Wednesday, June 20, 2018 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin
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Photo of crowd at Hatch event


Program Details:

Hatch is a community-based startup pitch platform to help develop “napkin” ideas into early-stage companies created and produced by BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, along with NEWaukee. We don’t restrict the type of idea you can submit, but it’s important to remember we are looking for high-growth ideas that have scale.

In 2018, Hatch is expanding to include 3 regions across the state of Wisconsin. Hatch events will take place in each region during the months of May, July, and September with regional finales happening in November.

The rules are simple. At Hatch, presenters have five minutes to pitch in front of judges and a live audience for the chance to win $2,000 and be selected as a semi-finalist for the Hatch regional finale. The audience has a chance to evaluate and vote for their favorite idea alongside the judges. Beyond the prize money, this is your chance to get the business idea that has been rattling around in your head, out in front of a supportive investors, businesses, and community members. Hatch events are fun, highly social and inspirational.

In each region, the Hatch finale will include all semi-finalists and they will pitch for the grand prize of $5,000 and other business services for the most articulated and furthered business idea. There may also be one or two wildcard slots for presenters that have furthered their business idea.

Cost: Free and open to the public!

Who Should Come: Entrepreneurs, creatives, business professionals, organizers, and investors

What to expect at Hatch events:

  • Network of Wisconsin’s most creative and dynamic individuals
  • Collection of Wisconsin’s most innovative startup resources
  • Access to an exclusive and unexpected venue
  • Complimentary food
  • Complimentary beer & wine
  • DJ

2018 Timeline (more info coming soon!):

Central Wisconsin region schedule:

  • May 16 – Stevens Point at Eron’s Event Barn hosted by the Portage County Business Council
  • June 20 – Wisconsin Rapids at Urban Forestry Lab at Mid-State Technical College
  • August 8 – Wausau (venue TBD) hosted by the Entrepreneurial & Education Center
  • September 26 – Marshfield (venue TBD) hosted by the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • November 7 – Regional finale in Stevens Point (venue TDB) hosted by Central Wisconsin Hatch

Northwest Wisconsin region schedule:

  • July 19 – Eau Claire at State Theater hosted by the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp.
  • August 9 – Menomonie (venue TBD) hosted by the Dunn County Economic Development Corp.
  • September 27 – Chippewa Falls (venue TBD) hosted by the Chippewa County Economic Development Corp.
  • November 8 – Regional finale in Eau Claire (venue TBD) hosted by Chippewa Valley Hatch

Southeastern Wisconsin region schedule:

  • May 24 – Kenosha at Southport Beach House
  • July 25 – Racine at The Branch at 1501
  • September 20 – Kenosha (venue TBD)
  • November 1 – Regional finale in Racine (venue TBD) hosted by Southeastern Wisconsin Hatch

Hatch 2018 Events

Hatch in Wisconsin Rapids

When: June 20th | 6:00PM – 8:30PM

Where: Urban Forestry Lab at Mid-State Technical College (500 32nd St North I Building Room 142, Wisconsin Rapids, WI 54494)


  • Rick Bakovka – President, Regional Economic Growth Initiative (REGI)
  • David Clark – Corporate Program Management, Renaissance Learning
  • Dr. Bobbi Damrow – Vice President, Workforce & Economic Development at Mid-State Technical College
  • Doug King – Entrepreneur and Owner, BluPlay Café
  • Andy Shrago – Board of Director / Investment Committee, BrightStar
  • Mayor Zach Vruwink – Entrepreneur and Mayor, City of Wisconsin Rapids


  • Mishelle OShasky – Reengineering Employment | An employment agency that specializes in job placement for those who have had past involvement in the Criminal Justice system.
  • Curtis Manning – Confirmcare | A program that can track caregiver interactions with patients in healthcare settings, such as in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
  • Mindy McCord, Layne Cozzolino and Josh Stolzenburg – Siren Shrub Company | Shrub: Sipping Vinegars made with the highest quality, regionally sourced ingredients.
  • Evan Schuelke – Flip’n Easy | Patented powder scooper with a funnel attached by a folding handle.
  • Eugene Kim – Cleo | Customer service tool using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help businesses and startups prevent customer churn and increase customer satisfaction.

Register Now

Hatch in Eau Claire

When: July 19th | 6:00PM – 8:30PM

Where: State Theater (316 Eau Claire St, Eau Claire, WI 54701)

Register Now

Hatch in Racine

When: July 25th | 6:00PM – 8:30PM

Where: The Branch at 1501 (1501 Washington Ave, Racine, WI 53403)

Register Now

BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation

BrightStar WisconsinThe BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation accepts charitable donations as a 501(c)(3) organization and uses them to take equity positions in for-profit early-stage companies. Earnings and return of proceeds on investments made will be reinvested again and again. BSW works with government, educational institutions, other charitable organizations, angel groups and venture funds to identify, invest or co-invest in, and promote fast growing early-stage companies to create technology based jobs in Wisconsin.Through the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Wisconsinites who care about job growth can now donate and combine their forces to get the job done. As a founder of BSW, Tom Shannon is the foundation’s head of day-to-day operations as its uncompensated President and CEO. He has been involved with early-stage companies for over a decade. The Foundation’s seven other co-founders have all built businesses themselves and have pledged over $5 million for its initial capitalization.

We Mean Business: This experienced group has seen hundreds of deals, invested in dozens of early-stage companies and know what it takes to get these high growth companies moving. Our hope is that the Foundation grows and becomes a lightening rod for donations by other individuals, businesses and charitable organizations that want to see our great State continue to be able to produce those jobs that allow our citizens to use their skills and education to their fullest. Returns on the Foundation’s investments in early-stage companies would be reinvested again in early-stage Wisconsin companies.

BrightStar has invested over $5 million in over 35 Wisconsin early stage companies since February of 2014.

Submit an Idea:


Contact Jeremy Fojut at  jeremy@newaukee.com.

2017 Hatch Recaps

Marshfield | Wednesday, July 19
A retro-themed classic garage (former home to Hudson’s Classic Grill) in Marshfield was the site of five business pitches Wednesday night. The winning pitch, Tapped, took home $2,000 to advance their business idea.

Partnerships across the state made this fourth HATCH event a success, bringing together the Marshfield’s Young Professionals, Brightstar Wisconsin Foundation, NEWaukee, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

Local organizers chose to highlight the 12 N Central Ave Building, for the event. This garage themed building provided the perfect backdrop for an event focused on perfecting those napkin ideas. The garage saw a sold out crowd of 100+ people. Audience members had the opportunity to vote for their favorite pitches. In addition, a panel of local judges deliberated on the winning pitch. Jurors were: Brenda Dillenburg – Marshfield Campus Dean, Mid-State Technical College; Mark Nelson – President, Microscopy Innovations LLC; Michael Agarwal – CIO, Prevention Genetics; David Meissner – Retired Business Owner; Karen Olson – Business Development Director, Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Central Wisconsin SCORE Administrator; and Todd Sobotka – Managing Director at BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation.

The winning pitch, Tapped, offers flavor infused, natural maple syrups. Jeremy Solin and his family own a maple farm where they harvest the maple syrup through traditional tapping methods and then infuse the syrup with flavors including- espresso, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and red pepper. Tapped is being offered as a substitute to simple syrups and plain maple syrups throughout various coffee shops and bars in Wisconsin.

Other pitches included:
HiveCast | Paul Lemley – Crowdsourced live video
HydraCore Vest | Chad Henne – New version of a weighted vest for fitness and orthopedic rehabilitation
Art Studio On The Go | Carolyn Corcoran – “Art Studio On The Go” is a contained mobile unit offering a place to create, no matter where you are
Cheiks | Elizabeth Olson – Underwear with revolutionary sizing

Wausau | Thursday, June 22
A packed house at the YWCA for the Wausau HATCH event on Thursday, June 22nd. Four businesses pitched their ideas to compete for a $2,000 prize. The winning pitch was made by Stevens Point based Unpublished.io.

A panel of four local judges and a BrightStar executive deliberated on the winning pitch. Audience members also had the opportunity to vote for their favorite pitches and played a part in deciding the outcome. The jurors were: Dan Timm – Vice President SBA, Government Lending, River Valley Bank; Ann Werth – former City of Wausau Economic Development Director; Kevin Eichelberger – Owner, Red Eye Brewing Company and Patina Coffeehouse; Kimberly Reed – Business Instructor, Northcentral Technical College/Former Owner, Wausau to Go; Tom Shannon – President & CEO, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation; and Erik Rajek – Assistant Vice President, Business Development Officer, Byline Bank.

The winning pitch, Unpublished.io, is a web platform for building and sharing research projects by Daniel Packard & Maurice Woods III. Unpublished.io will advance to the HATCH finale and pitch for $10,000 on November 9th, 2017.

Other pitches included:
PynPoints | Scott Gile – An app that delivers time and location-relevant messaging/advertising.
Gater App | Marko Knezic – A social media aggregation app that makes it easy for users of all experience levels to create topical, timely and dynamic content for all their social media channels simultaneously by bringing the most popular content creation features and information together in one utility.
Imaginar Mobile Escape Room | Rachel Jean Davis – A modular and movable escape room experience.

Wisconsin Rapids | Wednesday, May 24th
A large crowd gathered in Golden Eagle Log Homes cabin and showroom for the Wisconsin Rapids HATCH event on Wednesday, May 24th. They listened to four businesses pitch their ideas and compete for a $2,000 prize funded by Incourage Community Foundation. The winning pitch was made by Stevens Point-based Arbre Tech.HATCH is a community-based startup pitch platform that aims to convert strong ideas into business plans that launch new companies. Partnerships across the state made this second Hatch event a success, bringing together, Brightstar Wisconsin Foundation, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, NEWaukee, and Current Wisconsin Rapids. Other strategic partners include MCDEVCO, Ignite, Marshfield Young Professionals and Create Portage County.

A panel of four local judges and two BrightStar executives deliberated on the winning pitch. Audience members also had the opportunity to vote for their favorite pitches and played a part in deciding the outcome. The jurors were: Tod Strong – Management Coach and Consultant at Writing Enterprises, filling in for Jenny Harms – Director of Community Investment at Incourage; Adam Tegen – Community Development Director for the City of Wisconsin Rapids; Carla Lenk – Job and Business Development Coordinator at North Central Community Action Program; Heather Grys-Luecht – Workforce Solutions Coordinator at Mid-State Technical College; Tom Shannon – President and CEO at BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation; and Todd Sobotka – Managing Director at BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation.

The winning pitch, Arbre Tech, aims to automate the data tracking processes used in tree nurseries. Matthieu Vollmer and Ben Meyers created a product that offers real-time inventory tracking, reducing labor costs and creating time for arborist to invest in specialized and technical processes. Arbre Tech will advance to the HATCH finale and pitch for $10,000 on November 9th, 2017.

Other pitches included:
Magnetag | Adam Cohen and Jason Hilleshiem – An electronic scoring for foam combat. Players wear unique sensor armor and battle each other with foam swords, darts, and ninja stars.
Caboosee | Emily Blomberg – Baby onesie and pajama technology that allows for an opening across the back, just above the diaper, making it possible to easily check a diaper without removing the clothing.
VR Cafe | Andrew Matson – A virtual reality cafe.

Stevens Point | Wednesday, April 26th
A crowded historic firehouse in Stevens Point was the site of five business pitches Wednesday night. The winning pitch, Leak Siphon Flush Valve, took home $2,000 to advance their business idea.The firehouse saw a sold out crowd of 100+ people. Audience members had the opportunity to vote for their favorite pitches. In addition, a panel of local judges deliberated on the winning pitch. Jurors were: Mike Wiza – City of Stevens Point Mayor; Brian Cole – SVP, Finance & Operations at Red Arrow Labs; Dan Blumenstein – Director of Client Support at Rack Industrial, LLC; Missy Skurzewski-Servant – Dean, General Education & Business at Mid-State Technical College; Vicki Lobermeier – Associate Lecturer, Adjunct Faculty at UW-Stevens Point School of Business & Economics; and Todd Sobotka – Managing Director at BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation.

The winning pitch, Leak Siphon Flush Value, aims to reduce leaky toilets to zero waste. Peter Parker and Landis Brozak stated, “Leaky toilets are the biggest water wasters and leak up to 200 gallons per day. There are 250 million toilets in the US that leak 25 billion gallons per year. We have developed a simple flush valve that can reduce this leakage to ZERO.”

Other pitches included:
Mysa | Jeff Rice – An online shared-economy platform that helps business owners understand their hurdles and connects them with freelancers who can help.
Permyt | Kyle Konieczka – Automated municipal permit issuance.
Destination 180 | Monte Condrack – A social entrepreneurship business that develops moderate to high-end tiny houses for people in need.
Feed Manager | Carl Lippert – An app that helps farmers manage their livestock feed.

Thanks to our sponsors:

Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation