ICYMI Webinar Series: From Lab to Market – The Path to Commercialization for Milwaukee Innovators

Do you have an innovative idea with commercial potential? This 3-part series will provide an overview of how to turn an abstract idea into a tangible product or service that can impact the world and make money. From vetting your idea to protecting intellectual property to funding technology development – This series is intended to introduce you to early steps in getting an idea to market. 

Session 1: Increase Your Chance of Success by Understanding the Customer (Recording Available)

Presenter: Brian Thompson – President, UWM Research Foundation

Is your product idea something people will actually pay for? Lean Launch is a disciplined, hypothesis-based methodology for exploring markets and developing a business model that focuses on the customer first. In this overview, you will be introduced to a few Lean Launch basics, including essential building blocks of business models and a customer interview process to help reduce the risk of bringing your idea to market.

Session 2: Institution Specific Breakout Groups

January 14, 2021, Noon-1:00PM

This session starts by giving an overview of intellectual property and licensing policies from a commercialization leader at your own institution. The group will then come back together and be given an introduction to America’s Seed Fund (SBIR/STTR) – a federal program that provides money for spin-outs, startups and other small businesses to develop early-stage technologies with commercial potential. In 2019, this program provided $3.7 billion in funding.

Presenters (institution-specific breakout groups):

  • Concordia University: Dan Sem, Director of Technology Transfer
  • MSOE: Sheku Kamara, Dean of Applied Research
  • Marquette University: Kalpa Vithalani, Executive Director of Technology Transfer
  • UWMRF: Jessica Silvaggi, Director of Technology Commercialization
  • MCW: Kevin Boggs, Director of Office of Technology Development

Learn about steps you can take to bring some of this money to your project.

Session 3: Founders Panel: How Did I Get Here?

February 11, 2021, Noon-1:00PM

Scientist-entrepreneurs with connections to several Milwaukee area institutions will talk candidly about their journey to become business founders. The conversation will focus on the concerns, thoughts and challenges they faced as they made decisions to go down this new path. Additional discussion will touch upon how they balance current roles as researchers and entrepreneurs. 

Moderator: Sheila Schindler-Ivens, Associate Professor, Marquette University


• Christina Runge, President & CEO Ascending Hearing (MCW, UWM)

• Paige Peters, CEO Rapid Radicals (Marquette)

• Gene Write, CFO Red Cell Source (MSOE)

• Carol Hirschmugle, President COnovate (formerly SafeLi) (UWM)

• Joseph McGraw, President and CSO Persotype DX (Concordia)