The Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) is paving the way for local entrepreneurs and assisting them in bringing their business ideas alive by organizing and hosting the Chippewa Valley HATCH Program. Fostering more Startup entrepreneurs makes sense because of the role they play in helping the Chippewa Valley grow and prosper. CCEDC once again teamed with the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Inc. and several area local businesses at Cowboy Jack’s Saloon in Altoona, WI on Thursday October 17, 2019 to further develop the entrepreneurial eco-system. The HATCH Program-in its second year- is a rotating, high-energy idea pitch program designed to facilitate connections between prospective entrepreneurs and those within a community who support them such as industry experts, professional service firms, banks, non-profits, business leaders and investors.

“Brightstar and WEDC were impressed with the success that the HATCH Program had last year in supporting entrepreneurs in the Chippewa Valley and we look forward to seeing the same results with this innovative program again in 2019,” said Thomas M. Shannon, President & CEO, Brightstar Wisconsin Foundation,. “We are pleased to partner with WEDC and CCEDC to be able to provide more resources to entrepreneurs through programs like HATCH.”

“Financial supporters of this event included Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Advanced Laser Machining, CCF Bank, Badgerland Printing, River Prairie Wealth Partners, RuderWare, Xcel Energy, Johnson Financial Group, Dunn County EDC, Small Business Development Center, Musky Tank LLC, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, University of Wisconsin Stout and UW-Stout Fab Lab. We owe the success to this event to our sponsors and we thank them for all their support in CCEDC activities, “noted Charlie Walker CCEDC President/CEO.

Over a dozen applications were submitted for the pitch event and CCEDC had a challenging task of narrowing down and selecting nine finalists for the Chippewa Valley Hatch Program. To compete for the reward prize of $5,750.00, the final nine competitors traveled from locations that included Chippewa Falls, Stanley, Menomonie, Eau Claire, Stevens Point and even as far as Saint Michael Minnesota. Using their cell phone-over 125 spectators in audience had the opportunity to vote for their “favorite” entrepreneur. The audience favorite received $500 in professional services from Badgerland Printing.

The nine participants included, Kraig Schulz from Autonomous Tractor Corporation, Cece Ketchum from Modern Lifestyle Luggage, Jim McDougall from UpStream, Eric Boud from Heart to Heart, Brad Morse from Morse Research, Inc., Nathaniel Hitchcock from Fast Nav, Nate Forster and Justin Manier from J&N Product Design Group, LLC, Greylan Larson and Alex Stout from Clearwater Labs and Jesse Woodward, Alexandra Bauer, and Allison Rigotti from Critical Frame. They each were given five minutes to Pitch or present their idea in front of judges and the live audience.

After a 15 minute deliberation from judges-Paul Madsen of Cowboy Jack’s Saloon, John Walton from Advanced Laser Machining, Stephen Bianchi from CCF Bank, Becca Cooke from Red’s Mercantile and Pete Marsnik from Musky Tank LLC.- an overall business idea was chosen. The judges selected Jim McDougall from UpStream as the 2019 HATCH winning contestant. UpStream is a 100% wireless audiovisual system for homes, conference centers and businesses. UpStream’s technology leverages wireless networks to do what has only ever been done with cabling. Speakers, TV’s, projectors and other content devices are connected directly to their devices and are managed, controlled and synchronized without the need to be physically connected together. UpStream helps eliminate the need for AV wiring with back-end distribution systems that cost thousands without adding value.
McDougall stated that “UpStream’s solution will enable unprecedented flexibility and production values of audiovisual systems for conference and convention centers, retail businesses, the hospitality industry, churches, hospitals, and private residences. These customers purchase AV systems to get their message and content out, but pay thousands in non-value added installation costs and are limited in their approach. UpStream improves the viewer experience and expands the reach of our customer’s content. This will fuel the growth and stability of the business and create dozens of jobs in engineering, customer support, sales, and marketing.”

Those in attendance chose their “favorite”. Eric Boud from Heart to Heart received $500 dollars of professional services from by Badgerland Printing. Heart to Heart that provides a life line that connects NICU parents to their babies by streaming the parent’s heart beat to the infant who is in distress. This is critical as studies have shown that a parents heart beat aids in development, deceases pain perception, provide calming effects and reduce heart and lung problems. Heart to Heart also provides education, community and support for NICU parents.

CCEDC would like to thank all our sponsors, pitch contestants and audience members that participated in this year’s Regional HATCH event. If you would like to learn more about CCEDC or next year’s HATCH event please email



About the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Inc.
BrightStar is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation created to facilitate job creation and increase Wisconsin’s economic activity by deploying donated funds into equity stakes in early-stage, rapid growth companies. This unique approach is enabling the formation of new investment capital in Wisconsin through charitable donations to the foundation. Contributions to BrightStar are tax deductible.