In a Wednesday meeting, people interested in a state budget proposal to launch a $100 million “fund of funds” to enhance Wisconsin’s ability to attract more capital heard an overview about how the fund would work to attract matching private dollars and strong private managers. Speakers also stressed that while Wisconsin has a vibrant angel capital sector, it lacks enough venture capital to bring young companies to the next stage. TitletownTech also symbolizes one factor holding back that growth — lack of major venture capital investments to bring young companies beyond the seed stage to maturity.
Craig Dickman, the managing director of TitletownTech and an entrepreneur who has launched his own companies, noted the biggest gap in capital is beyond the “seed stage” — generally defined as a few million dollars or less — and in the realm of $5 million and well beyond. That is the kind of investment that can turn a small startup into a company that is adding jobs and economic value in much larger increments. Investments in the tens of millions of dollars are often needed for most life sciences companies, which is one of Wisconsin’s technology sweet spots. As much as anything, TitletownTech is an example of how Wisconsin’s tech-based economy isn’t limited to strongholds such as Madison and Milwaukee and is taking root in cities searching for renewed economic identities in a changing world.
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