In This Edition
4490 Ventures at Aug. 14 WIN-MKE
Flu research at Aug. 26 WIN-MSN
Aug. 8 Biz and Tech event in Ashland
BPC reception held at Exec. Residence
2014 ESS set for Nov. 12-13
WEDC's SBIR Advance announced
WHEFA celebrates 35th anniversary
Free interns available
'WisBusiness: The Show'
Inside Wisconsin columns
Innovation news round-up
Events and opportunities
Sponsor a regional meeting
Promote your events
WisBusiness: The Show
|Click here for the latest episodes of "WisBusiness: The Show," which include a rising-and-falling stock report on Wisconsin business, commentary and an interview with a state business leader. Produced by Tweedee Productions and sponsored by Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek, UW-Milwaukee and Madison Gas & Electric.
| Entrepreneurs' Toolkit
The Entrepreneurs' Toolkit, a soup-to-nuts guide for Wisconsin entrepreneurs, is available at www.WItoolkit.com and through the Wisconsin Technology Council website. It was launched in April and is designed to give innovators a pathway to resources available in the state and beyond. Those resources include information on business assistance programs, sources of financing, permits and regulations, how to choose a business structure, how to write a business plan and more.
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|Welcome to the August 2014 WIN eNewsletter
Dear readers –
Providing opportunities for entrepreneurs and others to learn about current and new sources of capital is a part of how the Tech Council serves the state’s tech-based economy. Our Aug. 14 WIN-Milwaukee meeting featuring the 4490 fund continues a series that has included the Badger Fund of Funds, American Family Ventures and the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation. Other funds and networks will be highlighted in future WIN meetings, including John Neis of Venture Investors. Spread the word: Wisconsin has attractive early stage deals and investors who are scouting the market.
|New state fund, 4490 Ventures, to be featured at Aug. 14 WIN-MKE
Greg Robinson, the manager of the new $30 million 4490 Ventures fund, will discuss his Silicon Valley background and the unique opportunity he sees in Wisconsin companies during the Aug. 14 Wisconsin Innovation Network meeting in Wauwatosa.
Robinson, who spent 12 years in San Francisco’s venture capital world before coming to Wisconsin, was recently named the managing director of 4490, a fund established by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The fund is primarily focused on backing promising software startups in Wisconsin.
The luncheon will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 10499 Innovation Drive, Wauwatosa. Registration and networking begins at 11:30 a.m., lunch at 12 p.m. and the presentation at 12:15 p.m. Register and learn more here.
Influenza virus research focus of Aug. 26 WIN-Madison event
UW-Madison researcher Yoshihiro Kawaoka will discuss his work surrounding a potentially deadly avian flu virus at the Tuesday, Aug. 26 luncheon of the Wisconsin Innovation Network in Madison.
Kawaoka has engineered an avian virus that is nearly, but not precisely, identical to one that killed 40 million people in 1918 to show that it is possible for pathogens already present in nature to repeat some dreadful history. His research group used the engineered strain in animal models to determine how many mutations might be needed for such a virus to leap from animals to humans.
The luncheon will be held at the Sheraton Hotel on Madison’s John Nolen Drive. Registration and networking begin at 11:30 a.m., lunch at noon and the presentation at 12:30 p.m. Register and learn more here.
|WIN-Lake Superior to host August 8 conference in Ashland
The 2014 Lake Superior Business & Technology Conference will be held Friday, Aug. 8,
in Ashland. The event, which runs from 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at the
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, is $30 for general admission and
$10 for students.
The event will feature presentations from Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch; Bob Davies, UW-Stout professor and national business consultant; Doug Moquin, retired vice president of Phillips Plastics Corp.; Morna Foy, president of Wisconsin Technical College System; Jim Hagstrom, entrepreneur and developer with Blue Wave on the Bay; and Randy Hulke, director of UW-Stout Discovery Center.
Register here. For
more information on the conference, call the Ashland County
UW-Extension office at (715) 682-7017 or the Bayfield County
UW-Extension office at (715) 373-6104. The event is produced by the Lake
Superior chapter of the Wisconsin Innovation Network.
|BPC finalists reception held at Executive Residence
Finalists and sponsors from the 2014 Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest were joined by State Reps. Mike Kuglitsch and Robb Kahl on Aug. 6 for a reception at the Executive Residence in Maple Bluff. The event gave the dignitaries an opportunity to congratulate the finalists on their success and reiterate the importance of their entrepreneurial efforts. Thanks to Cresa Madison for sponsoring the event.
And thanks again to the contest sponsors, who made the more than $195,000 prize package available!
The 2015 BPC will kick off in late November, with the Phase 1 entry deadline on Jan. 31, 2015, at www.govsbizplancontest.com.
|Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium set for Nov. 12-13 in Madison
Mark your calendar - The 2014 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium will be held Nov. 12-13 at the Monona Terrace in Madison.
Through the Wisconsin Angel Network Investor Track, the conference will give selected companies the opportunity to make presentations and meet with investors, along with other entrepreneurs and business leaders. Many firms have cited participation in the conference as a key factor for significant business growth. The application process will open at www.wisearlystage.com in late August.
Watch for more information coming soon!
WEDC to provide funding to build upon federal SBIR grants
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. will provide $1 million in funding to entrepreneurs through a new program aimed at commercializing high-tech innovation. The program, called SBIR Advance, will be administered by the UW-Extension’s Center for Technology Commercialization and will be accessible to young companies throughout the state. Applications opened Aug 1.
Funds from the program are available to recipients of federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grants. The U.S. government created the SBIR/STTR programs to stimulate domestic high-tech innovation, providing $2 billion of federal research funding each year. Learn more here.
|WHEFA celebrates 35th anniversary; $20.6B in financing over time
The Wisconsin Health and Educational Facilities Authority recently closed the books on its 2013-14 fiscal year, completing 24 financings for $794 million. That brings to $20.6 billion the total dollar amount of 753 financing projects handled by WHEFA since its founding in 1979. Learn more here.
WHEFA is a member of the Wisconsin Innovation Network, the Tech Council's membership arm.
| Free company intern help available through UW-Madison course
|Students skilled in marketing, writing, graphic design and social media will be available during the UW-Madison fall semester through a course taught by Tom Still, president of the Tech Council.
“Case Studies in Science and Technology Communications” is a capstone course in the UW-Madison Department of Life Sciences Communications, available to seniors and graduate students. Students are available for an average of about five hours per week beginning in mid-September. Past interns have built web sites, written news releases, helped to manage marketing campaigns and more. A number have been hired by tech-based companies or news publications that cover technology. Learn more here.
| 'WisBusiness: The Show' covers news, commentary
Please watch these latest editions of "WisBusiness: The Show," the twice-a-month Web show covering state business news and issues.
On the latest episode of "WisBusiness: The Show," Liz Schrum speaks with Arjun Sanga of WiSys Technology Foundation about innovation on UW System campuses; Tom Still outlines scientific breakthroughs happening in Wisconsin; and the WisBusiness.com Stock Report covers hiring optimism and the state jobs picture.
Click here view the biweekly show, produced by Tweedee Productions for the Wisconsin Technology Council and WisBusiness.com, as well as archives of past shows. The show is sponsored by Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C., Madison Gas & Electric and UW-Milwaukee.
Guests on other recent shows:
Mark Reinstra, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati
Yumin Choi, HLM Venture Partners
| Inside Wisconsin columns tackle state, tech issues
Two research engines helping state’s manufacturing base remain strong
Innovation in manufacturing across a mix of sectors is essential for Wisconsin to retain its manufacturing “market share.” Two recent announcements demonstrate that commitment.
Technology becoming fifth “T” in North Woods economic portfolio
The Lake Superior region’s economy will likely always rest on some traditional pillars – timber, transportation, tourism and taconite ore – but technology is becoming a fifth “T” in the jobs creation lineup. At the Aug. 8 Lake Superior Business and Technology Conference, a collection of communities, educational institutions and business leaders will drill down into the economic bedrock of Ashland, a city of about 10,000 people on the shores of Lake Superior.
'Inversion,' outsourcing worth studying
While President Obama and others are right to worry about the long-term implications of American companies effectively renouncing their citizenship, the larger issue facing the White House and Congress is American competitiveness in a global economy. Tax reform that lowers rates and closes loopholes such as inversion should be the answer.
Why ‘outsourcing’ is a permanent (and necessary) part of the modern economy
The increasingly curious exchange between incumbent Gov. Scott Walker and challenger Mary Burke over the “outsourcing” of jobs illustrates how political campaigns and economic realities seldom mesh.
The hidden immigration crisis -- keeping foreign-born talent here
America graduates about 40,000 foreign-born students each year who have earned master’s and doctoral degrees in science, engineering and technology – and promptly kicks many of them out of the country to return home and compete against us. It’s a largely unseen side of the immigration debate that affects Wisconsin’s ability to compete in the global economy, as much or more than border-hopping.
Wisconsin sees influx of tech jobs and startups
The City of Milwaukee's latest economic development plan identifies five industry clusters primed for growth: water technology and research; food and beverage processing; headquarters and business services; finance and insurance; and industrial controls, automation, power and energy. If the city wants to embrace one more candidate for growth, however, it should consider adding information technology and software to the short list. The Milwaukee area arguably has precisely what the IT and software sector needs.
With talent and vision, tech companies can grow in mid-size cities
Speaking recently to the board of directors for the Wisconsin Technology Council in Eau Claire, Zach Halmstad of JAMF Software described a company that has grown sharply since 2010 by focusing on customer service and employee retention through pay and benefit packages that attract and grow talent.
| Innovation news round-up
Inc.: Great Lakes Region home to most active angel investors in the U.S.
Together, the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio accounted for 17 percent of angel deals. That compares to about 18 percent in California but just 13 percent in New England and 12 percent in New York.
Xconomy: Stealthy device startup Invisible Connect gets $2.5M from WI investor
Invisible Connect, a stealthy hardware startup based in Eau Claire, WI, has raised $2.5 million in seed money from an unnamed Wisconsin investor, according to the founder and an SEC document.
BizJournal: Aero-Stream among those in next round of ABC's 'Shark Tank'
While Karl Holt's idea may not be the sexiest of inventions, he pitched his Hartland-based business to ABC's television show "Shark Tank" and received a phone call to go the next round, which includes sending in an application and a video for the show. Aero-Stream was the first place advanced manufacturing winner in the 2010 Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest.
Xconomy: Startups still abandon Wis., but growing cluster keeping more here
There’s no doubt losing those companies hurts Wisconsin’s efforts to wean its economy off a dependence on agriculture and old-school manufacturing by building a high-tech cluster. Although the state continues to rank poorly in entrepreneurship rates and venture capital investments, it’s starting to build some momentum with new micro-VC funds, groups striving to nurture the nascent startup community, and a small-but-promising crop of growing young companies.
Biz Journal: Milwaukee fashion startup Wantable lands $1.5M Series A financing
Fast-growing Milwaukee fashion startup Wantable Inc. has secured $1.5 million in Series A funding, the company announced. The e-commerce startup, from Buyseasons Inc. founder Jalem Getz, closed the round with support from unnamed Wisconsin and California-based investors.
ABODO raises $1.25M in Series A funding to deliver hyperlocal apartment search
The hyperlocal online rental marketplace ABODO announced it has closed $1.25 million in Series A financing, led by American Family Ventures. Also joining the round are 4490 Ventures and Lakewest Venture Partners.
Xconomy: Ability Network exit a win for WI investors outside metro hubs
The Ability Network exit, which was among the largest healthtech transactions nationwide in the first half of 2014, brought a big payoff for a group of Wisconsin investors. One of Ability’s early investors was the Chippewa Valley Angel Investors Network (CVAIN), based in Eau Claire, WI, 93 miles east of Minneapolis.
NIH awards Imbed Bio $1.5M grant to develop wound healing nanofilm
Imbed Biosciences Inc. announced July 28 that it has been awarded a $1.5 million competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant from National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, a division of National Institutes of Health. Imbed is a past finalist in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.
JSOnline: Protein Foundry first startup in MCW's incubator program
Protein Foundry LLC, a start-up formed by four Medical College of Wisconsin scientists, may be the first in a string of spinoffs to be incubated at the school under a new program aimed at helping move more companies out the door.
PostCrescent: Aviation firm moving to Oshkosh
Minneapolis-based D’Shannon Aviation plans to relocate its aircraft engine overhauling business to Wittman Regional Airport following AirVenture.
Xconomy: Badger Fund of Funds to pump $90M-plus into WI startup scene
The plan for Wisconsin’s new fund-of-funds program is starting to come into focus. The headline: The Badger Fund of Funds could ultimately result in at least five new funds investing a minimum of $90 million in more than 100 Wisconsin startups over the next several years. That’s the biggest takeaway from a presentation Tuesday by two of the three managers of the fund-of-funds at an event hosted by the Wisconsin Technology Council’s Wisconsin Innovation Network in Madison.
WisBusiness: NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes breaks ground for Beloit facility
NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes LLC broke ground today for a new 50,000-square-foot facility at 1800 Gateway Blvd. in Beloit, Wis. When completed in late 2014, the facility will house the company’s headquarters and activities related to the production of the medical radioisotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). The facility is being constructed by Corporate Contractors Inc. of Beloit.
Olver to lead University Research Park
Aaron Olver, a former secretary of the state Department of Commerce and head of Madison’s economic development division, has been hired as managing director of University Research Park.
JSOnline: Chicago investors flock to Madison start-ups
Riding high on big paydays from companies such as Braintree, Groupon and GrubHub, Chicago investors are looking outside the Midwest's biggest city for some of their next investments. One increasingly popular option: Madison's digital start-ups.
Continued growth of Epic Systems has attracted the attention of the media
The continued growth of Epic Systems in Verona, a national leader in electronic health records, has attracted the attention of the news media. Here are stories from the Wisconsin State Journal and WKOW-TV in Madison.
WisBusiness: Professor’s science kit among top 100 tech products
A science kit to help students learn about nanotechnology has been selected as one of the top 100 technology products added to the market place for 2013. NanoFab Lab…in a Box!™ was developed by Mike Zach, associate professor of chemistry at UW-Stevens Point, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.
JSOnline: Dedicated Computing continues to grow, expand
Wisconsin native Don Schlidt, 46, came back to the state in 2008 to run Waukesha-based Dedicated Computing Inc. Schlidt had previously run four other businesses, most recently in Denver, where he led the electronic component design and distribution business of Arrow Electronics. Schlidt will join the Wisconsin Technology Council board of directors this fall.
State Journal: Idle Free Systems purchased by Minn. manufacturer
Madison's Idle Free Systems, a maker of auxiliary power units for over-the-road and work trucks, has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by Phillips & Temro Industries in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
BizJournal: Runzheimer buys Chicago travel technology firm ProcureApp
Runzheimer International, a Waterford provider of workforce travel programs, services and technology, said Thursday that it purchased Chicago travel technology firm ProcureApp Inc. Runzheimer International is a Wisconsin Angel Network member and was a participant in the 2014 Wisconsin Tech Summit.
Cray Inc. wins $174M contract with National Nuclear Safety Administration
Cray Inc., which has its manufacturing plant in Chippewa Falls, has been awarded one of its largest contracts ever. The supercomputer manufacturer -- founded by Seymour Cray in Chippewa Falls -- has won a contract with the National Nuclear Security Administration for the next-generation Cray XC supercomputer and a related storage system.
Promega continues its expansion with $30 million assembly plant
Promega, the granddaddy of Wisconsin's biotechnology industry, is still growing. Read about its latest expansion.
| News, events and opportunities
WIN-Lake Superior Business & Technology Conference
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Ashland
WIN-Milwaukee: 4490 Ventures
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Wauwatosa
WIN-Madison: New influenza virus
Sheraton Hotel, Madison
Investors' Edge: Trends in raising early stage capital
Fox Valley Technical College, Appleton
|Get WIN-volved! Membership has its privileges
Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN) is The Tech Council's membership subsidiary - a community-based economic development organization dedicated to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. In association with the Tech Council, WIN programs focus on the needs and challenges faced by new and growing technology-based businesses in Wisconsin. When you become a WIN member, your membership applies to all chapters, statewide. Membership is for one year starting with the month you join. Go here to learn more about the benefits of a WIN membership.
Thank you to the following individuals and organizations that have recently joined or renewed their WIN memberships:
Steadfast Capital Solutions
Jeff Von Holzen
Click here to fill out an online application to become a new member or renew your current membership!
|Sponsor your next regional meeting
|Sponsoring your chapter's next WIN meeting will give you and your company immediate exposure to Wisconsin's best and brightest people. WIN is a network dedicated to giving a voice to the technology community as a whole - from the bottom up! Sponsorship opportunities are available on a monthly or annual basis. Contact Maurice Cheeks for more information.
| Post events in our community events section
|Click here to add your event to the Tech Council Community Events section that is designed to assist in the development, growth and success of science- and technology-based businesses in Wisconsin.