UW Madison leaders, innovators and partners will join the slate of entrepreneurial events presented during annual Forward Fest

UW Madison leaders, innovators and partners will join the slate of entrepreneurial events presented during annual Forward Fest

UW Innovate NetworkSeveral UW–Madison leaders, innovators and key partners will join the slate of entrepreneurial events presented during the annual, eight-day Forward Fest, Wisconsin’s largest celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Registration is now open for five events to be presented by, or in partnership with, UW-Madison’s Innovate Network, a collective of campus-affiliated organizations that provide entrepreneurial resources to innovators at UW–Madison and statewide.

“Forward Fest is a terrific opportunity for the UW to showcase the incredible range of innovation happening on campus, as well as the resources offered by the Innovate Network to help launch and advance those innovations on campus and by entrepreneurs in the community,” said Andrew Richards, director, UW Discovery to Product (D2P), which administers the Innovate Network. “Attendees of these events will see and hear great examples of how UW–Madison supports startups and entrepreneurs.”

The five virtual events, listed below, include a three-event “Biotech Spotlight” series, which will focus on aspects of startups, tech and innovation within the biotech space. The final event, “Launch, Learn and Pivot: Startup Stories” will present opportunities, challenges and lessons learned from several local entrepreneurs at various stages of growth in their respective businesses.


Biotech Spotlight: Startups, Scaleup and Growth
Friday, August 13, 10:30 am – noon
Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/biotech-spotlight-startups-scaleup-and-growth-tickets-158932885539

Learn about startup, scaleup and growth at leading biotech companies, with panelists Ana Hooker of Exact Sciences, Tom Foti of Aldevron, Carter Cliff of Vascugen, and Cathy Rasmussen of the Forward BIO Institute. These industry leaders, startup veterans and founders can speak to companies at all stages, including how they leveraged UW–Madison-affiliated resources such as University Research Park, technologies, and partnerships. This panel is for biotech entrepreneurs and industry partners, those scaling any kind of tech or manufacturing startup, and those interested in lessons on scaleup and growth from some of Madison’s most innovative companies. Presented by UW–Madison’s Innovate Network and Forward BIO Institute.

Moderator: Aaron Olver, University Research Park
Host: Mary Carbine, D2P


Biotech Spotlight: How AI and Advanced Computing are Driving Innovation in Biohealth
Monday, August 16, 2:45 – 4:15 pm
Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/biotech-spotlight-how-ai-and-advanced-computing-are-driving-innovation-in-tickets-158810788343

Deep learning for healthcare management.  Software modeling of drug activity in the body.  Machine learning-based diagnostics. Increasingly, biotech and healthtech startups are solving problems and building solutions through advanced computing technology and artificial intelligence. Hear from leaders of some of the region’s most innovative startups working in the intersection of biotech and computing—Timothy Perk of AIQ Solutions; Shannon Bruse of Empirico Inc.; Jalal Sulaiman of PROMISS Diagnostics; and Joseph Grudzinski of Voximetry—who built their companies around UW–Madison technologies. This panel is for biotech entrepreneurs who have large datasets to analyze and complex problems to solve, and for software innovators who want to understand more about biotech and healthtech business problems, datasets, and how computing technology can be part of the solution.

Moderator: Bill Murphy, Forward BIO Institute
Host: Jeanine Burmania, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF)


Biotech Spotlight: Forward BIOLABS Virtual Tour & Startup Flash Talks
Tuesday, August 17, 2:30 – 3:30 pm
Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/biotech-spotlight-forward-biolabs-virtual-tour-startup-flash-talks-tickets-158968375691

Forward BIOLABS helps biotech startups move faster, getting started with the right facility and equipment at the right time. Take a look at the co-working lab and hear from some of the game-changing startups working within our community. This panel is for entrepreneurs and industry partners, those starting or scaling any kind of biotech company, and those interested in lessons in innovation, technology de-risking, and early manufacturing from some of Madison’s most innovative companies.

Featured Startups:

  • Cultured Decadence
  • Endsulin
  • Gregor Diagnostics

Moderator: Jessica Martin-Eckerly, Forward BIOLABS


Launch, Learn and Pivot: Madison Startup Stories
Thursday, August 19, 1-2:30 pm
Register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/launch-learn-and-pivot-madison-startup-stories-tickets-159043628775

Every startup has a story, from creating the product or service to finding product-market fit, launching the business, and learning and pivoting along the way.  Hear from founders of innovative Madison startups, each with a unique business model, including Georgia Allen, Co-Founder & CEO, Soaring Independent Cooperative, Kit Chow, co-founder and CEO at Boosted Chews, Ian Oestreich, founder at Curbside Bicycles, and Erin Vranas, founder, Yips Yogurt Chips and co-owner, Parthenon Gyros restaurant.  Each founder utilized UW–Madison and community resources such as the Small Business Development Center, WARF Upstart program, UW-Madison Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, or Merlin Mentors to support their entrepreneurial journey.  This panel is for anyone interested in entrepreneur stories, starting a business, and learning about organizations and programs that can help.

Moderator: Cecily Brose, D2P
Host: Heather Ferguson, Wisconsin Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the UW School of Business


BookMarkIT: Free Tools, Tips & Resources from Your Local Libraries
Thursday, August 12, 10-11:30am
Register: https://centerex.wisconsinsbdc.org/workshop.aspx?ekey=13410032

When taking your business from idea to reality, you’ll likely have a lot of questions that need answered in order to get your business off to a strong start. For example: What do you need to know about patents for the product you’re trying to create? What can local demographics tell you about potential customers? How strong is the industry you’re looking to enter? What should be included in your business plan? Who are potential competitors? Luckily, there are FREE databases, resources, and specialized experts available to help you answer these and many other questions – all found in your local libraries! Want to learn more? Put this session on your Holds List, and “check out” some great resources from your local libraries.


For more information about these events and the UW Innovate Network, visit: https://innovate.wisc.edu/forward-fest