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
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 22 – Wausau at the Wausau Masonic Center
- September 26 – Marshfield at Quality Tank Solutions hosted by the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry
- November 7 – Regional finale in Stevens Point at the Noel Hangar at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport 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 23 – Menomonie at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts hosted by the Dunn County Economic Development Corp.
- September 27 – Chippewa Falls at the Chippewa River Distillery hosted by the Chippewa County Economic Development Corp.
- November 8 – Regional finale in Eau Claire at the Confluence Arts Center 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 at The Kenosha Creative Space, Inc
- November 1 – Regional finale in Racine at the Racine Metro Transit Center hosted by Southeastern Wisconsin Hatch
Hatch 2018 Events
Hatch in Kenosha
When: September 20th | 6:00PM – 8:30PM
Hatch in Marshfield
When: September 26th | 6:00PM – 8:30PM
Hatch in Chippewa Falls
When: September 27th | 6:00PM – 8:30PM
Where: Chippewa River Distillery (402 W River St, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729)
Hatch Final in Racine
When: November 1st | 6:00PM – 8:30PM
Where: Racine Metro Transit Center (730 Washington Ave, Racine, WI 53403)
Hatch Final in Stevens Point
When: November 7th | 6:00PM – 8:30PM
Where: Noel Hangar at the Stevens Point Municipal Airport (4501 WI-66, Stevens Point, WI 54482)
Hatch Final in Eau Claire
When: November 8th | 6:00PM – 8:30PM
Where: Confluence Arts Center (199 Graham Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54701)
BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation
The 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 $6.5 million in 45 Wisconsin early stage companies since February of 2014.
Submit an Idea:
Contact Jeremy Fojut at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2018 Hatch Recaps
Menomonie | Thursday, August 23, 2018
at the Mabel Tainter Center for the Arts hosted by the Dunn County Economic Development Corp.
Jurors: Meriem Chida, Professor at UW-Stout; Randy Hulke, Executive Director at Stout Manufacturing Outreach Center; Dave Kochendorfer, Director of Eau Claire Small Business Development Center and Owner of Achieve Results Consulting; Dan Lytle, Menomonie Campus Manager at Chippewa Valley Technical College and River Falls Incubator Office
Winner: Nate Hitchcock of FastNav Compass – Developing a specialized compass for military personnel
• Zack Arvold of Specialized Protection Systems – Self-defense system – be aware, be prepared, be the solution
• Tanya Stoekien of Jessie’s Jym – Sensory gym for individuals with autism & other disabilities
• Traci Lashley of TjLash – Kid’s Hand Buddy keeps children safe and by your side
• Robert Rosendahl of CradleStack, LLC – Innovative device to secure and protect gutter downspouts
Wausau | Wednesday, August 22, 2018
at the Wausau Masonic Center
Jurors: Gordon Crow, Executive Director at Centergy, Inc; Dave Eckmann, CEO at Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce; Sarah Guild, Chairperson of Education and Economic Development Committee at Marathon County Extension; Matt Rowe, Partner at Ruder Ware Law Firm; Bradley Sippel, Assistant Planner at City of Wausau
Winner: Pete Jungwirth of Amira Learning – Artificial Intelligence solution for learning to read
• Kerrie Kasperek of Cradle & Nurse – Ergonomically designed product for carrying and nursing infants
• Matthew Parish & George Rattanasack of Super Power – Renewable energy company focused on solar powered farms
• Matt Kirsch of Tiger Ghost – Card and tabletop game creator of Quester Party
• Kimm VanDen Heuvel & Dan Weber of Timekeeper Distillery – Craft distillery and purveyor of craft cocktails
Racine | Wednesday, July 25, 2018
at The Branch at 1501
Jurors: Mick Burke, Business Reporter at the Journal Times; Amy Connolly, Director of City Development at City of Racine; Jeff Harris, Board Chair at BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Inc.; Ben Lehner, Community Development Specialist at City of Racine; Jenny Trick, Executive Director at Racine County Economic Development Corporation; Jim Venturini, President of Downtown Racine Corporation & Sales Executive at David Insurance
Winner: Benjamin Taft of Landmark Acoustics LLC – Applied acoustics software for speech therapists and their clients
• Jacinto Lagos of The Argentine Experience – Bringing alfojar (al-pha-hor), the national cookie from Argentina, to the US
• Seth Muller of Muller Motors – Turning petroleum powered cars into electric vehicles
• Nikia Johnson of Sekhere – Revolutionizing the brick-and-mortor experience by disrupting the way packages are delivered
• Matt Glaman of ForkdIn – Food discovery service/application to allow individuals to experience local and new food scenes
Eau Claire | Thursday, July 19, 2018
at State Theater hosted by the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corp.
Jurors: Luke Kempen, Director at Wisconsin Small Business Development Center; Brad Poquette, Principal at Management Consulting, LLC; Ann Rupnow, Entrepreneurship & Economic Development at UW-Eau Claire; Thomas Shannon, President & CEO at BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation
Winner: Andrew Niese of Fixity – A web app to report problems in your city (for citizens) & a management portal (for officials) to track & resolve issues
• Michelle Lien, Amanda Olson & Nicholas White of Chippewa Valley Tours – Tours & experiences that showcase the Chippewa Valley and all it has to offer
• Brandon Cedarblade of Rev Studios – Contemporizing the way product photography is implemented in e-commerce by helping online retailers leverage 3D scanning, or “photogrammetry”
• Jamie & Zacharious Pappas of Earthbound Environmental – A landfill diversion program focusing on concepts that enable citizens to participate in zero waste activities
• Adam Shilts of GifSkin – The world’s first self-powered and fully customizable digital sticker
Wisconsin Rapids | Wednesday, June 20, 2018
at Urban Forestry Lab at Mid-State Technical College
Jurors: Rick Bakovka, President of Regional Economic Growth Initiative (REGI); David Clark, Corporate Program Management at Renaissance Learning; Dr. Bobbi Damrow, Vice President at Workforce & Economic Development at Mid-State Technical College; Doug King, Entrepreneur and Owner of BluPlay Café; Andy Shrago, Board of Director / Investment Committee at BrightStar; Zach Vruwink, Entrepreneur and Mayor of Wisconsin Rapids
Winner: Evan Schuelke of Flip’n Easy – Powder scooper with a funnel attached by a folding handle
• Mishelle OShasky of Reengineering Employment – An agency specializing in job placement for those who have had involvement in the Criminal Justice system.
• Layne Cozzolino, Mindy McCord and Josh Stolzenburg of Siren Shrub Company – Sipping Vinegars made with the highest quality, regionally sourced ingredients.
• Curtis Manning of Confirmcare – A program that can track caregiver interactions with patients in healthcare settings, such as in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Kenosha | Thursday, May 24, 2018
at Southport Beach House
Jurors: Mary Fischer-Tracy, Business Consultant at the Wisconsin SBDC at UW-Parkside; Deborah Ford, Chancellor at UW-Parkside; Ed Javier, President at EMJ Consulting; Lisa Johnson, CEO of BioForward Wisconsin and BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Investment Committee member; Crystal Miller, President at Frontida, Inc.; Michael Polzin, Founder and CEO at Leeward Business Advisors
Winner: Toby Thomas of FreshEx – Food packaging products with mold stopping FDA-approved food safe ingredients
• Alex Hart-Upendo of Build-A-Bow – Custom bow retailer specializing in bow ties and “bark bows”, bow ties for dogs
• Nim Joshi of OurHometownApp – Digital platform for deploying custom mobile apps promoting community businesses, attractions and events
• Joseph Thomas Klein of privatus.email – Secure email filtered and forwarded with encryption and security in mind
• Erin Magennis of CalmLet – A smart bracelet that helps people manage anxiety and overwhelming situations in the moment
Stevens Point | Wednesday, May 16, 2018
at Eron’s Event Barn hosted by the Portage County Business Council
Jurors: Dan Blumenstein, Director of Client Support at Rack Industrial, LLC; Will Emory, Director of Customer Support & Community Engagement at Red Arrow Labs; Lisa Johnson, CEO of BioForward Wisconsin and BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Investment Committee member; Jenny Resch, Intermim Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Economic Development at UW-Stevens Point; Missy Skurzewski-Servant, PhD – Dean, School of Business & Technology at Mid-State Technical College; Mike Wiza, Mayor of Stevens Point
Winner: Michael More of The Scape – A product that combines aspects of mobiles, light projectors & sound machines to lull infants to sleep
• Nick Coglianese of Key Collector Comics Mobile App(KCC) – A database and price guide that solely features the comic book industry’s most valuable books.
• Katja Marquart of Flowpath – A yoga exercise system integrating yoga with meditative labyrinth walking.
• Karen D. Orr of iMyK9 – A portable, cellular “baby monitor” in cars for dogs
• Michael Bridgeforth of HairHoncho – A mobile app that hairstylists can use to manage their businesses smarter and connect to more clients.