Growing Venture Capital in Wisconsin

Growing Venture Capital in Wisconsin

MADISON, Wis. – It’s not news that Wisconsin trails national averages in venture capital availability, but the hows and whys of it are broken down and detailed in a new report, NorthStar Guide to Growth and Venture Capital published by NorthStar Economics, Inc. The report is subtitled, “A sourcebook to growth and venture capital for Wisconsin companies.”
The Wisconsin Technology Network received an advance copy of the 60-page report, a primer for Wisconsin companies seeking information about risk capital available in our state. It shows that Wisconsin’s economy lags behind neighbors Illinois and Minnesota. “Wisconsin has been unable to attract sufficient professional and college-educated workers to its workforce—unlike Minnesota or Illinois, for instance—because Wisconsin doesn’t currently offer as many exciting career opportunities as its neighboring states,” the report says.

Wisconsin is ranked 30 among all states for percentage of our population with a four-year degree, at 24.7 percent. Minnesota, however, ranks eighth, with 30.5 percent of its population holding four-year degrees, and Illinois ranks 16th. The U.S. average is 24.7 percent.
The report shows per capita income forcasted for 2024, and Wisconsinites will only make 83 percent of the national average if we continue on our current track. Nationally, per capita income is forcast at $48,803, but Wisconsin’s per capita income will be $40,598, according to the report.
Northstar Economics President David Ward said he has gotten exceptional feedback about the report, and has sold about 500 so far. He said he detected a need for it from contacts in the community.
“I kept getting calls from people looking for various risk capital sources, so I thought why don’t we put this all into one volume,” Ward said. “It’s a printed network.”
Sponsored by Grant Thornton, Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce Foundation, University Research Park and the Wisconsin Technology Council, the report was reviewed by local venture capitalists and industry leaders.
“Resources like the Northstar Guide help to foster a growing community of technology-driven businesses in Wisconsin, said Deron Curliss, partner at Grant Thornton.. With the state committed to creating fertile business conditions for high-growth companies due to the high-paying jobs these companies can create here, we should all thank and applaud the team at NorthStar for assembling this outstanding guide. Grant Thornton shares the responsibility to promote the economic growth and development of the state and has assisted many young and growing technology-driven firms succeed in Wisconsin.
With detailed information on the types of risk capital available, angel investment groups, seed-stage financing, government grant programs, venture capital firms, and other capital sources, the report is designed as a handbook for emerging companies to help them learn about and find the money they need.
“Despite numerous conferences, networking events and press coverage related to the entrepreneurial community in Wisconsin, a knowledge gap persists between entrepreneurs and investors,” said Tim Mathison, vice president of Baird Venture Partners. “The NorthStar Economics Guide to Growth and Venture Capital helps to bridge this gap and is a very good resource for entrepreneurs seeking access to private sources of capital. I hope the Guide reaches a broad audience and achieves its goal as an educational tool for the entrepreneurial community.”
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Jennifer Braico is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Wisconsin Technology Network. She can be reached at jen@wistechnology.com.