Inspired by the success of Michigan’s Renaissance Venture Capital Fund, some state investors are calling for companies to band together and create a comparable Wisconsin entity.
John Neis, managing director of Venture Investors, pitched the concept during a panel at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, which took place this week in Madison.
“People are here at this conference and here in this room because they believe in the entrepreneurial potential of our state,” he said. “I think our business leaders believe the potential is here, and we ought to unleash it — so what are we waiting for?”
He pointed to the example set by Michigan’s RVCF, a corporate fund-of-funds which funnels money into venture capital firms in the state.
Big-name companies like Ford and La-Z-Boy support the fund, which — through asset managers that screen potential investees — has invested in over a dozen VC funds and has made several direct investments in health-related companies. And its impact on the Michigan economy has been “remarkable,” according to Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council, which puts on the conference.
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