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Sep 24, 201912:43 PMInside Wisconsin

with Tom Still

Turning early stage rejection into ‘yes’ can depend on supply of cash

(page 2 of 2)

How are states positioning themselves for this renewed private interest in the Midwest?

Some have been aggressive about underwriting state funds, matched by private dollars, that co-invest in young companies and other funds. Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana’s Next Level Fund have followed that approach in the belief a rising investment tide will lift all states in the region.

Wisconsin has a toehold called the Badger Fund of Funds, which has invested in 18 young companies statewide through recipient funds such as the Idea Fund of La Crosse. The state of Wisconsin is a limited partner in the fund through a $25-million investment.

However, investments in funds elsewhere in the Midwest average hundreds of millions of dollars per state. Those dollars are magnets for much more in private investment. For states that have engaged in larger funds, the paybacks can be significant in tax dollars, economic growth, and good-paying tech jobs.

Is Wisconsin primed to step up? Yes, but it will require political will to build upon a tech economy infrastructure that is growing but still short on cash. Investors can find profitable reasons to say “yes” if there’s more money to go around.

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About This Blog

Tom Still is president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. He is the former associate editor of the Wisconsin State Journal.

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