It’s a mixed bag for the Milwaukee metro area when it comes to economic indicators tied to innovation. The Wisconsin Policy Forum has updated its Innovation Data Tool, which was created to gauge the Milwaukee metro area’s performance in several categories often linked to innovation. Those categories include exports, venture capital (VC) funding, educational attainment, idea development, startups and small business development, and more. The Innovation Data Tool also provides data on 10 other peer metro areas.

While the Milwaukee metro area has made a sizable gain in the amount of venture capital investments it attracted in 2021, that gain was not nearly enough to catch up with peer regions. The Innovation Data Tool shows that the area’s VC investment total jumped from $46 million in 2020 to $182 million in 2021.

However, on a per capita basis, metro Milwaukee attracted less VC investment than all but two comparison metro areas. Much like last year, Austin continues to lead the pack with $5,476 of VC investment per capita. Milwaukee attracted $89 of VC investment per capita, ranking higher than only Cleveland and Oklahoma City, of the 10 peer cities in the report. The average amount of funding per deal in the Milwaukee metro from 2019-2021 was $3.8 million, compared to $9.5 million in Austin.

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