BizStarts Milwaukee calls for passage of venture capital bill

BizStarts Milwaukee Inc. celebrated its third anniversary of helping entrepreneurs in southeastern Wisconsin start companies and create jobs.
Since its founding, BizStarts has helped more than a dozen companies raise more than $24 million and create 157 full-time jobs. The project has reviewed more than 230 business plans and presentations.
“The pace of entrepreneurship has quickened, based on the activity BizStarts is seeing. Inquires continue to increase, and there is no shortage of people coming in with intriguing ideas, plans and patents. We’re seeing a sea change in the region with more people willing to take risks, work hard and lead development of something new rather than wait for something to happen to them,” said Dan Steininger, president of BizStarts and a columnist of BizTimes Milwaukee magazine.
Steininger and John Torinus co-founded BizStarts Milwaukee in 2008.
“Over the past three years, the collective resources in the region have launched 33 high-growth companies, which are defined as innovative companies with significant potential to grow to $20 million in revenue or market value within five years. These companies attracted $67.7 million in angel and venture capital and have created the equivalent of 300 full-time jobs,” Steininger said. “With more than 55 entrepreneurs currently in the BizStarts pipeline, there’s no question that the spirit and energy around entrepreneurship is much stronger than in the recent past. Southeast Wisconsin is rapidly becoming one of the best places in the country to start a new venture. We are launching a broad range of new companies, from advanced manufacturing to software to new media to biotechnology and medical devices. This is our strength – a diverse business base from which entrepreneurs spring.”
Steininger said a venture capital bill that is pending in Madison should be approved.
“Many states have invested in early stage funds and Wisconsin needs to be in the game. If passed by the legislature and signed by the governor, the bill would add 50 percent to the amount of early stage funds available in the M7 region and the rest of Wisconsin. The biggest need young companies have is investor dollars – this needs to happen for the future prosperity of our state,” Steininger said.

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