| In This Issue
|Innovators converge on Madison
'Portfolio' shows investment climate
WAN letter to SEC on accreditation
Great Oaks on tap for WIN meeting
VC deals spike for WI companies
Angels get win with company exit
Mobcraft brewery crowdfunding
New accelerators launch
Ideadvance funds announced
'Badger FoF' topic at July meeting
Deals, acquisitions and news
| Did You Know?
|The oval shape of the Culver's restaurant logo came from founder Craig Culver altering the sign of an A&W restaurant at the first location in Sauk City, Wis. before it opened in 1984.
| Become a WAN Member
|Your $750 WAN membership also includes a membership to the Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN). This "dual" membership is a $500 value included at no additional cost to you.
Your WIN membership entitles you to one free pass to both major conferences (Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference and Early Stage Symposium), as well as regular WIN events in Madison, Milwaukee, Appleton, Central Wisconsin, Western Wisconsin and the Lake Superior regions.
For more information on WAN memberships, call 608-442-7557 or click here to join.
| WAN Leadership
Tim Keane (Chair)
Golden Angels Network
Wis. Economic Development Corp.
Shamrock / BrightStar Foundation
Wisconsin Technology Council
Wisconsin Investment Partners
Angels on the Water
Emeritus: Lorrie Keating Heinemann, co-founder
| 'WisBusiness: The Show'
|On the latest episode, Liz Schrum speaks with Culver's CEO and co-founder Craig Culver about his approach to the restaurant business. Also, Tom Still speaks about the future for startup companies and venture capitalists, and the WisBusiness.com Stock Report for early June 2014 provides insight on coal use and job training.
Tricia Braun, WEDC
Joe Kremer, Isomark
| Wisconsin Technology Council
|The Wisconsin Angel Network is a program of the Wisconsin Technology Council.
Join the Tech Council's mailing list to stay up-to-date on news, events, programs and more!
Other quick links:
Wisconsin Innovation Network
Tech Council Newsroom
Inside Wisconsin by Tom Still
| Newsletter Sponsors
Conference highlights state's innovation economy
The 12th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs Conference brought more than 500 people
to the Alliant Energy Center in Madison for two days in early June. The conference attendees ranged from venture capitalists to active Wisconsin angel investors, from
experienced entrepreneurs who have started multiple companies to students who
are just getting started.
Renaissance Learning CEO Jack Lynch; Culver's founder Craig Culver, this year's
"Seize the Day" award winner; and Internet 2 President and CEO Dave
Lambert, among others. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker stopped by, along with Mary Burke, a Democratic candidate
for governor. Finalists in the Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest
squared off, with Elucent Medical and Laura King taking home the grand prize.
Here is a roundup of
WSJ: Breast cancer surgical detection system wins 2014 Gov's Biz Plan Contest
WSJ: Entrepreneurs share their tales at the Wis. Entrepreneurs Conference
Tech Council: Gov. Walker makes remarks at 12th annual Wis. Entrepreneurs' Conference
Xconomy: Seeds, Bees and Startups: Scenes from the Wis. Entrepreneurs' Conference
Wisbusiness.com: Venture capitalists say Midwest ripe for tech boom
WSJ: Wisconsin's business startup figures: Which companies matter most?
Venture Best: (Don't) Go West, Young Entrepreneur
Deals up, dollars down for state in 2013, new 'Portfolio' shows
More than $128
million was invested into Wisconsin early stage companies in 2013, a 20 percent
drop in total funding from the year before, according to the annual Wisconsin Portfolio, a report produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council and its
Wisconsin Angel Network.
However, the drop in
dollars came alongside a 16 percent jump in the number of state companies that
raised some investment capital over the year.
The report tracked a total of 86 companies that raised capital, ranging from $25,000 to other deals in the millions, according to data pulled from public reports, filing and surveys. At least 27 state companies raised at least $1 million in 2013. Read more and download a copy of the report here.
WAN, state angel groups send letter to SEC to protect
The Wisconsin Angel Network and a number of state angel groups submitted a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission this week urging regulators to keep the current net worth and income thresholds in place for establishing accredited investor status.
Nine of the angel groups and networks across Wisconsin signed on in support of the letter. The SEC is conducting a review of the current accredited threshold of $1 million net worth, excluding the value of a primary resident, or $200,000 in annual income.
“A contraction in angel investing would stall local economic development, university technology initiatives, and stem innovation and job growth,” the letter states. “In short, a higher threshold would widen the ‘flyover state’ funding gap.”
Read more from a top SEC official on the review here and more on the letter from state investors here.
Oaks, two portfolio companies on tap for
June 24 WIN-Madison
roads that bind Madison with New York and Boston will intersect at theTuesday, June 24 meeting of the Wisconsin
Innovation Network in Madison.
Learn more about
Great Oaks Venture Capital, a New York-based venture fund with strong Madison and
Wisconsin ties, as well as two of its portfolio companies – Plyfe, an automated
marketing platform led by Madison native Mateen
Aini, and Fetch Rewards, a Madison firm that is reinventing how people
use mobile applications to shop for groceries, led by Boston native Wes Schroll.
Great Oaks partner John Philosophos will talk about his firm's investment strategy.
Read more about the event and get registered here.
|Summer's start brings flurry of venture capital deals
Several relatively large venture capital rounds were raised by Wisconsin companies over the past several weeks, building on positive vibes for the state's early stage economy.
Among the deals recently announced were:
See below in the deals section for more on a slew of other, smaller raises across the state. In total, just over the past month or so, state companies have raised nearly $25 million.
Angel group gets win with portfolio company deal
The Chippewa Valley
Angel Investor Network was among the investors who saw a solid return from
its investments in Minnesota-based ABILITY Network, which recently received
a $550 million strategic investment.
Wisconsin angel group made their first investment in the healthcare technology
company in 2006. ABILITY recently received the large strategic investment from
Summit Partners, a growth equity firm based in California that was also featured at a
Wisconsin Angel Network investor event in Madison.
Read more on the
Mobcraft first to test state crowdfunding waters
Mobcraft, a Madison crowdsourced brewery, will likely be the first company to use Wisconsin's new crowdfunding exemption to raise money from ordinary state residents.
The company, which was the Advanced Manufacturing category winner in the 2014 Wisconsin Governor's Business Plan Contest, is the only company currently listed as an exempt offering on the Department of Financial Institutions website.
Read the full Journal Sentinel story here.
|New accelerators launch in Madison and Milwaukee
|Two new business accelerators are launching this summer in Madison and Milwaukee, focused on helping Wisconsin-based companies grow.
Madworks at Campus, an accelerator program being run on the UW-Madison campus, will launch in June for 11 companies. The effort was developed by the UW-Madison Law and Entrepreneurship Clinic, along with University Research Park and WEDC. Read more on the program in the State Journal.
Meanwhile, the Denver-based Think Global Institute announced its plans for a summer accelerator program in Milwaukee for women-owned businesses. Read more here.
|Twelve projects selected for state's new seed fund program
The University of
Wisconsin-Extension and its partners selected 12 UW faculty, staff, students
and affiliated companies to receive up to $25,000 each through the Ideadvance Seed Fund recently.
UW System and the
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) created the $2 million seed
fund, which launched in February to help get ideas commercialized.
Read more on the
program and grant recipients here.
fund of funds' topic at July's WIN-Madison
Learn more about the
status of the new Badger Fund of Funds (http://badgerfundoffunds.com)
at the July 22 meeting of the Wisconsin
Innovation Network in Madison.
The meeting will
feature a presentation by the fund’s managers, Sun Mountain Kegonsa, who are
developing plans to invest $25 million from the state of Wisconsin plus
matching private dollars in Wisconsin-based companies.
To learn more and get
registered, go here.
| Deals, acquisitions, exits and news
Aver Informatics, a health IT company based in Green Bay, closed a $8.5 million funding round led by Drive Capital and GE Ventures. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Spendship, a mobile marketing startup started in Madison and that raised money from Wisconsin angel investors, was acquired by a Boston-based company. Xconomy
OpenHomes, Inc. a Madison real estate startup raised $180,000 from CSA Partners, Angels on the Water, Mark Bakken and Gener8tor. News release
Isomark, a Madison firm developing the non-invasive “Canary” breath analyzer, raised $150,000 from WARF to help support a new patient study. News release
Abodo, a Madison online apartment listing service, has raised more than $945,000 from investors, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Montage Talent, a Delafield provider of interview video technology, announced it has raised $6 million in a round led by Beringea LLC, a Detroit private equity firm. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
PerBlue, a Madison mobile gaming company, announced it has raised nearly $3 million from investors, including Lightbank, a Chicago-based venture capital firm. Wisconsin State Journal
Fishidy, a Madison startup that has built a mapping tool and social network for fishing enthusiasts, closed a $1.5 million funding round led by Chicago's Hyde Park Angels. Other investors included Wisconsin Super Angel Fund, BrightStar, The Gialamas Company, Jeff Russinow and other individual angel investors. News release
FluGen, a Madison biotech company developing a universal flu vaccine, raised $3.4 million in a bridge financing round. Xconomy
Wellbe, a healthcare tech company in Madison, raised $435,000 from investors in an ongoing funding round, according to an SEC filing. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Forkforce, a Madison startup social network tailored for the food and beverage service industry, closed a $250,000 funding round. Investors included KSFI Partners, LLC and individual Wisconsin-based angel investors such as Marc Vaccaro, Co-Founder of The Great Lakes Companies, Inc. News release
Interfacial Solutions, a provider of thermoplastics R&D and production services, based in River Falls, was acquired by Stratasys Ltd., a leading global provider of additive manufacturing solutions. News release
|June 24 - Great Oaks, two portfolio companies on tap for WIN-Madison
July 22 - Badger Fund of Funds featured at WIN-Madison
Aug. 8 - Lake Superior Business and Technology Conference, Ashland
Nov. 12-13 - Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, Madison, Monona Terrace