The amount of venture capital dollars flowing through Wisconsin-based companies is significantly lower than those in neighboring states like Minnesota and Illinois, but a revived association is hoping to change that.
The Wisconsin Venture Capital Association, started more than 15 years ago, was dormant for roughly a decade, but is under new leadership and has support from some of the largest VC firms and investor groups in the state.
“We want to do what we can to help further the education, the environment and the entire ecosystem to help spur innovation and early stage investing that supports that,” said Greg Robinson, president of the WVCA and managing director at Madison-based VC firm 4490 Ventures. “A lot of that is connecting people, whether that be investors and entrepreneurs and legislators that can provide meaningful programs for this ecosystem, to trying to educate folks on the opportunities in early stage technology companies. We also have an advocacy component, where we work with our representatives to make sure they’re informed on the benefit of this ecosystem and what we can do to create jobs of the future.”
Between 2005 and 2007, the WVCA lost momentum and enthusiasm among its members, Robinson said. In 2017, however, Robinson and others from Wisconsin’s VC community reinstated the association, reconstituted its board of directors, and created a strategic plan.
Now, the focus has been raising the awareness of Wisconsin’s startup ecosystem and entrepreneurs and growing the WVCA membership while building networking bridges between Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Eau Claire and places in between.