Grasshoppers can't jump sideways or backwards

Grasshopper meetings help entrepreneurs and innovators move forward. Presenters with expertise in specific technologies, venture capital and other areas share best practices and spur thought-provoking discussion. Networking abounds.

2019 Meeting Dates

Jan. 24; Feb. 21; March 21; April 18; May 23; June 20; July 18; Sept. 19; Oct. 24; Nov. 21. Meetings are held on Thursdays from 4:30pm to 6:30pm in Room 121 of the Technology Innovation Center, 10437 W. Innovation Drive, Wauwatosa.

Information about our May 23 talk coming soon.

There is no cost to attend, but a link where you can RSVP is coming soon.

Previous discussions:

April 18: Gordon Nameni, founder of Milwaukee-area management consulting firm August Brown who has a Ph.D in materials science, led a discussion about new product development and using the Tech Translation Framework to drive growth through factors such as communication, flexibility, and a market-driven approach. The framework helps identify technical gaps before entering a market, unearth new market opportunities through several valuable exercises and monitor the development and commercialization process of the new or re-imagined products.

March 21: Jerry Jendusa founded EMTEQ in 1996 with an SBA loan. Starting in the basement of his home, Jerry grew the maker of aircraft interior and exterior lighting systems and management and power systems into an award-winning, global player with more than $100 million of revenue. EMTEQ was acquired by B/E Aerospace in 2014 for a high multiple of revenue. Jerry, who is now co-founder and partner at STUCK LLC, discussed the challenges he faced along the way, particularly during EMTEQ's startup phase.

February 21: Bob Tatterson, president of Xponential Ventures who previously held research and technology leadership positions at Sealed Air Corp., Brady Corp., GE Plastics and General Electric, discussed the ins and outs of corporate R&D, including why companies often look outside for technology that could have been developed internally and why corporate innovation often fails. He also talked about the advantages and disadvantages startups have vs. established corporate players.

January 24: Peter Skanavis, Founder and President of Homeowners Concept Realtors and an angel investor, discussed how he found an unmet need in For Sale by Owner sales and started Homeowners Concept. Peter also provided insight into what he looks for in the startups he chooses to invest in. The discussion was moderated by Grasshopper Co-Founder Kathleen Gallagher.

November 29, 2018: Lawrence J. Burnett, shareholder and co-chair of the Corporate Law Practice at the law firm of Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, discussed alternative and other strategies for financing a startup. Larry has 30 years of experience helping both mature and early-stage businesses capitalize themselves. He works with companies and investors to determine the capital structure that makes the most sense for their businesses.

October 25, 2018: Dave Vasko, Director of Advanced Technology at Rockwell Automation, discussed how the Industrial Internet of Things is moving into the next generation of advances that are dramatically transforming factory floors and other industrial settings and the implications for future of work.

September 20, 2018: Mike Anderes discussed his organization's strategies for harnessing local and global innovation to improve care and the community's health, reinvent the consumer experience and reduce the cost of healthcare. Mike is Chief Innovation and Digital Officer for Froedtert Health and President of Inception Health, a company formed by the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network to accelerate the adoption of digital health, identify and partner with innovative companies and increase the innovation capacity of the network.

Mike was joined by Jennifer Moore, Implementation Manager at PatientWisdom, a New Haven, Conn. startup that Inception Health co-developed. PatientWisdom has a digital platform that collects and shares patient stories to improve health and the experience of care.

July 19, 2018: Todd Sobotka, Managing Director and Investment Committee Chair at BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, showed scenes from well-known movies to illustrate and spur discussion about the importance for startups of having a plan, listening to feedback and hustling.

May 24, 2018: Matt Cordio, Co-founder of Skills Pipeline, which operates a tech recruiting business and organizes Wisconsin Startup Week and other events, discussed our entrepreneurial ecosystem and ways to achieve more robust growth.

April 19, 2018: LeAnne Foster, Principal with Water Street Advisors, a mergers and acquisitions consulting firm, discussed how to position your company, create value and prepare for successful and lucrative exits.

March 22, 2018: Aaron Hagar, Vice President of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., discussed his division's strategy and programs, along with associated metrics and historical trends. Aaron also talked with us about Wisconsin's startup and risk capital funding landscape.

February 22, 2018: Lori Kuhn, Executive Coach, and Jill Bakke, Confidence Coach at Thrive Human Capital Development, led a discussion about how to position yourself in light of changed work habits, artificial intelligence and other technologies and other shifts in the business landscape.

January 23, 2018: Kathy Hust, President of Scanalytics Inc. and a former U.S. Cellular senior executive, discussed common problems startups face and how to overcome them.

November 28, 2017: Richard Stevens, Founder and CEO of Medical Advances and Molecular Specialties and Elissa Coyer, Marketing Director at Third Wave Bioactives -- and a veteran of two other startups, Agtech Products and Agro Biosciences discussed building startups, exits and seriel entrepreneurship. 

October 24, 2017: Dave Linz, Client Services Director at the UW-Extension's Center for Technology Commercialization, discussed how to compete for federal grants. He was joined by Brian Armstrong, president and co-founder of Wauwatosa-based Metria Innovation Inc., which has received more than $1 million of federal grants to further development of its 3D measurement technologies. 

September 26, 2017: Ken Johnson, Partner in the Badger Fund of Funds and managing director of Kegonsa Capital Partners, talked about criteria used by professional venture and angel investors to make their investment decisions.

August 17, 2017: Ben Stanley, gBETA Milwaukee; Sherry Zhang, Ph.D, MCW Researcher, gBETA graduate and founder of GenoPalate; Scott Johannes, Founder, Immersive Innovations LLC discussed getting a startup off the ground.