Two leaders of the Wisconsin Technology Council issued the following statement on the Assembly’s 91-2 vote in support of Assembly Bill 181, the early stage capital bill:

“On behalf of the Wisconsin Technology Council’s board of directors, we applaud the Wisconsin Assembly for voting, 91-2, Thursday to approve Assembly Bill 181 and to send it on to the state Senate for further action,” said chairman Mark Bugher and president Tom Still.

Read a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story on the Assembly action here. Read a statement from the Wisconsin Growth Capital Coalition here. Read more about the bill on 30Forward, the Wisconsin Angel Network blog.

If approved by the Senate and signed into law by the governor, the bill would:

* Make the state a partner in a larger “fund-of-funds” that would match the state’s $25 million investment with $50 million in private investment.
* Create a process to select a private manager for the fund.
* Set out requirements to invest state dollars in Wisconsin companies in the agriculture, advanced manufacturing, engineered products, information technology, medical devices and medical imaging sectors.

“This bill will help make available additional capital to Wisconsin entrepreneurs, who are creating tomorrow’s companies and jobs. We understand there are limits to how much the state can afford to invest in such a program – especially at the outset.

“We also know it’s important to establish appropriate firewalls, to hire an independent fund-of-fund manager, and to listen to the marketplace when defining investment sectors that are most likely to produce jobs and financial returns quickly. Assembly Bill 181, in the amended form approved by the Assembly, met those criteria.

“In an era when many issues are divided along partisan lines, it was gratifying to see that Assembly members supported this bill by such a large margin. It sends a strong signal of support to Wisconsin’s high-growth economy.”

Bugher and Still also thanked state Reps. Mike Kuglitsch, R-New Berlin and Fred Clark, D-Baraboo, as well as Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Majority Leader Scott Suder and Minority Leader Peter Barca for their support.