| In This Issue
|Nearly 600 attend 2014 ESS
Forum brings angels to Lambeau
Digital coupon startup acquired
Baird closes 4th venture fund
Nordic founder to start new fund
Phoenix Nuclear gets $2M investment
Connecture IPO helps startup vibe
Madison ranks highly for founders
MKE medical company gets acquired
Edison DC Systems closes round
Deals, acquisitions and news
| Did You Know?
|Indicative of the challenges in attracting top tech talent, a Cornell University undergrad blogged about some of the offers she recently received for summer internships. Top tech companies in Silicon Valley have reportedly offered sought-after interns more than $9,000 per month for summer internships.
| 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'
|The latest episode, filmed at the 2014 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, features an interview
with Praveen Sinha, CEO
and founder of HealthMyne, about his company and the investment climate in
Paula Sorrell, Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Susan Healy, Ascendancy Advisors
|Wisconsin Innovation Index
|Are you involved in Wisconsin's growing tech
scene? Do you want to get more notice among startups, investors and
others who work with innovators in the state? If so, the recently released Innovation Index map of tech assets in Wisconsin could be for you. The Wisconsin
Technology Council produced the statewide map in partnership with American Family Insurance.
If you would like to purchase a copy for your office, or to find out how your organization can be listed, contact WIN Director Maurice Cheeks at 608-442-7557.
|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
Early Stage Symposium celebrates history, drives state forward
Nearly 600 people attended the 2014 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium at Madison's Monona Terrace in November, as tech innovation leaders from across the state and region gathered for a mixture of the latest trends, best practices and to hear pitches from emerging companies.
The 30th anniversary of the annual conference featured speakers such as Kevin Conroy of Madison's Exact Sciences, a fast-growing company which is developing a home colon cancer test kit (video); a panel looking back at 30 years of venture conferences in the state with past participants like TomoTherapy founder Rock Mackie (video); and a discussion around innovation at major R&D institutions featuring UW Chancellor Becky Blank, UW-Milwaukee Interim Chancellor Mark Mone and Jacqueline Fredrick, president and CEO of the BloodCenter of Wisconsin.
There were two separate tracks of investor pitches from emerging companies from a variety of Wisconsin cities and other areas of the Midwest. The second day of the conference saw Chicago-based Team Interval take first prize in the 10th annual Elevator Pitch Olympics. Team Interval is developing a system to manage the health and care of student athletes. The People's Choice Award, which is based on audience votes, went to FloraSeq, a Waukesha company developing therapeutic solutions for gastrointestinal ailments. (See complete list of companies)
The conference also featured the Wisconsin Angel Network's investors' dinner where Roger Ganser, a founder of Madison venture capital firm Venture Investors, was inducted into the Wisconsin Investor Hall of the Fame (See Ganser's comments). Tim Keane, director of Golden Angels Investors, received the first "Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education" award. Keane was one of the first to develop entrepreneurial academic programs in Wisconsin. (See Keane's comments).
See below for a full conference wrap-up:
• "30X10" opening video - highlighting history of the conference and past presenters
• Footage of keynote presentation - Kevin Conroy and Graham Lidgard, Exact Sciences
• Remarks by Tim Keane - 2014 recipient of the "Excellence in Entrepreneurial Education" award
• Remarks by Roger Ganser - 3rd inductee to the "Wisconsin Investor Hall of Fame"
• Summary of media coverage
• View photos of the event
• Final registration list - by company and by last name
Field investor forum sparks connections in Green Bay
The Wisconsin Angel Network produced an angel investor forum at Lambeau Field on Nov. 20,
bringing together investors and others for a discussion on supporting startups
The event, sponsored
by Quarles & Brady, included an overview of the current funding environment
and investment activity in the state, along with an in-depth examination of changing IP
regulatory issues investors need to be aware of. Ken Johnson, the manager of
the state's Badger fund of funds program, also presented his vision as the
venture capital program gets started. Attendees also heard from officials with the Green Bay Packers and discussed efforts to grow the city's startup economy.
If you would like to
participate, organize or sponsor a future Investors' Edge forum in your part of the state, please contact Wisconsin Angel Network Director Dan Blake.
|Madison digital coupon startup Hopster acquired
Hopster, a startup focused on the digital
coupon business founded by a serial Wisconsin entrepreneur, was acquired earlier this month by Inmar Inc., a North Carolina-based e-commerce
The terms of the
deal were not disclosed, but the deal represented an "attractive
transition" for Hopster's investors, which included lead investor NEW Capital Fund, based in the Fox Valley, and Wisconsin Investment Partners (WIP), an angel
group in Madison, said Brad Taylor, a WIP emeritus co-manager.
president of NEW Capital Management, said his firm's investment in Hopster
was based on the experience and success of Hopster founder and serial
entrepreneur, Brian Wiegand. Wiegand has founded five companies, with four of the five now sold to larger businesses.
|Baird Capital closes oversubscribed 4th venture fund
Baird Capital, the venture capital arm of Milwaukee's Robert W. Baird & Co., announced the close of its fourth venture capital fund with a total of $185 million raised. The fund has already invested in five companies, including Madison health tech company Catalze.io.
Baird has made a number of other Wisconsin investments over time, including TomoTherapy, Promega, NimbleGen Systems, and others.
“With our experienced team and disciplined investment strategy, we will continue striving to generate strong returns for our investors,” Gordon Pan, managing partner of Baird Capital, said in a statement. “We are very happy to have the continued support of our existing investors as well as the backing of many new limited partners."
|Nordic Consulting founder steps down to start health IT fund
Mark Bakken, the
founder of Nordic Consulting, a fast-growing Madison firm that provides
healthcare IT consulting services, is stepping down to start a venture capital
Bakken, a Wisconsin Technology Council board member, has invested previously in Madison area
startups and plans to focus the fund on healthcare IT companies getting started
in the state's capital city.
“I’m an entrepreneur
at heart,” Bakken said in a statement, “and after five years of leading Nordic
and building a very successful company, I’m turning it over to our exceptional
team so I can help other healthcare IT start-ups in the Madison area.”
|Phoenix Nuclear clears $2M in new funding from investors
|Phoenix Nuclear Labs, a Monona based company developing neutron generator technology, closed a $2 million equity
fundraising round to support several key hires and to continue the scale
up of its manufacturing infrastructure, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The round was led by Venture Management, a Madison venture fund, and included participation from Wisconsin Investment Partners (WIP), New Capital Fund, Knox LLC, the Chippewa
Valley Angel Investment Network, DJW Advisors, and Mendota Venture
firm IPO heats up startup economy
Connecture, a Milwaukee software firm focused on the health care insurance exchange market, is planning to raise $86 million in an IPO, more evidence of the growth in the state's startup economy, according to state business leader and investor John Torinus.
Torinus recently provided an overview of the changes he's seeing in the state: "Many evangelists for the entrepreneurial ecosystem are steadily transforming Wisconsin from a fly-over state to a hot spot that attracts venture investors from out of state."
comes in 2nd of all U.S. cities for young entrepreneurs
Madison is the second-best
city in the nation -- behind only Arlington, Virginia -- for young
entrepreneurs to make their mark, according to NerdWallet.
West Allis medical manufacturer, acquired by European giant
Solaris Inc., a West
Allis medical products company, has been purchased by a European conglomerate
of medical device and product companies for an undisclosed amount, according to
the Milwaukee Business Journal.
Solaris has about 70
employees in its offices in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis. Kyle Weatherly,
president of Solaris, will stay with the company.
Meanwhile, medical technology
company Phillips-Medisize Corp. announced plans to invest $30 million
in five Wisconsin locations and hire 484 new workers in the region part of a
DC Systems closes on $1.4 million in funding
Edison DC Systems
Inc., a company developing a power conversion system for large energy
users, closed on a $1.4 million funding round, led by Chicago-based
Energy Foundry, according to Xconomy.
The company graduated from the Gener8tor accelerator program in 2014.
| Deals, acquisitions, exits and news
Solomo Technology, a
Madison firm focused on physical data analytics, has raised $331,000 of a
planned $1 million raise. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
businessman Robert Kraft purchased Berkshire Hathaway-owned World Marketing
Inc. in a recent deal that will relocate the firm's headquarters to Milwaukee.
accelerator that runs programs annually in Madison and Milwaukee, raised a $2.1
million fund, according to filings with the Securities & Exchange
Commission. Investors included CSA Partners, Venture Management and Wisconsin Investment Partners.
Madison's Virent Energy has signed an "expression of interest" with several of the world's largest companies, providing preferred access to the firm's plant-based chemical being developed for recyclable packaging and polyester fibers. Wisconsin State Journal
Douglas Dynamics, a
producer of snow plows and ice equipment for trucks, agreed to purchase an
Iowa-based manufacturer for $95 million. Milwaukee Business Journal
Cover5 Inc., a New Berlin provider of
office-pool type sports games for the mobile and web devices, has raised
$325,000 of outside funding. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Xylome, a Madison
biotech firm, has reached an agreement with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) to develop and market its unconventional
yeasts for the production of biofuels and renewable chemicals. News release
|Dec. 11 - WIN-Milwaukee: UW-Milwaukee leader Mone to highlight links between R&D, economy