Message from the Team  

I hope our newsletter finds you in excellent health and good spirits. We have had a fantastic semester facilitating the entrepreneurial career aspirations of our students, alumni, and friends.

Highlights from the spring semester so far include:

  • Our entrepreneurship classes—which for most students are electives—are near or full capacity
  • Community experts have been mentoring students weekly from across campus over lunch as part of our new Entrepreneurs in Residence Program
  • The Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic, which didn’t exist a year ago, is launching a website and holding office hours
  • WAVE Students made great progress learning about enterprise development and developing startup ideas
  • Several WAVE Companies are in the Semi-final and Final rounds of the Governor’s Business Plan Contest
  • The G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition has another strong showing with 84 students, 38 majors, and 38 teams participating, and
  • Two WAVE alumni companies secured outside investment.

After the close of the semester, we turn to our summer programming which includes:

  • Our annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp will take place from June 16-20
  • UW Madison is hosting the Midwest Strategy Conference. Professors Coff and Posen are to organizing the conference along with John Surdyk.
  • Counseling clients through the Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic
  • Our Fall fellows welcome event

We are excited to share with you the latest news and accomplishments of our students, faculty, alumni and board members.

On Wisconsin!

The Wisconsin School of Business Entrepreneurship Team


 Center News and Events  

Students Make WAVES in Governor’s Business Plan Content

Mike Hitchcock Cherin Joseph Kiernan McGowan

Three of our current Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship (WAVE) students submitted their company entries in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest with exciting results. Michael Hitchcock and Cherin Joseph of Buyer Active were named semi-finalists in a field that was narrowed down to 52 from 300. Kiernan McGowan of Zero Nine recently moved forward as one of the 24 finalists. We congratulate Michael, Cherin and Kiernan for their entrepreneurial spirit and representing UW-Madison so well in the Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

Wisconsin Fellowship in Enterprise Development Team Wins the First Pitch Competition at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

Thirty teams from across the globe offered solutions to a business problem facing professional sports teams and stadium operators: in many cases, these organizations do not know whether the customer that purchased his/her ticket on the primary market actually attended the game or what that fan bought in the stadium.

The three finalists, Wisconsin, Wharton, and Kellogg, were selected based on their submissions prior to the conference, and then had the opportunity to present their solution in person at the conference to a panel of judges. The Wisconsin School of Business team placed first and included Peter Oppermann (Wisconsin Fellow, OTM ’14), Scott Olson (Wisconsin Fellow, CFIB ’14), and Anuj Dhingra (CFIB ’14). Congratulations!

Dock Technologies Raises Seed Round

Sarah Sandock (WAVE '13) was finishing her MS in biomedical engineering when she partnered with MBA Student Matt Billings (WAVE '13) in the WAVE class to test and develop a commercialization plan for one of her ideas. The feedback was positive, the idea progressed, and Dock Technologies, Inc. was launched with Sarah as the CEO.

Dock Technologies has developed a low-cost timer to dramatically improve the quality and efficiency of patient care. The product will also make the nurses’ jobs easier, and help reduce a source of preventable mistakes that are both costly and potentially life threatening. Interest from hospitals has been strong and they are working with some local sites to field test the prototypes in the near future. In addition, they were awarded $25,000 in grant money from the National Collegiate Innovators and Inventors Alliance (NCIIA). Dock Technologies completed their initial seed round of fundraising with an investment from the Daniel H. Neviaser Entrepreneurship Fund and other angel investors.

More information about the company can be found at

Former WAVE Students Complete Fundraising Round

Recently, C-Motive Technologies Inc. announced they have successfully completed fundraising for their first seed-stage bridge round and raised more than $500,000. The round was led by WARF and included entrepreneurs/angels, as well as the Daniel H. Neviaser Entrepreneurship Fund and James Weinert Applied Ventures Capital Fund.

Dr. Dan Ludois (WAVE ’12), Dr. Micah Erickson (WAVE ’12), and Justin Reed founded C-Motive after graduating from the Wisconsin Electric Machines and Power Electronics Consortium (WEMPEC) within the University of Wisconsin-Madison. All three are also alumni of the Wisconsin Entrepreneurial Bootcamp (WEB) program. C-Motive is dedicated to producing the lightest, most reliable, energy- and cost-efficient electric motors and non-contact power transfer devices on the market.

Recently, the National Science Foundation awarded C-Motive a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research Phase I Grant. The grant will fund work on developing a generator for use in the large wind turbine industry, as well as for broader applications in the global electric machines marketplace.

More information about the company can be found at

Weinert Alum Speaks in Sustainability and Entrepreneurship Community Forum

Todd Muderlak (WAVE '99), Founder of Xela Innovations, spoke in Grainger Hall on Friday, March 14, as part of the Sustainability and Entrepreneurship Community Forum. His talk provided a great overview on his personal entrepreneurial journey and the successes and challenges of running a business. Xela Innovations designs and develops products and is a leader in improving water usage and sustainability.

Dan Reed Added to the WAVE Board

Dan Reed, managing director of American Family Ventures, has graciously accepted our invitation to become a WAVE board member. Dan manages direct investments in early stage companies for American Family Insurance. He has worked as a strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group and in the strategy department at American Family. Dan has experience as a principal in two startup companies and has served as the board president for a state-wide organization providing support for abused children. Additionally, his work history includes hospital administration at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and a career as a professional baseball player with the Baltimore Orioles.

Dan holds an MBA with a concentration in strategic management from the University of Chicago and an undergraduate degree from Stanford University. Welcome, Dan!

Weinert Board Member Selected for Distinguished Alumni Award

Weinert Board Member Laurie Benson was selected by the Wisconsin Alumni Association as one of four alumni honored with the 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award. She received this prestigious award for her professional achievements, contributions to society, and support of the university. Congratulations, Laurie!

Weinert Board Member Included in 40 Under 40: the 2014 Class

Dan Neely, founder/CEO of Networked Insights and Weinert Center board member, was chosen as one of 40 emerging business professionals in the InBusiness yearly 40 Under 40 edition. Congratulations, Dan!

Chuck West

Student Insight: A WAVE of Opportunity
By Peter Oppermann

I love being surrounded by smart people with great ideas. And when those people are willing to offer advice, help you out, and genuinely care about your success, I can't think of anything better. For this reason, the Weinert Applied Ventures in Entrepreneurship (WAVE) class has been my favorite class from the last 2 years.

Class kicked off with pitches from all seven teams. Right away, I could see we had a great range of ideas, from a way to help venues book bands to 3D microscopic imaging and from a better way to shop online to more convenient (and delicious!) whiskey sour and margarita mixers. As we began to dig into the Lean Startup methodology and validating our value proposition, every team started to tweak and refine their ideas to better fit what potential customers were asking for.

My team’s company, Sensori, is building tools to help athletes get better at their sport. Specifically, we’re using a small sensor to track athletic motion and movement and then translating the data we collect into useful information for coaches and athletes. Through WAVE, we’ve learned which potential customer segments would be our best starting point (in our case, it’s the coaches) and where the real opportunity lies long term (parents of young athletes). We’ve also received tons of training and feedback on messaging, product development, managing our team, sales, and even Google AdWords and social media outreach.

The best learning in WAVE happens when outside speakers come in to share their stories and offer advice. So far, we’ve had Laurie Benson share insights on her most important lessons learned as an entrepreneur, Bruce Neviaser speak about his entrepreneurial journey, and Michelle Collins talk about the importance of building a strong board. Chuck West also joined us to talk about practical approaches to sales. Having the chance to absorb some of the knowledge these guests have shared is great—and even better is the chance to apply it in practice to the startups we’re working on in class! I am excited to see what the rest of the semester brings in WAVE. And even more importantly, I am thrilled about the future of Sensori because I feel like I have now established a strong foundation on which to build a successful company. I am looking forward to the pitches at the WAVE Board meeting in May!

Entrepreneur in Residence Program

The Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship kicked off the second semester of our entrepreneur in residence program for business and non-business students across campus. The office hours were advertised to undergraduate and graduate students studying entrepreneurship from across campus, including business school students. Some students were freshmen and sophomores taking their first course with us; other students were quite advanced both in their academic training and business experience.

Our regional entrepreneurs provided the students with advice on whatever issues the students were facing. Students also shared their startup ideas and got a chance to meet others from across campus that also had an interest in entrepreneurship.

We had a different entrepreneur in residence each week through the end of March. We thank Justin Hajny, Adam Braus, Katie Krueger, Chris Hornung, Sarah Sandock, Justin Reed, and Matt Younkle who have participated so far this semester. We have six more entrepreneurs lined up to finish out the semester; they will be featured in the summer edition of our newsletter. If you are interested in participating in the fall semester, please send Lisa Collins an email at

Click here to view selected photos from the Entrepreneurs in Residence Program.

 Upcoming Events  

Mark your calendar! The Weinert Center Reception is on Friday, May 9, 2014, from 5:30-7:00 p.m. in the Grainger Hall Executive Dining Room. Please plan on joining us as we celebrate the accomplishments of the WAVE Class of 2014 and share great conversation and networking!

The 12th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference will be held June 3-4 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. More information about the conference can be found at

 Faculty/Staff News  

Jon Eckhardt, executive director of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship and the Robert Pricer Chair in Enterprise Development, was featured on Capitol City Sunday with Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann on WKOW 27 to discuss Wisconsin Governor Candidate Mary Burke's job plan. The show aired on Sunday, March 30th. Read an excerpt from Capitol City Sunday.

Jon was also quoted in an article in the The Economist on accelerators entitled, “Getting up to Speed: The biggest professional-training system you have never heard of.”


Jon was also the keynote speaker for the WARF Entrepreneurons Series on Tuesday, April 22 entitled "Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Part II: Accelerators, Incubators, Co-Working Spaces – the View from Silicon Valley and Closer to Home." Other panelists included Michael Fenchel, co-founder and chairman, 100state; Troy Vosseller, co-founder, gener8tor, Sconnie Nation and Sconnie Beer; Kelda Roys, founder and CEO, Open Homes; and Jeremy Neuner, CEO and co-founder, NextSpace Coworking + Innovation.

Dan Olszewski, director of the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship, was asked to participate in the Wisconsin Union Directorates Distinguished Lecture Series on Thursday, February 20, by introducing Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of, Breadpig, and hipmunk. Alexis discussed his new book, Without Their Permission, about starting up a business through all of its stages.

Dan was also a panelist in WARF's Discovery Challenge seminar on Monday, April 7, entitled, "Elevator Pitches for Scientists: What, Where, When and How?" Other participants on the panel included Harisha Rajanala, winner of the 2013 Discovery Challenge Poster Session; Kristin Jenkins, program director, Institute for Biology Education, UW-Madison; and Terry Devitt, director of University Research Communications.

Mike Williams, faculty associate in the management and human resources department, moderated a panel on Wednesday, February 5, for WARF's Entrepreneurons session entitled "Customer Acquisition and Development Startup Accounting and Taxes." Other participants included Keynote Speaker Luella Schmidt, owner of Fine Point Consulting; as well as panelists Danny Andersen, director and CPA, Baker Tily; and Mark Zager, CEO, Silatronix, Inc.

 Business & Entrepreneurship Clinic  

By Mike Williams, Faculty Associate, MHR Department

Located in the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery building, the Business and Entrepreneurship Clinic (B&E) started providing free business services to some local nascent entrepreneurs. The mission of the clinic is to provide MBA and undergraduate business students with an applied learning experience by advising early stage entrepreneurs in the local community. The clinic is in its first year of operation.

In January 2014, the Business and Entrepreneurship Clinic launched a basic website which explains the services that can be provided and the process for new clients. If you are interested in using our services, please review the website and submit an application.

In February 2014, the Business and Entrepreneurship Clinic started holding regular office hours. There are 30 to 60 minute time slots available to meet with clients and prospective clients at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery’s Entrepreneurs Resource Center, Rooms 1157 and 1158. If you would like to schedule a meeting, send an email to

We are very excited to report that one of our first clients, Share the Health, is up and running and has served 17 patients in its first 3 months. In January, the Wisconsin State Journal wrote a very good article on Share the Health. If you would like to know more about Share the Health and their mission, please go to their website.

 Alumni News/Updates  

Adam J. Bock ('99) has been appointed deputy director of a $13.5M Center for Doctoral Training (CDT) at the University of Edinburgh starting Fall 2014. The CDT will serve students who are simultaneously studying for a life sciences Ph.D. and an M.Sc. in Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

In Fall 2014, The University of Edinburgh will launch an £8M ($13.5M) Center for Doctoral Training in clinical imaging and healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship. The PI on the grant is Professor Mark Bradley of the School of Chemistry. The new Center is funded by the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The Center links the University of Edinburgh Business School, College of Medicine, and School of Chemistry, representing the first large-scale training collaboration that spans all three colleges at the University. Dr. Adam J. Bock was the business school's representative on the grant application and will be deputy director of the Center. He will be the program director for a new M.Sc. in Healthcare Innovation and Entrepreneurship offered at the University of Edinburgh Business School to serve students funded by the Center.

Kati Goetsch ('11) started a new position in January with CUNA Strategic Services, Inc. in Madison as manager of new alliances. Her new role entails seeking out and vetting new alliance opportunities with vendors who serve credit unions, conducting annual/renewal due diligence reviews for existing alliances, and exploring new business models to deliver the best financial value to the credit union system. Her previous position at CUNA was marketing manager. Congratulations, Kati!

Noah Kunin-Goldsmith

Noah Kunin-Goldsmith ('11) is now the financial director for Performance Gateway ( He and his wife, Stephanie Judge, welcomed their first child, a daughter name Ayla, in April. Congratulations, Noah!

David Lohrentz

David Lohrentz (’99), co-owner of Madison Sourdough on Williamson Street, was featured in the Wisconsin State Journal touting the new breads they will be offering in grocery stores and their café.

Jim Lynett ('05) has taken on a new position as team leader of procurement & logistics at Bellin Health. Congratulations, Jim!

Evan Sengbusch ('11), vice president of business development at Phoenix Nuclear Labs LLC, was in the news regarding their first commercial sale. Phoenix Nuclear Labs announced the first multimillion dollar commercial sale of a neutron generator system to a large British defense and energy company, Ultra Electronics NCS. PNL will deliver the system to the UK in late 2014. PNL further announced that it closed on $1.2M in private equity funding to support the Neutron Generator System scale up of its manufacturing capabilities as it continues to transition its technology out of R&D and into more commercial sales. Finally, PNL also announced that it was recently awarded a $1M grant from the Department of Energy to develop an ion source for use in high energy physics research and medical applications. Click here to read the full story.

UW Ph.D/WAVE Alums Jay Ebben (2003) and Alec Johnson (2000) both entrepreneurship professors at the University of St. Thomas' Opus College of Business created CourseCal, a cloud-based time and work flow calendar for college educators and students. They were featured in the business section of the Minneapolis StarTribune.

 Featured Alumnus: Catching up with Sal Braico    

By Peter Oppermann

Sal Braico knows the importance of making your free throws—it just might get you a job. Sal, a Weinert Center graduate in 2002, noted that a consistent theme throughout his career was the importance of networking. That's where the recreational league basketball comes in. Sal's current role at Mallatt's Pharmacy started as just a post-game conversation. A few months later, Sal took a position as COO, charged with leading transformational change at the long-established Madison company.

Sal had a background in mechanical engineering and IT before attending UW-Madison for his MBA. He was interested in the program specifically for the entrepreneurial focus, noting that the business school supplied him with the fundamental tools needed to help him achieve success in his career. As part of the WAVE program, he worked on the biotech firm ConjuGon, signing on after graduation as the company’s first full-time employee.

After five years, he started another medical device firm, Flex Biomedical, on his own. “Biotech and medical device companies are really tough,” he acknowledged, noting the extensive fundraising and long time horizon for bringing a product to market. But, he noted, you begin just like any other entrepreneurial venture. “You start with a need, then you look at what [technology] is out there,” to see if it can meet that need.

Sal’s time with these early-stage ventures provided invaluable experience. He noted that “some things just can’t be learned until you do them.” Specifically, Sal built up an impressive understanding of company operations though his time working on startups. It’s no coincidence that since he joined Mallatt’s, the company has experienced a period of exciting growth. The company’s core businesses—pharmacy and home care—just keep growing as the US population ages, and a sound understanding of these market forces keeps the company positioned to meet these growing needs.

“One of the big things I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that I know what I don’t know,” Sal explained. That experience, paired with an entrepreneurial mindset, has been a winning combination. And while the future will bring new tests, Sal didn’t let on that he’s concerned. “If I don’t already know how to tackle that challenge, I’ll figure it out.” Now that’s what we like to hear from a Weinert Center grad.


 Center Support  

We would like to thank the following recent contributors to the center:

  • Boston Scientific Corporation (Matching Gift Program for Joseph Ypma, 2012 alumnus)
  • Jon & Lee Eckhardt, Faculty, UW-Madison
  • Justin Hajny, 2010 alumnus

Your continued support of our programs is greatly appreciated. Anyone wishing to financially support the programs can do so at Entrepreneurship Program:


EntrepreNews is produced by the Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship.

Weinert Center For Entrepreneurship

Executive Director: Jon Eckhardt
Director: Dan Olszewski
Associate Director: Lisa Collins


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  Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship
  Wisconsin School of Business | 975 University Avenue | Madison, WI 53706
  Phone: 608-263-2882