Managers of a statewide fund that will invest in some of Wisconsin’s youngest companies will take center stage Wednesday, June 6, at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Madison.

The morning session at Madison’s Union South will feature six investors who help lead the Badger Fund of Funds, which will take a statewide approach to vetting startups and other early stage companies. For more information, visit

The Badger Fund of Funds was officially seeded in 2014 with a $25-million investment from the state of Wisconsin and has since raised private matching dollars. The parent fund has committed to make matching investments of 40 percent of any money the five “recipient” funds raise.

That’s why it’s called a fund of funds: It is a network of smaller funds tied into the main fund, in which there are private as well as public investment dollars.

The discussion will include Dan Brooks of Sun Mountain Capital, a New Mexico fund that manages similar funds and is a partner in the Badger Fund of Funds; Jonathon Horne of the Idea Fund of La Crosse; David Trotter of the Winnebago Seed Fund; Andy Walker of the Rock River Capital Partners; Ross Leinweber of Bold Coast Capital and Richelle Martin of the Winnow Fund.

“As Wisconsin builds a stronger and more regionally diverse startup economy, investors such as the Badger Fund of Funds are vital to its success,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Powering bright ideas for Wisconsin entrepreneurs” is the theme of the conference, where ‘treps from around the state will showcase their innovations, services and technologies. A dozen panel tracks formed under three unique stages of “launch,” “grow” and “succeed” will appeal to entrepreneurs in all stages. Detailed panel information will soon be on the conference website:

Produced by the Tech Council, the Entrepreneurs’ Conference is one of the largest events for entrepreneurs and early stage investors in the Upper Midwest. More than 500 people are expected for the two-day conference, to be held at Union South for the second year. Parking permits are now available for purchase through the conference website or click here. Other highlights will include:Other highlights will include:

  • A Day 2 keynote speaker and a second plenary panel to be announced soon
  • Diligent Dozen: Top 12 finalists from the Governor’s Business Plan Contest square off on June 5th
  • Ken Hendricks Memorial “Seize the Day” 2018 award winner
  • Social media contest using conference hashtag: #WiTreps
  • Governor’s Business Plan Contest awards ceremony on June 6th
  • Innovation Showcase featuring exhibits from more than 40 Wisconsin companies
  • A presentation by the winner of the Wisconsin YES! youth business plan contest, and;
  • Plenty of chances to network with seasoned entrepreneurs and investors over food and refreshments including a June 5th reception.

Sponsors so far are: Aberdean, Alliant Energy, American Family Insurance, American Transmission Co., AT&T, Baird Capital, Baker Tilly, BDO, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, BMO Harris Bank, Boardman & Clark, Carroll University, Center for Technology Commercialization, CGI, City of Fitchburg, Dedicated Computing, DeWitt Ross & Stevens, DXC Technology, Findorff, First Business Bank, Godfrey & Kahn, HealthX Ventures, Hudson Business Lounge, Husch Blackwell, IBM, JP Cullen, Madison College, Madison Gas & Electric, Makin’ Hey Communications, Marquette University, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Merchant & Gould, Michael Best, Midwest Prototyping, Technology Innovation Center – Milwaukee, Murphy Desmond, N29 Capital Partners, Neider & Boucher, Noble Applications, Northwestern Mutual, Old National Bank, Quarles & Brady, Red Arrow Productions, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, River Valley Bank, Rockwell Automation, Smith & Gesteland, Summit Credit Union, Susan Healy, Uber, University Research Park, UW-Green Bay, UWM Research Foundation, UW-Madison Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy, UW-Madison D2P, UW-Madison Dept. of Computer Sciences, UW-Madison Office of Corporate Relations, UW-Madison University Relations, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, WEA Trust, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., WHEFA, Whitewater University Technology Park, WIPFLi, Wisconsin Hospital Association and Wisconsin Technical College System.

For more information, visit or call 608-442-7557.