In a world where a company like Citigroup hires a new employee every three minutes, Sue Marks is trying to make the process faster, better and cheaper.
Similarly, Bill Checovich wants to use his company’s patented technology to help drug companies swiftly come up with more products and discoveries.
They’re in very different industries, but both companies have been able to pull in money and advice from Baird Venture Partners.
More state companies may be getting the same opportunity.
Baird Venture Partners, the 6-year-old venture capital arm of Robert W. Baird & Co. that focuses on business services and health care/life sciences companies, has stepped up its investments in state companies.
“We have a big push in this region for sure,” said William J. Filip, a partner.
Baird Venture Partners has been getting more “creative” by scoping out top executives, and tracking and supporting them in an effort to team with young companies in need of management expertise, Filip said.
Fillip and Baird Venture Partners associate Michael Liang spoke Monday at a Wisconsin Innovation Network lunch at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Milwaukee. Marks, of Brookfield-based Pinstripe LLC, and Checovich, of Madison-based Caden Biosciences Inc., also made presentations at the lunch.
Baird led a $5.85 million financing round in August that moved Caden to Madison from Evanston, Ill.
“Wisconsin has this entrepreneurial mind-set I don’t think Illinois has,” Liang said.
Caden is the third state-based firm in Baird Venture Partner’s portfolio of 10 life sciences companies.
Baird’s Caden deal followed $3 million financing in Pinstripe led by Baird in November 2005.
Before Pinstripe, Baird Venture Partners had not invested in a first financing round that involved a state company since 2001.
Baird Venture Partners in 2001 made the first of several investments in NimbleGen Systems Inc. and TomoTherapy Inc., both based in Madison.
Baird Capital Partners, the part of Baird’s private equity area that does mergers and acquisitions, has invested in 12 state companies, said Angela Pittman Taylor, a Baird spokeswoman. Baird’s two private equity groups have invested in a total of 51 companies in the U.S., she said.
Pinstripe, which should have about $2.3 million of revenue this year, works with big companies in the financial, health care and technology industries that contract out the job of finding, assessing, interviewing and hiring new employees, said Marks, who in 2000 sold her two companies, ProStaff and HRfirst, to Troy, Mich.-based Kelly Services Inc. Pinstripe sometimes also provides orientation programs and determines job satisfaction once the new employees have begun work.
Caden, which should have about $750,000 of revenue this year, is developing screening tools to sell to pharmaceutical and biotech companies that target specific G-protein coupled receptors to help identify new drugs for a variety of diseases, Checovich said.
The company, previously known as Cue Biotech Inc., was focused on using its unique screening technology to find drug candidates that target the receptors. A variety of existing drugs, including antihistamines, anti-depressants and pain killers, target about 40 of the nearly 400 pharmaceutically relevant G-protein coupled receptors, which transmit signals into cells.