Fund Manager Will be University’s Venture Capitalist in Residence
MADISON – The Winnow Fund, a woman-led, seed-stage venture capital fund has begun a unique partnership with Concordia University Wisconsin. Through the partnership, Concordia will provide the Winnow Fund with access to a pipeline of potential startups and the Fund will bring experienced mentoring, networking opportunities, and potential investments to the university’s entrepreneur students.
The Winnow Fund early stage venture investing strategy includes sourcing investment opportunities from Wisconsin colleges and universities. Concordia, an investor in the fund, has begun a renewed focus on strengthening its entrepreneurial ecosystem. In 2019, Concordia moved its Batterman School of Business into a new home in the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center, which also provides incubator space for student and community-led startups.
The Center will also be home to the Winnow Fund’s Venture Capitalist in Residence Office. Richelle Martin, the Winnow Fund Managing Director, will be present on campus where students, faculty, and staff can meet with her to discuss ideas and strategies. In addition to advising campus entrepreneurs, Martin will participate in school-sponsored events, including Concordia’s annual CU Launch Business Plan competition.
“I believe there’s untapped entrepreneurial potential at colleges and universities across the state of Wisconsin,” Martin said. “I’m looking forward to meeting with Concordia University’s entrepreneurs to leverage that potential and together build successful, high-growth companies here in the state.”
The partnership between the Winnow Fund and Concordia University will supplement the excellent student resources and academic courses the university provides with connections to the funding side of the startup ecosystem. Along with potential investment dollars, Concordia student entrepreneurs will benefit from Winnow Fund’s mentorship and the Badger Fund network of Wisconsin based venture capital funds.
“The Winnow Fund Venture Capital in Residence concept is truly innovative. Entrepreneurs in residence programs typically have been limited with only providing students support from a successful startup ecosystem. Yet, the need for investment capital with fundraising experience still exists,” said Ken Johnson, Badger Fund partner. “Combining both concepts at Concordia University will result in good outcomes for the Winnow Fund, Concordia, and Wisconsin entrepreneurs – a circumstance that led our team to increase the Badger Fund’s investment commitment in the Winnow Fund.”
About the Winnow Fund
The Winnow Fund I, L.P. is an early stage venture fund investing in startups across the State of Wisconsin. The Fund focuses on evaluating opportunities arising on college and university campuses. The Fund Manager is Richelle Martin.
About Concordia University Wisconsin
Concordia University Wisconsin, founded in 1881, is a Lutheran higher education community located in Mequon, Wisconsin. Concordia offers over 70 majors and programs, including Wisconsin’s largest MBA program.
About the Badger Fund of Funds
The Badger Fund of Funds I, L.P. was formed in 2015 and includes $25 million from the State of Wisconsin pursuant to 2013 Wisconsin Act 41 to invest in Wisconsin based venture capital funds. The Badger Fund is managed by a partnership of Sun Mountain Capital and Kegonsa Capital Partners. The State of Wisconsin, individuals, and the fund manager have invested over $30 million in the Badger Fund. www.badgerfundoffunds.com