DEFOREST – A new angel investment network with a target fund size of $1 million has formed in DeForest and will hold its first formal meeting in early August, a co-manager has announced.
The Yahara Angel Network is made up of business people from the DeForest-Windsor area of Dane County, said Jane Cahill Wolfgram, a member and co-manager.
“We’re trying to help grow the region’s economic base through the rapid growth of technology companies,” said Cahill Wolfgram, who has a background in public affairs and communications. “We have a group of experienced members who want to help fill the funding gap entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses.”
The group, which is continuing to attract new members from the area, is hoping to raise about $1 million, Cahill Wolfgram said. Initial investments will focus on startups in biotechnology, agricultural technology, health care, long-term care and life-planning technologies.
The Yahara Angel Network is the latest early stage investment group formed in the state, which is seen as a national leader with more than two-dozen groups already in existence. The state has grown from only a handful of groups in the early 2000s to more than two dozen today. Investment groups have recently formed in Oshkosh, Vilas County and near Sheboygan.
“Groups such as the Yahara Angel Network help lay the groundwork for entrepreneurs in Wisconsin,” said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which worked with the group during its formation stage through its Wisconsin Angel Network (WAN). “We need to continue providing early capital to get their ideas off the ground.”
The group’s members include the CEOs of several local companies, including a manufacturing company and a bank, along with a property developer and a doctor, among others. The group, a member of WAN, is planning on meeting bimonthly at Settlers Bank in Windsor.
The 2013 Wisconsin Portfolio, released recently by WAN, reported more than $163 million in 2012 angel and other early-stage investments in state companies. Angel investments in Wisconsin have risen steadily since the implementation of the state’s angel tax credit program in 2005 and WAN’s formation.