George Mosher, a Milwaukee businessman and one of Wisconsin’s most prolific startup investors, died on Thursday after a fight with pancreatic cancer. He was 79.
A Boston native, Mosher moved to Milwaukee in 1965 after graduating from Harvard University’s business school. He became president of Business and Institutional Furniture, a catalog furniture company that served churches and schools.
A decade after moving to Wisconsin, Mosher and his late wife, Julie, launched their own catalog furniture company called National Business Furniture. Julie, who had taught in the Milwaukee Public and Whitefish Bay school districts, served as the company’s vice president and designed its catalogs. The firm made several acquisitions over the years, including Furniture Online and Mosher’s former employer, Business and Institutional Furniture. National Business Furniture grew to $125 million in annual sales before it was sold in 2006 to K+K America, owned by German firm TAKKT.
After the exit, Mosher became one of the busiest angel investors and entrepreneur mentors in the area. He personally backed more than 250 ventures, mostly based in Milwaukee and Madison, WI. Among the successful exits was Prodesse, a Waukesha, WI-based firm that became a market leader in molecular testing for infectious respiratory diseases like the flu. Prodesse was sold in 2009 to San Diego-based Gen-Probe for $72 million. Former Prodesse CEO Tom Shannon has said the sale price was about 16 times the amount that he, Mosher, and the venture’s other investors poured into the venture. Read the full story here.