EAGLE RIVER – At a meeting held Aug. 18, the Vilas County Economic Development Corp. agreed to form an angel network in Vilas County. This new network of angel investors, or high net-worth individuals who invest in selected start-up and growth companies, will be the 23rd such group to affiliate with the Wisconsin Angel Network.

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The goals of the Vilas County Angel Network are to be a champion for select entrepreneurs who want to establish high-growth businesses in the county, to assist in growing the regional economy, and to give investors an opportunity for a “substantial return” on their early stage equity investments.

At the Aug. 18 meeting, Joe Kremer, director of the Wisconsin Angel Network (a project of the Wisconsin Technology Council), briefed the VCEDC board of directors on the mission of the Wisconsin Angel Network, an umbrella organization providing services and resources for the early stage investing and entrepreneurial communities.

WAN is comprised of 30 investor-member organizations representing more than 300 individual investors and hundreds of millions of potential investment dollars. Most recently, Kremer assisted in the development of the Lake Superior Angel Network serving a multi-county region stretching roughly from Duluth, Minn., to Ironwood, Mich.

“The formation of an Angel Network in Vilas County would represent the second such network north of Highway 8,” said G. Steven Burrill, VCEDC chair and founder of Burrill & Company, a life sciences merchant bank with more than $1 billion in assets under management.

“A major initiative of the Vilas County Economic Development Corporation is to create a diverse and sustainable business environment in the county and fostering an entrepreneurial culture that supports innovation, creativity and new business development. This is the key to securing the jobs of the future,” Burrill continued. The Wisconsin native added that “access to early-stage capital is often the key to whether or not a business succeeds.”

Over the next several months VCEDC will spearhead the effort to form the angel network identifying potential high net-worth individuals residing in or owning property in Vilas County or interested in investing in Vilas County. Typical investments will range from $50,000 to $500,000. Larger funding rounds will be introduced to other angel groups for co-investment consideration.

Dick Leinenkugel, interim executive director of VCEDC, said “firms proposing to locate in Vilas County would be given preference, but companies outside the county could be considered for investment – especially if referred by another angel network.”

Interested parties who wish to learn more about or become members of the Vilas County Angel Network are urged to call Leinenkugel at the VCEDC toll-free number, 866-306-3690. Leinenkugel is a former Wisconsin Commerce Secretary.

For additional information, contact Joe Kremer of the Wisconsin Angel Network or Tom Still of the Wisconsin Technology Council at 608-442-7557.