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StartingBlock Welcomes New Board Members

StartingBlock Madison - New Board Members2

Becca Cooke (top left), Heather Wentler (top right), Max Fergus (bottom left), Ed Javier (bottom right)

StartingBlock Madison announces the appointment of four new members of its Board of Directors.

Joining the Board of Directors are: Ed Javier, Becca Cooke, Max Fergus and Heather Wentler. “All four of our new Board members embody the values of our organization and bring talent, expertise and energy to the table. We are very fortunate to have them by our side as we continue to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Madison and throughout the state of Wisconsin ”, Nora Roughen-Schmidt Executive Director.

The StartingBlock Madison Board of Directors now includes 20 incredibly talented and well connected people who represent leaders in entrepreneurship both in and outside of Madison, start-up members of StartingBlock, and representatives of our founding partners (American Family, gener8tor, Capital Entrepreneurs, and Doyenne Group).

BECCA COOKE is an entrepreneur and small business owner from Eau Claire, WI. She is the founder and executive director of Red Letter Grant, a non-profit organization that provides technical support, networking opportunities, and start-up capital to women-owned businesses throughout ten counties in western Wisconsin. Becca is a Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Board Member where she serves as Board Secretary and co-chair to the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Committee. Cooke also serves on the Steering Committee for WiSys Venture Home. She is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business.

HEATHER WENTLER is the Executive Director & Co-Founder of Doyenne, a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to building entrepreneurial ecosystems where women of all backgrounds thrive. Heather has also founded other companies, advises numerous startup ventures and serves on advisory boards & boards of directors for entrepreneurs support organizations across Wisconsin. Through her professional training as an educator and advocate for those seen as “other”, heather is able to relate with entrepreneurs on a personal and professional level to meet them where they’re at to create a holistic and manageable outlook for a venture, as well as connect entrepreneurs with other professionals in order to best support a venture’s growth and success.

MAX FERGUS is the CEO and Co-Founder of LÜM. LÜM was founded from a UW think tank that focused on rapidly expanding industries with antiquated business models. In January 2020, LÜM became the first-ever platform to allow for direct-to-artist virtual gifting on a western music streaming platform with the Company’s digital in-app currency – the Note.

Prior to starting LÜM, Fergus was one of the few students admitted to the UW-Madison school of business as an incoming freshman. Through college, Max worked in Shanghai, China as a financial analyst for a healthcare and life science venture capital firm and for Leerink Partners in San Francisco as an analyst in their investment banking division. With an undeniable passion for entrepreneurship, Fergus decided to forgo his offer starting at the healthcare investment banking division for Rothschild & Co in New York after graduation to pursue his dreams in business with LÜM.

ED JAVIER is the Director of Entrepreneurship Programs for WEDC. Before this role, he had been working in the startup space for more than 15 years. He is an experienced executive that helped build and scale start-up companies such as and; led technology SaaS product launches into new industries; and in 2015, as the General Manager pivoted and sold the leading real estate website in the Philippines to Rocket Internet. Since moving to the Milwaukee area, Ed has been consulting local companies in Marketing and Sales Strategies, mentored startups and co-organized Milwaukee’s first Startup Week. Ed received a master’s degree in International Marketing from Depaul University-Kellstadt in Chicago and his BA in Economics from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.


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