The capital is a crucial benchmark to continue investing in existing startup companies, and bolsters the Winnow Fund’s plans to emphasize collaboration with entrepreneurs at colleges and universities across Wisconsin who dream of starting their own companies. It is the fourth fund in the Badger Fund of Funds family to begin investing.

“Richelle Martin, the Winnow Fund manager, has had a singular focus over the last two years on raising capital and getting this fund launched,” said Ken Johnson, a Badger Fund of Funds partner. “Richelle showed extraordinary persistence and grit while not taking any compensation at all because she was so passionate about the need for a fund like this in Wisconsin.”

The Badger Fund of Funds was the lead investor in the Winnow Fund. It was joined by The Capital Times, Johnsonville Ventures, MGE Energy Inc., two Wisconsin based private equity investment firms — Inventure Capital and N29 Capital Partners — along with more than two dozen individuals.

Winnow Fund is the only women-led fund that’s based in the state and investing in Wisconsin companies. While the first three Badger funds had a geographic focus, the Winnow Fund will focus on university-level entrepreneur students and clubs.

“Students have great ideas but need someone to guide them through the process of creating a company to commercialize their idea,” Johnson said. “Richelle Martin’s legal background, know-how, and experience at UW-Madison make her a perfect fit to help student inventors and entrepreneurs create and grow their companies.”

Winnow Fund and others in the Badger Fund of Funds family deploy all of their investment dollars in Wisconsin. Winnow Fund will continue accepting new investors for another couple of months, but will start the new fund investment period this November.

Listen to a previous WisBusiness podcast with Richelle Martin: