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
Upcoming events                    
 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
Advisory Committee
Tim Keane (Chair)
Golden Angels Network
Lisa Johnson
Wis. Economic Development Corp.
Dick Leinenkugel
Northwoods Angels
Thomas Shannon
Shamrock / BrightStar Foundation
Tom Still
Wisconsin Technology Council
Andy Shrago

Wisconsin Investment Partners
David Ward
Angels on the Water

Emeritus: Lorrie Keating Heinemann, co-founder

Dan Blake
 '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.

Previous Shows:
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


June 2014 

Entrepreneurs Conference highlights state's innovation economy

 EC14-Cvent Revised

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.

Speakers included 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 event coverage: 

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 startup funding


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.

Great Oaks, two portfolio companies on tap for June 24 WIN-Madison
  Great Oaks  
Company startup 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 to Wisconsin

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.


The Northwest 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 investment here.

Crowdsource brewery 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.

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.

'Badger fund of funds' topic at July's WIN-Madison luncheon

 Badger Fund of Funds Green (2)

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

Upcoming Events
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

Cvent - Web-based Software Solutions