Archive for the ‘Start-ups’ Category

Board and Shareholder Approvals 101 for Emerging Technology Companies

Now that you’ve incorporated your emerging company, you may be wondering, “How often do I need to hold Board and shareholder meetings?” and “What decisions do I need to bring to the Board or the shareholders?”  These are common questions, and the answers differ company by company, to some extent.  This article is written for founders of typical early stage emerging technology companies.

Sources of Requirements for Shareholder Approval

Which corporate matters are required to be brought to shareholders for a vote is primarily statute-driven, meaning that, under law, certain actions have to be approved by shareholders in order for the corporation to take such actions.  Such matters include company name changes, an increase in the number of authorized shares, the creation of a new class of stock, and certain fundamental changes such as mergers, conversions, and sales of substantially all of a corporation’s assets.  The company’s investment-related agreements also may require investors’ approval in their capacity as shareholders before taking certain types of actions, like raising more capital or other significant actions.   In most cases, actions of the shareholders can be taken at a meeting or by a written consent, both of which must follow the rules prescribed in the corporation’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.  If permitted by the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, in most cases the written consent of shareholders may only require consent of a certain percentage of holders of each class, as long as the company promptly notifies all shareholders of the approved action.

Sources of Requirements for Board Approval

The role of a Board in decision-making is a grayer area than the role of shareholders; it depends on a variety of factors.  Statutes of the state in which the corporation was formed mandate that certain actions be approved by the Board.   The company’s investment-related agreements may also require the approval of a supermajority of the directors or the investor-designated  director(s) for certain types of actions, such as budgets or expenditures over a certain amount.  To varying degrees depending on the relationship between the Board and management, the Board delegates some of its responsibility for the business and affairs of the company to the officers.  Commonly accepted practices also factor into how company decisions are made.

Actions of the Board can be documented in one of two ways: (1) minutes of a meeting duly called at which a quorum was present, or (2) a written consent signed by all the directors.

Standard Practice for Board or Shareholder Actions for Emerging Companies

Whereas a basic family-owned or service business with no new share issuances or other key structural changes may get by with just one annual shareholder meeting or written consent reelecting directors and one Board meeting or written consent reelecting officers and ratifying actions of management over the past year, that’s typically not adequate for an emerging technology company.  Such companies are often involved in bridge loans and equity investments, issuing stock options or restricted stock to employees and directors, and adding and removing officers and directors, all of which should be properly documented with meeting minutes or written consents.  Below is a list of documents and actions that commonly affect an early stage company’s life and the typical approvals that are either required by law, bylaws, or an agreement, or are just good corporate practice.

Document/Action General Guidelines Based on Requirements or Best Practices
Incorporator actions (i.e., filing initial Articles of Incorporation) Board ratification
Articles of Incorporation – amendments Board approval and usually shareholder approval
Bylaws – initial adoption and amendments Board or shareholder approval
Securities issuances and redemptions (e.g., stock, stock options, warrants, and convertible notes) Board approval and sometimes shareholder approval, depending on the context
Stock transfers Board and sometimes shareholder approval, if required by a shareholder agreement or other agreement with rights of first refusal
Stock Incentive Plan Board approval and, in most contexts, shareholder approval within one year
Investment documents for bridge and equity financings (e.g., Stock Purchase or Subscription, Voting, Right of First Refusal, and Investors’ Rights Agreements) Board approval and, in many contexts, shareholder approval
Conversion, merger, acquisition, and other key corporate restructuring events Board and, in many contexts, shareholder approval
Appointment and removal of officers Board approval
Election and removal of directors Shareholder approval and, in limited contexts, director approval
Executive employment documents, executive compensation plan/bonuses Usually Board approval and sometimes shareholder approval*
401(k) plan, profit sharing plans, and similar plans Board approval
Loans, credit lines, and other bank financings, including authorized signatories Board approval and sometimes shareholder approval*
Annual budget Board approval and sometimes shareholder approval*
Audit firm selection Board approval and sometimes shareholder approval*
Lease – new, extension, or significant amendment Board approval
Arms-length agreement with related company (e.g., Intercompany Agreement, IP Licensing Agreement) Board approval and sometimes shareholder approval*
Term sheets (e.g., for investor financings, joint development, licensing) Usually Board approval
Important agreements with key business partners (e.g., research, development, licensing, supply, distribution, etc.) Usually Board approval

* in certain limited contexts involving outside investors with certain contractual rights

Routine agreements related to sales, consulting, vendors, confidentiality, and non-executive employees are typically decided on by management.  Each company’s situation differs, so it is often a good idea to talk with your attorney when deciding on the parameters for proper approvals.

Consequences of Failing to Obtain Necessary Approvals

You may be asking, “Who cares anyway?”  Your investors, future acquiror, regulatory agencies, and future potential disgruntled employees and business partners care.  You have a vested interest because you are personally and financially vested in the company’s success.   Failure to comply with appropriate approval levels and best practices can yield the following “parade of horribles,” many of which we have seen firsthand:

  • Your investment deal could get unwound, requiring the company to return investment funds (now spent) to the investors.
  • The Internal Revenue Service may audit the company and discover it has violated Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code and impose taxes and penalties on the equity grant recipients.
  • Your acquisition or venture capital investment could be delayed while your attorneys fix past errors and omissions.
  • You could lose credibility in front of your Board members for failing to bring key information to their attention.
  • Your standing in a lawsuit could be compromised because you failed to obtain adequate board and shareholder consents approving a later disputed action.
  • In egregious situations, the “corporate veil” could be pierced due to this and other negligence, exposing you and others to personal liability.

While corporate governance may at times seem like self-serving fluff, it can help prevent these and other time- and money- draining problems.

Advantages of Obtaining Proper Board and Shareholder Consents

By understanding the roles and interplay between Boards, shareholders, and management, you will be in a better position to know when proposed actions are to be approved by which constituency or group.  Doing so will help you gain the trust of your stakeholders and avoid problems down the road.


October 3rd, 2012 by Macy Stoneback | Permalink | No Comments


From Fumes to Funding Event at Forward Technology Festival 2012

On Saturday, August 18, 2012, AlphaTech Counsel hosted its second annual event associated with the Forward Technology Festival 2012.  The From Fumes to Funding event was offered as a track of BarCamp, held at the Engineering Centers on the UW-Madison campus.  The topics were divided into three sections: Incubate, Accelerate, and Capital to Grow.  Experienced entrepreneurs, attorneys, and founders of accelerators moderated the sessions and sought input from the attendees on a variety of common challenges faced by emerging technology company founders.  Much like last year’s event on Capital Saving and Raising held at the Brink Lounge, the attendees engaged in lively discussion, asked questions, and shared their experiences.  We put together a list of resources mentioned during the event:


Casey Allen kicked off the Incubate section of the program, fostering a discussion about the people associated with technology startups.  The group shared their experiences regarding whether to have co-founders, how to meet them, and how to split the equity pie.  While it is tempting to give each founder an equal percentage, experienced members of the audience urged entrepreneurs to weigh the relative contributions of time, money, expertise, leadership, and other contributions of each founder and assign a value to each to arrive at an appropriate equity distribution.  Casey stressed the importance of hiring an attorney experienced at working with emerging technology companies and granting founders shares subject to vesting.

In the Business Model and Customer Development session moderated by Greg Meier, he shared the current trend away from long business plans and toward more expedient business models, consisting of these steps: 1) capture the hypothesis, 2) validation / minimum viable product, 3) demand creation / scaling, and 4) company building.  Using posters with Alexander Osterwalder’s business canvas model, four volunteers from the group described their businesses and Greg challenged them to narrow and define with specificity their proposed customers and value proposition.  Some attendees pointed out that a business plan is still needed in certain contexts.


Chad Sorenson shared his experiences scaling a product-based business, particularly with regard to test markets, building a distribution network, and managing inventory.  He learned that more reliable data can be derived from getting solid sell-through rates focused in one geographical area rather than by broad distribution.  While it is common to use your local area as a test market, he suggested that you may also want to test the market in another location as you may have home court advantage locally.  He and others learned through experience to maintain inventory on the low side when scaling up the business, because needing to produce more is a much better problem to have than unsold inventory.  Chad also engaged the group on challenges faced by entrepreneurs scaling a service-based business.

Jonathan Fritz started his session on incubators and accelerators by describing the distinction between them.  Incubators are typically sponsored by government, nonprofits, and universities and provide basic support services and camp sessions to help translate a rudimentary idea into a prototype (e.g., research parks).  Accelerators are intensive multi-week programs in which the accelerator receives equity of startup companies in exchange for cash, mentoring, space, exposure to investors, and other services.  All accelerators are not created equal; programs vary by stage of the company, industry focus, program length, the amount of cash, percentage of equity, and value-added services.  Interested founders should research various accelerators to find the ones best suited for them and apply to more than one.  The value of the mentoring and network far exceeds the value of the cash investment.

Capital to Grow

The final session on raising capital, led by Matt Storms, began with a discussion of friends and family rounds.  The group discussed how to ask for money and ways to structure the investment (e.g., loan, bridge financing, or equity investment).  Identifying milestones and the amount of cash needed to get to a liquidity event is a useful exercise.  Some cautioned to keep friends and family rounds small to reduce the time and expense of chasing down dozens for signatures when raising future capital can be expensive and time-consuming.  The additional disclosure requirements and risks of selling securities to those who are not an accredited investor were mentioned.  Crowdfunding, raising up to $1 million in small increments from multiple investors through registered intermediaries online, presents opportunities and issues yet to be discovered, as the Securities and Exchange Commission has not yet published regulations regarding the crowdfunding provisions of the JOBS Act.  Matt Storms then turned the discussion towards angel investments.  Experienced investors suggested building relationships with investors (asking for tips and sharing general information about your company and plan) far in advance of pitching investors.

No “One Right Way” to Grow Early-Stage Technology Companies

As one moderator said, “There is no one right way.”  However, if one startup is facing a particular challenge, chances are others have as well and can share what they learned.  Through the exchange of information and experiences like this event and similar ones as part of the Forward Technology Festivial, the entrepreneurial community and its infrastructure can continue to grow.


August 23rd, 2012 by Macy Stoneback | Permalink | 2 Comments


Wisconsin Incorporation Documents

We figured it was about time at least one law firm did it: we are making available publicly sample Wisconsin incorporation documents for an emerging technology company startup:  The documents include Wisconsin Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws, Restricted Stock Agreement, initial consents, Invention Assignment Agreement, etc.

Like many of our clients, we have developed a way to use technology to increase efficiency while providing value.  We prepared the suite of sample incorporation documents by selecting from alternatives of a significant number of variables that are available for the automated systems that we have developed internally.  We programmed these variables into our incorporation documents to help us prepare the documents efficiently and accurately. We are making these documents available for informational and reference purposes.

In addition to automating incorporation documents, we have also automated bridge financing documents, employment and consulting documents, equity grant documents, and confidential disclosure agreements, among others.

Hopefully the sample documents will prove to be a good reference source for Wisconsin emerging company startups.

August 13th, 2012 by Matt Storms | Permalink | 1 Comment


94labs 2011 Summer Class Launch Event

94labs incubator (formerly Spreenkler incubator) recently showcased the fourteen companies graduating from its summer session. The event was hosted at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and featured the founders of the fourteen companies as well as the five companies emerging from the second-stage accelerator class. Joe Kirgues, Greg Meier, Steve Glynn, Emmanuel Mamalakis and others from 94labs led the event.

In introducing the 94labs incubator to the more than 300 attendees, co-founder Joe Kirgues explained the four main goals for companies going through the incubator: (1) develop a scalable business model, (2) build a software prototype, (3) identify and talk with potential customers, and (4) create an investor presentation. The idea is that the companies then leverage the capital, partnerships, and customers that they gained while in the program.

Each of the founding teams gave a four-minute pitch with slides. Steve Glynn emcee’d the program. Despite the stereotypes about young engineers, computer science, and math major graduates, the speakers were dynamic and articulate. Each team wore matching t-shirts with their company logo.

Here are short synopses of each of the companies:


Jungol offers an online platform to enable organizations to work together, with tools like to-do lists, file sharing and discussion boards, increasing efficiency and collaboration, leading to greater donations.

Door 6

Door 6 is developing a mobile game platform for making hard core games for mobile devices. The company was a finalist in Google’s Android Developer Challenge 2.

Quasi Electronics

Quasi Electronics offers a web-based tool and social community for non-professional market to design, build and order circuit boards. The tools on their site will facilitate the design and execution of electronics projects, targeting the rapidly growing non-professional market of students, DIYers, artists, and inventors.


Servique is an online platform for finding commercial and residential contractors. Their first city will be Milwaukee.

Open Education

Open Education offers a math learning software for teachers to create assignments online, where students can show their work, allowing teachers to track their progress.


Socle6 provides a private social network that allows users to better manage the dissemination of pictures and messages that, through traditional social media, often fall into the hands of recruiters, ex-friends, and others who should not have access.


Shindig offers a crowd-powered event booking platform that connects attendees, artists, and venues by allowing people to choose who they want to see perform where and when, by leveraging existing social media networks.


SASR has an iPad application called LivePaper for sharing class notes and communicating with professors and other students online, making studying more efficient and social.


ScioMD offers software to produce understandable lab test reports for patients. The software will compare a patient’s results with others in their demographic as well as give suggestions.


StyleShuffler offers a tool that gives personalized clothing suggestions, building on the customer’s preferences.

72 Web Design

72 Web Design offers professional campaign sites for small or local races, an alternative to more expensive web design firms. Their tools enable customization, online volunteer sign-up, and online political fundraising.

Searium Studios

Searium Studios is developing challenging multiplayer role-playing video game with unique, customized character and an immersive story targeting avid gamers, to be released on PC and xBox platforms.

PinPoint Software

PinPoint Software offers an expiration data management software called Date Check Pro, which tracks inventory expiration dates based on product purchases, saving grocers time and keeping expired items off of the shelves.


Jawnt is a social media related service that offers local hosts to provide authentic tours to travelers. The idea is to create unofficial and unique tours by giving people a “local’s view” of things to do.

The 94labs launch event was one of eight events that took place between August 18th and 27th as part of the Forward Technology Festival. The festival brought together up-and-coming and serial entrepreneurs, inventors, investors, and others plugged into the technology community.

A key financial backer of 94labs, Emmanuel Mamalakis, wrapped up the program with remarks that drew applause – that there’s no reason why Wisconsin can’t compete with the coasts in being a breeding ground for ideas, and that changing the culture of Wisconsin requires community, legislative, and family support.

September 5th, 2011 by Macy Stoneback | Permalink | No Comments


Capital Saving and Raising at the Brink

The Capital Saving and Raising at the Brink event held Monday, August 22, 2011 as part of the Forward Technology Festival was a success!  Entrepreneurs, investors, government representatives, and others interacted and shared ideas in a collaborative forum.  We put together a resource page for the event:

Capital Saving

In the Capital Saving segment led by Troy Vosseller, attendees were divided into six teams, and each team collaborated to identify the ways in which they have saved capital in their businesses.  Teams simultaneously entered their ideas in different tabs of a GoogleDocs workbook.  Team captains pitched their team’s top two ideas, and attendees voted electronically on the top two ideas.  The winning ideas were:

(1)  Run contests for everything (from logo designs to product ideas)

(2)  Get your customers, strategic partners, and others to pick up company expenses

Members of winning teams selected prizes from local startups,, FlattCola, and Sconnie Nation.  Many of the teams’ ideas are listed in the Team tabs in this GoogleDocs file:

Capital Raising

The second segment of the event focused on Capital Raising.  The session leader Matt Storms gave the attendees a choice of these topics to discuss, in addition to angel financings: founders financings, friends and family rounds, government and nonprofit funding and resources, and other topics such as incubators and venture debt.  Matt raised questions on these topics and attendees shared information and their experiences and perspectives as well as their questions.   Here is some of the advice raised by attendees:

  • Develop Relationships.  Raising capital and entering into strategic deals starts with developing relationships.  Investors value the quality of the management usually more than the technology or business model itself.  You may not know who is an accredited investor, but the well-established angel networks are a good place to start.  It’s never too early to approach VCs, angels, or strategic partners, not to pitch them, but just to ask for advice and build relationships to lay the groundwork for potential deals, referrals, or leads later.  A personal introduction to them through someone you know helps provide credibility.  It can be surprising, the types of companies that large consumer companies are looking to acquire (e.g., software, social media, security).  Generally, these types of companies prefer to be in contact with startups early, so they can help shape the direction of the business.
  • Expand Search Regionally.  In addition to looking for investors locally, expand your search to Chicago, the Twin Cities, and other areas in the region.  Network at area events and meetings.  Be prepared to answer what position local investors have taken with regard to your company, because the question will likely come up when searching for angel or venture capital money outside of your local area.
  • Educate Yourself.  Educate yourself on how to read your financial statements and understand the investors’ economics.  Also, understand legal terms related to investments.  Model out different scenarios with spreadsheets (e.g., liquidation preferences).  You’ll be better equipped to discuss deal terms.  As a couple people said, entrepreneurs should know as much about legal deal terms as their lawyers.  How you fare at the end of the day has as much or more to do with the legal terms than your pre-money valuation.  As one person mentioned in connection with the sale of the company, you don’t want to end up wearing a barrel.
  • Investment Range and Terms.  The amount of an angel investment can vary by type of business.  It can be as low as $20,000 or as high as $2 million, if syndicated.  Sometimes angel deals end up above $5 million, but that’s rare in our area.  Attendees suggested that $200k – $250k for an early stage IT deal is typical, whereas the range is higher for other types of companies due to greater development costs.  Go into a potential deal with angels knowing the terms you want — terms that are standard in the region and for your type of company and growth stage.  There is typically less negotiating with angels  if the proposed deals terms are within the range of what is normal.  Contrast that with VCs, who will give you a term sheet.  Drum up interest between multiple investors to increase your negotiating leverage.
  • Act 255 Tax Credits.  Apply early for Qualified New Business Venture status so future Wisconsin investors in your business can get the Act 255 25% income tax credits (assuming you meet the criteria).  Currently, it can take 6 – 8 weeks to get certificated and must be in place before an investor is eligible to receive the credit.  After your business plan is prepared, contact the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to see if your business meets the criteria and to discuss the application requirements.  Attendees stressed that not getting approved for the Act 255 program is not an invalidation of your business model; it just means your business didn’t meet the program criteria.  But, not meeting the criteria can affect your ability to raise capital locally.
  • Government Programs.  The Small Business Development Center and Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Network can help entrepreneurs tap into the federal well of money, and your regional development manager at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation can help you get in touch with state money.  The application process, particularly for SBIR/STTR grants and loans, can be long and drawn out; it helps to stay in touch with the grant program manager.  Madison Development Corporation offers venture debt to qualified Dane County businesses that have reached revenue stage, even if they have a negative cash flow.  One attendee suggested that government funding should be supplemental to other sources of funding, and you have to be careful to maintain the focus of your business.
  • Customer Funding.  Customers can be a source of funding, as they may want to invest in order to secure a right to be first-to-market with your product (that may be an add-on to theirs).  There were several in the audience that had done this, either receiving funding for their business or providing funding to others to enable them to expand.  They also may enter into a long-term contract which provides a solid stream of revenue.  Getting customer buy-in can provide validation to outside investors, as it demonstrates commercial interest.

Open Mic

The final segment of the program was an open mic session emcee’d by Jonathan Fritz.  Eleven attendees each gave a 2-minute pitch on an idea, and the attendees asked questions and provided feedback.  Ideas ran the gamut from tongue-in-cheek silly to potentially groundbreaking.

The Capital Saving and Raising at the Brink event was a success overall as attendees met new contacts, learned from each other, and had fun!  Several people urged doing it again next year.

August 26th, 2011 by Macy Stoneback | Permalink | No Comments


The Confusing World of Joint Ownership of Intellectual Property

A confusing topic for many entrepreneurs is joint ownership of intellectual property.  It often comes up in connection with joint development arrangements, subcontracting portions of work, joint ventures, and other collaborative projects involving intellectual property development, whether it be in connection with software, cleantech, medical device, drug development, or other technology-based initiatives.

Joint ownership of intellectual property can result when two (or more) people co-invent a patentable invention or co-author a joint work of authorship.  Joint ownership can also come up as a matter of a compromise in a contract.

While it may seem fair and a reasonable compromise to declare that all intellectual property developed as part of a collaborative project should be jointly owned, many of the implications of jointly owned intellectual property are counterintuitive.  For instance, joint ownership related to patents is very different than joint ownership of copyright.

So, let us go through the basic implications of joint ownership by the default rules in the United States for patents, copyright, trade secrets, and trademarks.

Joint Ownership of a Patent

In the absence of an agreement to the contrary, each joint owner of a patent may make, use, offer to sell, sell and import the patented invention without the consent of the other joint owners, provided that the joint owner does not infringe the patent rights under a separate patent.  Notably with patents, there is no duty of accounting among the owners of the patent.  In other words, one owner can profit from the patent and does not have to share  the proceeds of the profits with the other owner(s).

To exclusively license a patent to another, however, generally requires the consent of all the owners of the patent.  Also, the consents of all owners of a patent are generally needed for patent enforcement.  This means that in many cases, any single owner can limit enforcement of the rights under the patent.

Joint Ownership of Copyright

Analogous to patents, each owner of a copyright is free to copy, distribute, prepare derivative works based on the joint work, and exercise the other exclusive rights of copyright.  Unlike patents, however, joint owners of copyright do have to account to one another for profits they receive in connection with the jointly owned copyright.  In other words, each owner has to share the profits with the other owners.

To exclusively license copyright requires the consent of all the owners of the copyright.  Also, unlike joint owners of a patent, one owner of a copyright cannot block another owner of that copyright from suing for infringement by simply refusing to join in the suit.  While each individual owner has the right to enforce the copyright in preventing others from using the copyrighted material, another owner can circumvent that enforcement by simply licensing to the “infringer” the right to use the copyrighted material.

Joint Ownership of a Trade Secret

The law surrounding joint ownership of trade secrets is not as well established as it is for patents and copyright.  As with copyright, joint owners of a trade secret likely have to account to one another for profits related to the trade secret.  Although, that conclusion is not entirely clear by case law or statute.  To exclusively license a trade secret likely requires the consent of all the owners of the trade secret.  Sometimes joint ownership can make maintaining secrecy difficult, however, which if compromised could jeopardize the trade secret status.  Although in some contexts, joint owners may have an obligation to one another to keep a trade secret confidential.

Joint Ownership of a Trademark

While joint ownership of trademarks is possible, it is somewhat unusual in that joint ownership is counter to the fundamental purpose of a trademark, which is to serve as a designation of origin from a single entity or person.  A more common strategy is a jointly owned single entity owning the mark.  When there is joint ownership of a trademark, however, as with copyright and trade secrets, joint owners of a trademark likely have to account to one another for profits related to the mark.  To exclusively license a trademark requires the consent of all the owners of the trademark.

Other Issues of Joint Ownership of Intellectual Property

There are a few other general things to keep in mind with regard to joint ownership of intellectual property.  As with the status of joint ownership itself, the parties can modify many of the default rules by addressing the particular issues in a contract, subject to certain legal restrictions such as those related to antitrust.  For example, the parties can decide that only one party is in charge of registration, maintenance, and prosecution of the intellectual property and that the parties must share all royalties in a certain manner (e.g., 70/30).

In addition, the default rules outlined above are quite different in many foreign countries.  For example, in Canada and the U.K., in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, a joint owner of a patent, while having the right to exploit the patented invention, has no right to license it to a third party without the consent of the other owners.

While joint ownership makes sense in certain contexts, many times it does not.  Often joint ownership sounds good in concept at a very high level, but when emerging companies understand the implications of joint ownership of intellectual property they frequently try to avoid it or they contract out of many of the default rules.

July 26th, 2011 by Matt Storms | Permalink | 5 Comments


Spreenkler Seed Incubator Launch Night

Last night I attended the Spreenkler Launch Night in Milwaukee. What a great event! It marked the culmination of months of hard work by the inaugural class of the Spreenkler seed incubator by showcasing the graduating class of founders. More importantly, it marked the initial concerted effort in the area to use a systematic approach to create, refine, and commercialize multiple software/Internet-based products and services. And probably even more importantly, as evidenced by the event last night, the incubator brought together a community of like-minded people from all parts of the region and ends of the political spectrum who are motivated to work together to create exciting new technology companies in our area.

Here’s some information about the new companies:


The first company that presented was Eventcopia. The company ties local businesses with customers by linking existing event calendar systems. It enables companies to provide more detailed information to their customers about the customers’ particular upcoming events, including things to anticipate in connection with the events and special pricing and offerings that the customers can take advantage of in connection with the event. Eventcopia has at least four beta customers in the Milwaukee area.

KnockDown Ninja

KnockDown Ninja is a company that “puts butts into seats.” It uses social media tools in a unique way for event promotion. Specifically, it uses peer-to-peer promotion and rewards those who promote an event through lower prices for the event for the promoters and their friends. The company takes a commission on sales and is current in beta testing.


The third company that presented was CrowdSling. The company organizes and validates opinions. How so? They provide a platform to users to identify issues and for others to take supporting or contrary positions. CrowdSling also enables others to evaluate the quality of the opinions and the ability to sort the opinions by how strong the opinions are rated.


ZoomShift offers a web-based staff scheduling tool. It enables companies like restaurants to create and communicate schedules to employees within in a couple of minutes, rather than a few hours. It also allows employees to change and swap schedules through the application. It recently landed its first beta customer.


The final company that presented was Offermation. Offermation focuses on online advertising for small business. It uses a wizard web-based system to create and monitor online advertising campaigns. It covers online advertising, coupons, text messages, and other advertising mechanisms.

Kudos to Greg Meier, Steve Glynn, Joe Kirgues, Emmanuel Mamalakis, and the rest of the Spreenkler team for their efforts. Exciting stuff. Well done.

May 13th, 2011 by Matt Storms | Permalink | No Comments