Opening Up

Swimming With the Big Fish

Musky Tank Monthly Mixers aimed at budding entrepreneurs

Tom Giffey |

Have an idea for a new blockbuster business? Get ready to dive into the mix with Musky Tank Monthly Mixers, a new series of social, educational, and networking opportunities for Chippewa Valley entrepreneurs. The mixers – the first of which launches at 6:30pm Oct. 12 at the Leinie Lodge in Chippewa Falls – are sponsored by Musky Tank LLC, a business that that offers consulting to businesses, particularly start-ups and small- and medium-sized firms.

Pete Marsnik, one of the three veteran business executives who created Musky Tank, says the mixers will provide a non-threatening social environment for budding businesspeople, offering enough of a program to attract attendees but not a seminar that will consume an entire day.

“We think this makes the entrepreneurial environment better,” Marsnik said of the free mixers.

The gatherings will be aimed at entrepreneurs at various stages of development, as well as service providers. They are designed to help participants learn what it means to be an entrepreneur as well as to help them make connections. Each free monthly session will feature a guest speaker or panel for a 30- to 45-minute discussion, followed by 45 minutes or one hour of mixing.

The first session – titled “Wanna Start a Business?” – will cover topics such as what an entrepreneur is, the difference between a startup and a lifestyle business, deciding on an idea, product, or company, and more. The second mixer, which will be Nov. 9 at Forage inside Eau Claire’s Banbury Place, will be titled “Riding the Growth Curve,” while the Dec. 7 session, “Between Concept and Reality,” will be held in Menomonie. (A specific location for the latter event is TBA.)

Monthly mixer topics have already been plotted out for the coming year, and Musky Tank is partnering with economic development agencies in Dunn, Chippewa, and Eau Claire counties.

Marsnik, a founder of four companies and a former turnaround CEO, is also executive director of the Chippewa Valley Angel Investors Network. He co-founded Musky Tank with Robert Krause, a certified public accountant and retired tech company owner, and Scott Biederman, a former corporate general manager who founded a consulting and management services company.

In case you didn’t guess, the Musky Tank’s name is an Upper Midwest riff on the title of the TV show Shark Tank, on which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to high-profile investors. While Musky Tank is a for-profit business, the mixers are free (though registration is required) and those who attend are under no obligation to use the company’s services.

“If we have more entrepreneurial activity going on in the region, it’s good for us, and it’s good for where we live,” Marsnik said.

To learn more about Musky Tank and to sign up for a Musky Tank Monthly Mixer, visit