Summit uses tools like ‘speed dating’ to help start-ups build connections

By Tom Still, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

tech_summit_logoMike Flanagan is no stranger to business. He’s a financial consultant in Onalaska, just north of La Crosse, and president of Functional Biosciences, a DNA sequencing company based in Madison’s University Research Park.

Even experienced dogs can learn new tricks, however. When Flanagan attended the first Wisconsin Tech Summit, he got advice from major companies that changed the growth prospects for his emerging biotechnology firm.

Flanagan’s 15-minute “speed dates” at the 2014 Tech Summit, to be held again April 25 in Waukesha, persuaded him to apply for a regulatory clearance portrayed as essential for doing business with larger laboratories and pharmaceutical companies that handle human specimens.

“During the Tech Summit, we received confirmation that pursuing (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) certification was the correct direction for us to take,” Flanagan recalled.

“The decision to continue our path to CLIA certification materialized after two pivotal meetings. We left the Tech Summit with a renewed sense of purpose …”

That regulatory path was neither quick nor inexpensive, but it’s now completed. Flanagan thinks the CLIA stamp of approval will help Functional Biosciences grow — perhaps with the help of the very companies that gave him the advice.

That story is just one example of how the upcoming Tech Summit at Waukesha’s GE Healthcare Institute connects major companies with young firms from across Wisconsin.

Emerging companies may apply through Tuesday at www.wistechsummit.comto participate in the third annual summit, a daylong event that puts them in front of major companies that often do business in similar sectors. Read more …

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