Bob Wood, co-manager for Wisconsin Investment Partners, says investors are looking for companies led by experienced leaders — even if they’ve failed.

“We don’t want just winners,” he said as part of a panel discussion on angel and venture investment held as part of the Early Stage Symposium.

Wood emphasized the importance of learning from failure — an idea backed by Brian Wiegand, a prolific entrepreneur who’s had enormous successes, but has also tasted defeat in the market.

“I’ll be honest, I got cocky after some wins,” Wiegand said. “I sold a company, then sold another company, then sold another company, and then… you lose a little focus, you lose a little bit of the hunger and the drive. It took a failure to refocus that.”

Monika Wingate, co-founder and CEO of social media insights platform DigSite, suggested entrepreneurs start building relationships with investors as early as possible.

“Once I knew the path and I understood the investment milestones… then all of a sudden I had a context with which to evaluate,” she said. “Is Bob’s group the right group to go to; is another group the right one to go to?”

Wisconsin Investment Partners is a network of angel investors based in Madison. The group was started in 2000 and currently has about 100 members. As a network of investors, not a fund, everybody’s in charge of their own decisions, Wood says. Read the full story here.