21 Jul Life science VC and biotech confabs to fly solo this fall
MADISON—After partnering up for two years, the Wisconsin Life Sciences and Venture Conference and the Wisconsin Biotech & Medical Device Conference have decided to go their separate ways.
Due to different target audiences and themes, these autumn conferences are now being planned separately. According to John Neis, senior partner at Venture Investors LCC and member of both organizations’ boards, the conferences were originally combined to set Wisconsin’s event apart from other proceedings around the country and to boost attendance, specifically with investors. But the broad message wasn’t as effective as hoped.
“The Life Sciences [Conference] was spread over two days in the past and venture capitalists were only coming in for venture capital part of it anyway. From their perspective they won’t even notice,” Neis said. “Given the fact [the conferences] were initially combined to create critical mass, the audiences were different – there was no benefit from synergy. They’re better run separately.”
This year, the WBMDA Fall Conference will feature presentations on starting, developing and expanding biotechnology and medical device companies, specifically examining employee recruitment, marketing products and intellectual property. Alternatively, the Wisconsin Life Science and Venture Conference will be hosting 20 regional companies and featuring a technology showcase that will be presented by University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists.
According to Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, the Life Sciences Conference is geared toward private investment activities and the Biotech Association’s event is aiming to provide information and services to help member companies function as businesses.
“In some sense there was an overlap in the market, but we discovered in the past two years maybe there wasn’t much of an overlap,” Still said.
The Wisconsin Life Sciences and Venture Conference will be held Nov. 16-17 at the Monona Terrace. The Wisconsin Biotech & Medical Device Conference is set for Oct. 26 at the Marriot West.