With nearly three-dozen members from Wisconsin and around the country thus far, the Wisconsin Growth Capital Coalition has been reactivated through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its Wisconsin Angel Network to provide policymakers with non-partisan advice on proposed venture capital legislation.
In 2009, this broad coalition of organizations, angel networks and funds came together to advocate for enhancements to Wisconsin’s investor tax credits – originally known as the Act 255 credits, later renamed Accelerate Wisconsin. This unified voice lead to nearly every one of the coalition’s recommendations being signed into law.
The coalition, which makes permanent the previous framework, will provide advice on the creation of a leveraged venture capital program in Wisconsin. The coalition includes early stage and venture capital funds, angel networks, technology-based groups and service providers familiar with Wisconsin’s venture capital needs. The coalition will initially work to build consensus around these basic principles:
- Strengthening the Wisconsin venture capital community
- Supporting a bill that is fair to the taxpayers of Wisconsin
- Deploying capital quickly to cash-strapped “valley of death” companies
- Encouraging emerging seed and venture funds to take root, and
- Attracting out-of-state capital for Wisconsin co-investment deals
Bipartisan legislation, dubbed the Wisconsin Jobs Act and the Wisconsin Entrepreneurship Initiative, would create a Wisconsin venture capital program. Both are pending in the Wisconsin Legislature.
Gov. Scott Walker has renewed his general support for a bill that would help create jobs and new businesses while protecting the best interests of Wisconsin taxpayers. Walker reiterated his support June 28 while attending the BIO International Convention in Washington, D.C.
“Increasing venture capital in Wisconsin has emerged out of the partisan rift in the Capitol as a rare issue with strong bipartisan support,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council. “The Wisconsin Growth Capital Coalition brings together experts from around Wisconsin and the county to develop a nation-leading venture capital program built upon Wisconsin’s widely acclaimed and often duplicated Act 255 Early Stage Tax Credits.”
“Wisconsin’s angel investors and early stage funds rely on venture capital funds to get their portfolio companies to the next stage of growth and Wisconsin venture capital funds need angels and early stage funds to seed their future investments,” noted Zach Brandon, director of the Wisconsin Angel Network. “One does not succeed without the other. They are the yin and yang of Wisconsin investing.”
The Wisconsin Technology Council is the independent, non-partisan science and technology adviser to the governor and the Legislature.
The Wisconsin Angel Network fuels the growth of early stage capital in Wisconsin by operating as an umbrella organization providing services and resources to the early stage investing and entrepreneurial communities.