FREE Event will be Virtual in 2020

MILWAUKEE, WI (July 9, 2020) – Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. and its Summerfest Tech supporters are excited to announce the details of the third annual Summerfest Tech. The event will now shift from in-person to a one-day virtual event on September 2, 2020 and will continue to be offered FREE of charge.

“Shifting Summerfest Tech to a virtual platform allows Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. to continue to be a resource for the region’s tech and business communities. It is our hope that participants leverage Summerfest Tech as a way to grow in the current climate, network with business contacts and enhance their opportunity for success,” said Don Smiley, President and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.

Summerfest Tech will kick off at 8:00 a.m.with a keynote presentation from Mike Ellis, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer and Digital Officer, at Johnson Controls, discussing how to drive innovation forward to deliver unrealized customer value through the intersection of intelligent technology and human experience. Throughout the day there will be additional keynotes from Dell Technologies, discussing how to embrace diversity and inclusion in technology, from Data Holdings on securing data before, during, and after a crisis or pandemic, and from U.S. Cellular on 5G technology and the capabilities it enables for business, entrepreneurs, and communities.

Summerfest Tech will wrap up the day with a final keynote presentation from Rashaun Williams, a former investment banker turned venture capitalist focused on tech, consumer products & media companies. Rashaun co-founded Queensbridge Venture Partners with Nas and has over 130 investments in his portfolio and over 30 exits. Mr. Williams is currently a general partner in the MVP All-Star Fund which is a late-stage tech fund, and is currently working with members of the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Bucks. He will share his story as an African American moving through the ranks of Wall Street, becoming a venture capitalist, and the need for diversity in the venture capital and private equity industries.

New this year, Summerfest Tech will add breakout sessions in the morning and afternoon, exploring topics at a deeper level. The breakout sessions overviews are as follows:

  • In partnership, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and Connected Systems Institute at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will discuss elements of creating the workforce of the future. This creation accelerates the adoption of technology and innovation in our region, unleashing unlimited potential for transformative business model innovation across industries, particularly within advanced manufacturing.
  • Marquette University will explore what it really takes to lead innovation, including the mindset and skills required to effectively lead innovation and how attendees can consider their own readiness to serve the world and others through innovation.
  • For entrepreneurs, Wiplfi will be holding two workshop breakout sessions focused on growth modeling and strategic planning.
  • MKE Tech Hub Coalition will cover non-traditional on-ramps into the tech field including dedicated coding camps, apprenticeships, or re-skilling opportunities.
  • American Family Insurance will sponsor a panel discussion on the representation, challenges, and future opportunities for underrepresented communities of color within the tech industry.

Full programming details and FREE registration can be found at

The afternoon programming for Summerfest Tech will also feature a pitch competition, produced by Startup Wisconsin and sponsored by Wipfli. “Wipfli is very proud to be sponsoring the Summerfest Tech 2020 pitch competition, now a virtual event,” said Girish Ramachandra, Technology Industry Leaders at Wipfli. “Technology innovation and digital transformation are more critical than ever before for businesses and communities across the board and Summerfest Tech is an excellent way to support our region’s startup ecosystem. We are confident that we will see strong competition from a diverse set of innovators and entrepreneurs.”

Startups who have raised less than $250,000 in funding or generated less than $500,000 in revenue will be eligible, and must operate in these areas:

  • Future of Work 
  • Health
  • Mobility
  • AgTech 
  • WaterTech 
  • EnergyTech 
  • FinTech 
  • InsureTech 
  • Advanced Manufacturing

A variety of notable judges will determine four winners of the pitch competition who will each take home portions of a $20,000 cash prize, provided by Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). Applications will be accepted now through August 13th. For more information or to apply, please visit

Summerfest Tech is made possible with the support of Dell Technologies, Data Holdings, Johnson Controls, American Family Insurance, Marquette University, U.S. Cellular, Wipfli, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Heartland Business Systems, and Godfrey & Kahn. Media support is provided by the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Additional community support comes from gener8tor, i.c.stars, MKE Tech Hub Coalition, Startup Wisconsin, Wisconsin Tech Association, and Young Enterprising Society (YES).

For registration information, programming details, or to become a partner of Summerfest Tech 2020 visit and follow LinkedIn for event updates.

About Summerfest Tech

Summerfest Tech began in 2018 with the purpose of leveraging the Summerfest brand to showcase technology and provide a forum for attendees from the tech and business community to network, education, and celebrate the evolution of technology. Summerfest Tech champions the regional business community, while spotlighting Wisconsin’s growing reputation as a tech hub, highlighting the growth and opportunity in the region. Programming from local, regional, and national speakers, as well as a cash-prize pitch competition, brings the tech community together, connecting around relevant topics. Summerfest Tech will take place virtually on September 2nd, 2020. For more details, visit