New Winnow Fund raises $3.5 million

Investors have committed more than $3.5 million to a new Wisconsin venture capital fund to bolster young entrepreneurs, according to a recent federal Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The Winnow Fund launches as only Wisconsin-based, woman-led venture fund actively investing. Managed by Richelle Martin, it will focus on pre-revenue startups and will create new companies around innovative products developed by Wisconsin college students. Ultimately, the Winnow Fund is designed to put $8 million into creating and investing in new Wisconsin-based startups.

In a concept Martin calls the “Venture Capitalist in Residence” program, the fund will take advantage of the growth in student interest in entrepreneurship that is supported by more entrepreneur clubs and startup programs on campuses across the state.

Martin, a Milwaukee native, has undergraduate degrees in art history, political science, and psychology from UW–Milwaukee and a law degree from UW–Madison. She previously was assistant director of the Office of Industrial Partnerships, which reviews and negotiates agreements involving business-sponsored research at UW–Madison.