Today is the final day startups can apply for the opportunity to make one-on-one pitches to local and national retailers at the Oct. 11 OnRamp Retail Conference Series at Soldier Field in Chicago.
OnRamp Conference Series are networking and pitch events Milwaukee-based startup accelerator gener8tor LLC has been organizing since 2013 to connect entrepreneurs at various stages of growth with late-stage investors and high-level corporate leaders.
At the events, selected startups are matched based on mutual interest with participating investors or corporate leaders and given the chance to make pitches to secure investments, do business and forge partnerships.
Dozens of local and national corporations will participate in the retail conference on Oct. 11, including Mars Inc., Under Armor Inc., Harley Davidson Motor Co., Kohl's Corp., Target Corp., Mattel Inc., Walgreen Company, and Macy's Inc. Click here to see the full list of participating companies.
OnRamp conferences initially took place at different locations around Wisconsin — Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Lambeau Field in Green Bay and the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee — but event organizers recently decided to begin hosting nationally-focused events at Soldier Field with a much larger pool of participating organizations.
"Chicago allows us to benefit from having two major airports," said Sara Woldt, co-founder and chief organizer of OnRamp and director of business development at gener8tor. "The state of Wisconsin doesn't have enough venture capital to sustain the growth our companies are having."
Woldt said she expects a total of more than 100 startups from around the country — including Wisconsin — and even perhaps a few from outside the country, to participate in the event.
"So it’s definitely not a Wisconsin-focused event, it's a nationally-focused event," Woldt said.
But she and other leaders at gener8tor are hoping the nationally-focused conferences will raise the profile of the Midwestern startup ecosystem and give local companies access to a wider pool of potential investors, corporate customers and partners.
Those interested in attending or applying can register and submit applications on the OnRamp website.