In This Issue
Lynch to speak at 'Treps Conference
24 BPC companies advance
BrightStar at May 8 WIN meeting
Portfolio to be released soon
Tech Summit leads to collaboration
2014 ACA Summit wrap-up
U.S. venture investments hit high
Gener8tor unveils new class
UWM students win contest
Corvisa Cloud nets $30M
Deals, acquisitions and news
Upcoming events                    
 Did You Know?
Venture capital firms are sprouting up to fund companies in a growing number of states that allow medical marijuana, and the two that have legalized cannabis use. Events are being held in Colorado focused on how to invest in marijuana-related businesses.
 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
Brad Taylor
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 Idle Free Systems CEO Robert Hopton about his company's work to eliminate extended idling by trucks and buses; Tom Still discusses start-ups and scale-ups in Wisconsin; and the WisBusiness.com Stock Report covers Exact Sciences and the state's jobs picture.

Previous Shows:
Greg Robinson, 4490 Ventures
Steve Lyons, WGCC

 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


April 2014 
Renaissance Learning CEO to kick off Entrepreneurs' Conference
John “Jack” Lynch Jr., chief executive officer of Renaissance Learning, a central Wisconsin-based
online education company recently purchased for $1.1 billion, will speak June 3 at the 12th annual Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison.

Google Capital invested $40 million in Renaissance Learning in early 2014, and the company was purchased within a month for $1.1 billion by Hellman & Friedman LLC, a private equity firm.

Visit www.WiTrepsConference.com to register and learn more. “Early bird” registration is open through May 13 and special hotel rates apply through May 3.

The conference will also feature Craig and Lea Culver, who will be the recipients of the 2014 Ken Hendricks Memorial "Seize the Day" award.  The award celebrates entrepreneurs who have been crucial to the state's economic growth. Craig Culver and his family opened the first Culver's in Sauk City, Wisconsin in 1984. Since then, Culver's has grown to more than 500 restaurants across 19 states.                       
24 Biz Plan finalists show state's technology range
Twenty-four entries (see the full list) representing sectors as broad as software, agriculture, water technology, medical devices and innovations in manufacturing are competing in the finalist round of the 11th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.

The contestants have survived two rounds of judging in the contest organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its programs. A lead sponsor is the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

One top entry from UW-Madison’s G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Contest will join these 24 plans in the Phase 3 judging round in early May.

The “Diligent Dozen,” or top 12 business plans, will present in front of a panel of judges and conference attendees at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference on June 3 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Category winners, as well as the 2014 Grand Prize Winner, will be announced during the BPC Awards Luncheon on June 4.                       

BrightStar Foundation to be featured at May 8 WIN-Milwaukee
Hear how the recently formed BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation is raising funds through capital donations and now, making early stage investments in companies at the May 8 luncheon meeting of the Wisconsin Innovation Network in Wauwatosa.

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.

Panelists include Todd Sobotka, portfolio manager for BrightStar and Juan Gomez, co-founder and president of 425 Inc., the Mount Pleasant-based manufacturer of an LED light personal safety device. Learn more and register here.                        

Investments fueling Wisconsin: Portfolio tracks deals, new funds

The soon-to-be-released 2014 Wisconsin Portfolio, an annual publication of the Wisconsin Technology Council and the Wisconsin Angel Network, will outline more than 80 deals that were funded across the state in 2013. 

This year's publication will also focus on several new funds that began making investments this year or are getting up and running. Several groups will be profiled, including a Q&A with Greg Robinson, the new manager of 4490 Ventures, a $30 million fund backed by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

If you are interested in a copy of the publication, please contact Gina Leahy at (608)-442-7557 or gleahy@wisconsintechnologycouncil.com.

Wisconsin Tech Summit connects large and small businesses

Sixteen major companies took part in about 200 “speed dating” meetings with 54 emerging companies during the inaugural Wisconsin Tech Summit, held April 7 at the GE Healthcare Institute in Waukesha.

Tech Summit Cvent Header 
The Tech Summit, produced by the Wisconsin Technology Council, included a number of the largest companies in the state, along with other private institutions active in the early-stage space. Participants included: AT&T, American Family Insurance, Aurora Health Care, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, Direct Supply, Faith Technologies, GE Healthcare, HP Enterprise Services, IBM, Intel, Johnson Controls Inc., Kraft, Plexus, Rockwell Automation, Runzheimer International and TASC.

Read coverage of the event here. A panel at June's Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference will be focused on takeaways from event participants.   
 2014 ACA Summit focuses on policy changes in startup investing
 ACA logo
The largest gathering of angel investors was held recently in Washington D.C., with a focus on the rapidly-changing environment when it comes to deal technology, innovations in deal terms and public policy changes affecting startups and investing (crowdfunding, general solicitation, review of accredited investor definition).

The Wisconsin Angel Network, an affiliate ACA member, attended the Summit. Here's a collection of coverage for eVestor readers:

30Forward: Legislators float national programs to increase angel investing
30Forward: Could a $1M crowdfunding raise cost $200,000?
ACA blog: Angel Insights Blog: Paul's Way of the Highway? Angels have many paths | Highlights from the 2014 ACA Summit
The Washington Post: Congress looks to angels to revive economy

Wisconsin ridesharing debate aired at WIN-Madison

Uber and Lyft, two venture-backed ride-sharing applications that have launched recently in Madison and Milwaukee, were featured along with a cab company and a Madison city official at April's WIN-Madison meeting.

The spirited luncheon discussion about the city of Madison's regulation of such services came just a few days after Madison police conducted a sting operation, ticketing two of the new entrants' drivers. You can read more on the event here and here.

U.S. venture investments highest since 2001

Venture capitalists poured more money into U.S. startups in the first quarter of 2014 than has been seen since 2001, according to the latest MoneyTree study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

Startup investments totaled $9.47 billion in the first three months of the year, up from $6 billion in the first quarter of 2013. It was the highest since the second quarter of 2001, when investments reached $11.5 billion. Read more on the report here.

Wisconsin had seven investments that totaled more than $18 million, the highest number of venture capital-funded deals in the state in at least the last 9 quarters of the survey.

Also, because of some of the volatility of public markets for tech stocks, some startups are being advised to raise funding now, because the market for big financings might not be so friendly in the coming quarters. A number of analysts have also raised warnings of a tech bubble.

 Gener8tor unveils new class, raises funds from WIP
Gener8tor, a Wisconsin-based accelerator program, held its premiere night this month on Madison's
East Side. Companies that pitched at the Barrymore Theater were: Driblet Labs; Edison DC Systems, LivBlends, Men's Style Lab and Review Trackers.

Wisconsin Investment Partners (WIP) also announced in April that it will invest $11,000 into each of the Gener8tor program graduates in 2014. Angels on the Water, an angel fund based in Oshkosh, also invests in each Gener8tor company. The program is currently accepting applications for its next upcoming class, which will be held in Milwaukee.                        
 UWM students win Wisconsin Big Idea tournament
UW-Milwaukee student entrepreneurs placed first in UW-Extension’s inaugural Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament and will represent the state at the International Business Model Competition.

Read more on the contest and the winning company, Grypshon, here.
Milwaukee cloud communications company lands $30M investment

Corvisa Cloud, a  provider of call center software that was founded in 2011, announced it received a $30 million capital infusion from its parent company, Novation Companies, Inc.

"CorvisaCloud is experiencing strong momentum in the cloud contact center arena and as a result, we believe the time is now to take this company to the next level," Lance Anderson, CEO, Novation Companies, said in a news release.

Read more on Corvisa here and here.

 Deals, acquisitions, exits and news

Platypus Technologies, a Madison nanotech sensor technology company, recently raised more than $150,000, according to an SEC filing.

The Art Commission (now known as CODAworx), a Madison online community of artists, designers, architects and others who are involved in commissioned design projects, recently raised more than $200,000 from investors. Read more.

Phoenix Nuclear Labs, announced that it was awarded a $1 million grant from the Department of Energy to design and build a high current negative hydrogen ion source. Read more.

Vonlay, a Madison-based healthcare technology consulting firm, announced that it had entered into an agreement to be acquired by Huron Consulting Group. Read more.  

Xolve, a Madison nanomaterials company focused on product application areas in high-end plastics, composites, and energy storage, recently raised more than $380,000, according to an SEC filing.

Okanjo, a Milwaukee startup focused on e-commerce and local advertising, has raised $750,000 of a $1.2 million fundraising round. Read more.

The Good Jobs, a Milwaukee online company that helps match a company's culture to an individuals life and work style, raised a $180,000 from investors and secured a $170,000 loan from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp. Read more.

WholeTrees, a Madison headquartered firm that offers timber-construction solutions and technology, announced the close of a $1.35 million debt and equity raise. A new recent investor was BrightStar Foundation.

Upcoming Events
Wisconsin Cleantech Forum, Wisconsin Energy Institute, April 24

Wisconsin Innovation Network-Milwaukee, BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, May 8 

2014 Wisconsin Entrepreneurs' Conference, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, June 3-4

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