Founder Day

Welcome to Founder Day 2024

May 10th @ The Spark (StartingBlock & DreamBank)

Join us for an unprecedented day of learning, networking, and growth. Founder Day 2024 is dedicated to connecting founders, business owners, and consultants within the tech, e-commerce, and business development sectors. Dive into sessions led by industry leaders, engage in strategic networking opportunities, and propel your venture to new heights.

Register Now
Free to attend with limited space - RSVP Required



Sessions Round I (1pm)

Networking Mastery: Strategies for Building Meaningful Connections

Room: Open Innovation Space (3rd Floor)

Discover how to transform your approach to networking. Specifically tailored for introverts, this talk will equip you with practical strategies to confidently navigate social settings, build meaningful connections, and leverage your unique strengths for professional success. You’ll learn how to thrive in networking situations that have traditionally felt challenging, empowering you to forge impactful professional relationships effectively.


Jazmynn Appleton, Financial Specialist, Public Speaker, Author

Jazmynn Appleton serves as the Chief Director of Entrepreneurial Growth and Innovation at the Progress Center for Black Women. Through her work, she is dedicated to uplifting Black women and families through entrepreneurial and professional development training, financial education, and comprehensive support. Prior to her current role, Jazmynn was in the credit union industry for over 5+ years, becoming a certified financial counselor. Fast forward to today, and she is one of 2024’s Brava Women to Watch. Jazmynn is a Chicago native who grew up in Madison, WI, and is a multifaceted entrepreneur, career woman, and devoted mother to her son, Jaedyn. Jazmynn is passionate about cooking and hopes to own a private chef business in the future; In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing poetry, traveling, and experimenting with new recipes.

Navigating Financing & Capital Table Deal Structures

Room: DreamBank A (1st Floor)

Discover key concepts in financing and capital table deal structures with insights from the UW Law Clinic, equipping you with the knowledge to make informed decisions for your business deals. Transitioning from a term sheet to a finalized deal involves meticulous negotiation, thorough due diligence, and effective communication between all parties to ensure alignment on terms and ultimately reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Jeff Glazer, Attorney, Entrepreneur, and Dane County Supervisor

Jeff Glazer is a seasoned attorney with over two decades of experience in business and intellectual property law, currently serving as a Clinical Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School’s Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic. His profound understanding of start-up ecosystems, technology licensing, trademarks, and copyrights make him a key speaker for Founder Day 2024. Jeff’s experience extends beyond academia, as he also serves as a Dane County Supervisor for District 8 – City of Madison, and has a background in IP prosecution and transactional law from his time at Ogden Glazer + Schaefer and Glazer Legal Services. Additionally, as the founder of Madison Craft Beer Week, he has demonstrated his versatility in technology, marketing, and legal considerations. With a JD in Intellectual Property and an MBA focusing on Finance and Marketing, Jeff is well-equipped to guide entrepreneurs through complex financing and legal structures, providing valuable insights at Founder Day 2024.

Smart Product Development: Avoiding Costly Mistakes

Room: DreamBank B (1st Floor)

Finding product-market fit is paramount for entrepreneurial success as it ensures alignment between your product or service and the needs and preferences of your target market, laying the foundation for sustainable growth and customer satisfaction. Learn how to streamline product development processes and mitigate risks of building unwanted products, ensuring efficient allocation of resources and maximizing outcomes.

Will Robus, CEO, Co-Founder, Operations & Finance Consultant

Will Robus is the CEO and Co-Founder of Outpost Security, a boutique cyber defense company focused on security operations, alerting, and response. Will Robus is a seasoned executive decision maker spending the last 20 years in the C-suites of technology and security companies focused on what drives results and scales successfully. You may have seen Will speak at a Bsides events. If not, listen to Outpost Security’s RBA Podcast – Securing the Frontiers of Enterprise.

Sessions Round II (3pm)

The Funding Dilemma: VC vs. Bootstrapping Considerations

Room: Open Innovation Space (3rd Floor)

In this discussion, we will explore the contrasting paths a company can take based on whether they decide to pursue venture capital (VC) to build a hyper-growth company or they focus on building a profitable business via bootstrapping. We will cover the pros and cons of each approach. The allure of VC is obvious: “free money” that you can use to build your business and grow rapidly. But it is often not the best path for many companies and trying to raise money with an “unfundable” pitch wastes your valuable time. This talk will empower you to make informed financing decisions tailored to your unique business goals and circumstances.

Olivia Wisden, Founder, Co-Founder, CEO

Olivia Wisden is the founder & CEO of TwoLips Creative. What started as an events discovery app pivoted into a design agency that specializes in working with startups and organizations who are looking for bold, impactful designs and strategies. She has worked with dozens of brands over the years ranging from the City of Madison to product launches and beyond.

Michael Szewczyk, Advisor, Co-Founder

Michael co-founded 2 startups, MAMM 3D (2015-2017) and Factor (2018-2023). At MAMM 3D, Michael worked with a NASA Ames Engineer, a Norwegian Defense Innovation Manager, and a Google ATAP engineer to develop additively manufactured 8ft fixed-wing UAVs/Drones. While it was a lot of fun, both the drones and the company eventually crashed and burned. In 2018, Michael co-founded Factor, a supply chain automation and analytics company. Michael led Customer Success and Operations for 5 years as Factor grew from 4 to 22 employees, raised $12M across 3 rounds of financing, and worked with hundreds of manufacturers across the world. Michael stepped away from Factor in 2023, a few months after they raised $6M.

Developing Basic Contracts: Insights from UW Law Clinic

Room: DreamBank A (1st Floor)

Gain foundational knowledge of contract principles through practical insights from the UW Law Clinic, empowering you to navigate legal agreements confidently. When navigating service contracts and software contracts, it’s crucial to understand the terms, negotiate effectively, and ensure clarity on deliverables and responsibilities to safeguard your interests and foster successful collaborations.

UW Law School. Madison, Wisconsin

Beth Skogen Photography

Harriet Maona, Administrative Assistant, L&E

Harriet joined UW Law School in January 2022 as an administrative supporter for the Economic Justice Institute, Lawyering Skills Program, and the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic, shortly after relocating to Wisconsin from Malawi. Prior to this, she served in the Department of Legal Aid, where she provided legal representation to the underprivileged, before transitioning to a role as In-House counsel in the banking industry. Outside of her professional life, Harriet enjoys hiking, exploring new places, playing squash, and delving into reading, as well as writing short stories and poetry.


Mark Fernandes, Law-in-Action Fellow - L&E

Mark Fernandes serves as a Law-in-Action Fellow at the Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic. In this role, he applies his legal expertise to assist startups and entrepreneurs navigate the complexities of business law, fostering innovation and economic growth.

Unlocking Funding Opportunities: Applying for SBIR Grants

Room: DreamBank B (1st Floor)

SBIR grants present excellent financial opportunities for innovative entrepreneurs, offering funding and support to develop groundbreaking ideas and propel them towards commercialization. Explore the process of applying for SBIR Grants as a means to secure funding for your innovative ideas, leveraging resources and strategies to enhance your chances of success.

Tyler Waite, Co-Founder, COO

Tyler Waite is the Co-Founder, COO, and CCO of Holos, Inc., a Madison-based company innovating in educational technology by enhancing learning outcomes through increased engagement and retention. Since its inception in May 2015, Tyler has been pivotal in shaping the company’s strategic direction. Alongside his role at Holos, Tyler co-founded Madison XR in August 2015, a community for VR and AR enthusiasts aimed at fostering public awareness and engagement around extended reality technologies. He is also actively involved with Capital Entrepreneurs as an officer, where he works to support and amplify the voices of local entrepreneurs, facilitating discussions that cover both the successes and challenges of startup life.

Shared Service Expo

Whether you’re looking to streamline operations, expand your professional network, or drive business growth, this expo is your gateway to strategic partnerships that make a real impact. Don't miss this chance to transform your startup's future!


Startups & Service Companies

0x21 Consulting – 96% of cyber insurance claims come from small and medium sized businesses at a median cost of $48k.

Content Marketing & Strategy by Dan Fogarty – Content that attracts investors and generates leads.

Golden Innovation Group – We’re your personalized solution for streamlining business operations.  We pinpoint improvements and help you execute them. Say goodbye to the overwhelm of managing day-to-day tasks.

Ten Forward Consulting – We help organizations build custom software; we are flexible, transparent, and honest. We meet people where they are and empower them to grow and succeed.

TwoLips Creative – A design and branding agency that works with startups. We specialize in creative direction, website design, & illustration.

Petphoria – A lifestyle brand celebrating the bond between pets and their owners with luxury treats, sassy human apparel and stylish accessories for both!

Dlove Studios – Makeup Artist, Portrait/Branding photographer & social media specialist.

Nommli – Elevating meal subscriptions to cultural journeys

Communities, Coalitions & University Programs

Wisconsin Startup Coalition – The Wisconsin Startup Coalition is a non-partisan advocacy organization advancing policy solutions to improve Wisconsin’s startup ecosystem.

UW-Madison – Technology Entrepreneurship Office – Supports campus innovators in deep tech, helping them transform their research into successful businesses.

Discovery to Product (D2P) at UW-Madison – Provides UW-Madison faculty, staff and students with entrepreneurship and technology commercialization training, mentoring and funding.

MERLIN Mentors – A program of University Research Park, connects entrepreneurs with experienced business mentors.

Capital Entrepreneurs – VC Fundraising Advice from entrepreneurs who have raised $1M+

StartingBlock Affiliates

StartingBlock – a community of entrepreneurs and startups, where you’ll have access to resources, mentorship, and a collaborative coworking workspace. With 50,000 sq ft of space in Madison’s Capitol East neighborhood, StartingBlock is the perfect place to launch your business. 

Madworks Accelerator by StartingBlock – A governance-focused education & mentorship program for scalable Wisconsin startups in any industry.

Her Network – A values-led event series for business women, hosted and sponsored by StartingBlock Madison. All who identify as women are welcome.

Venue Information

Welcome to StartingBlock, located in the heart of Madison at 821 E Washington Ave. Our vibrant venue on the second floor is the perfect setting for Founder Day 2024, where innovation and collaboration take center stage. 

The main doors will welcome you into a hub of entrepreneurial energy. Follow the signs leading you to the second floor, where our friendly team at the registration desk will greet you. They’ll be ready to assist with check-in, provide name badges, and answer any questions to start your day smoothly. 

Look out for event signage and our volunteers, who will guide you through the venue and ensure you find your sessions, the Shared Service Expo, and networking spaces with ease. 

Work Space

Conference Rooms

Phone Booths

Don't miss out on Founder Day 2024. Secure your spot today and take the first step towards transforming your entrepreneurial journey.
Register Now

Venue Details

821 E Washington Ave 2nd Floor,
Madison, WI 53703

Contact Us

For more inquiries, you can reach out directly to our director: Ben Hansen (