“I think we’ve kind of exceeded our expectations,” he said yesterday during a luncheon event hosted by the Wisconsin Technology Council in Wauwatosa. Mascari is also the executive director at the Milwaukee Regional Innovation Center.

He explained the angel network has grown quickly to include 35 qualified investor members, each of which has a net worth of at least $1 million and income of $200,000 per year. Rather than working with a centralized fund like venture capital firms, the organization identifies investment opportunities, polls members for interest and then forms separate entities to make the investment.

“We’re usually not the lead investor,” he explained. “Our typical investments are somewhere between $150,000 to $300,000, maybe on a raise of half a million to $3 million. We’re not venture capitalists but it’s worked out really well.”

Milwaukee Venture Partners has made seven investments so far totaling about $1.5 million, Mascari said. The network considers about 200 companies per year, and chooses 30 or so to “take a closer look at,” he said. From that number, they choose several to make formal presentations to members and move forward with investing from that point.

The angel network focuses mainly on Wisconsin companies, though members have invested in companies from Iowa and Ohio as well. Sectors of interest for members include smart manufacturing and medical devices — “things that Wisconsin is noted for,” Mascari said.

See more on the network’s investments here: https://milwaukeevp.com/portfolio/