investors.

The list thus far: Baird Capital, Bold Coast Capital, BrightStar Wisconsin, Capital Midwest, Golden Angels Investors, Great North Ventures, Hyde Park Ventures, Inventure Capital, Lancaster Investments, M25, Madison Development Corp., Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, Rock River Capital, TASC Ventures, TitletownTech, Tundra Angels, Venture Investors, WARF Ventures, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., WISC Partners, Wisconsin Investment Partners and Ziegler Meditech.

Instructions for how to apply for all or a mix of the investor presentation opportunities can be found at wisearlystage.com on the “ESS Application” tab. General registration is also now open by clicking here!

At least one applicant must register in advance for the conference at a discounted rate of $179. Additional team members may register at the rate of $129. All meals, breaks and reception included. Companies selected for the Tech Council Investor Networks track presentations will also receive a complimentary individual membership to the Tech Council’s Innovation Network for one year (a $120 value) and exhibit space if desired.

The conference will feature many opportunities for young companies to learn:

  • Keynote speakers and targeted panel discussions featuring leading entrepreneurs, investors and others tied to the tech sector making an impact nationwide.
  • The 8th annual “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education” award luncheon.
  • Exhibit hall showcasing more than 40 innovative Wisconsin companies.
  • A Nov. 3 conference reception, two luncheons, two breakfasts and other networking opportunities, including an investors-only dinner.

The Tech Council produces the conference. Sponsors so far include: Aberdean ConsultingAdvanced Materials Industrial ConsortiumAdvocate Aurora HealthAmerican Family InsuranceAmerican Transmission Co.AT&TBaird CapitalBaker Tilly, BDOCity of FitchburgCUNA MutualDedicated ComputingDeWittExact SciencesFindorffFine Point ConsultingFirst Business BankGodfrey & KahnGoogleHealthX VenturesHusch BlackwellIdea Fund of La CrosseKollath CPAKW2M3 InsuranceMadison Development Corp.Madison Gas & ElectricMakin’ Hey CommunicationsMarquette UniversityMarshfield Clinic Health SystemMichael BestMobile22Morgridge Institute for ResearchN29 Capital PartnersNeider & BoucherOne City SchoolsPerkins CoieQuarles & BradyReinhart Boerner Van DeurenRSM USSignature BankState of Wisconsin Investment BoardTASCUniversity Research ParkUWM Research FoundationUW-Madison Computer SciencesVenture InvestorsVersitiWisconsin Alumni Research FoundationWisconsin Economic Development Corp., Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & ProductivityWipfliWEA TrustZendesk and Ziegler.

To learn more about sponsorship information, please reach out to Angela Schlobohm at [email protected].

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