BrightStar completes second investment round

Milwaukee-based BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. has announced its second round of investments in early-stage Wisconsin companies.

Milwaukee-based The Good Jobs Inc., Madison-based Fishidy Inc. and Madison-based WholeTrees LLC received a total of $285,000 from BrightStar.

The nonprofit practices venture philanthropy, through which donations are invested in equity stakes in early stage companies that will create jobs in the state.

The Good Jobs is an online job board that allows employers to promote their corporate culture and brand to potential employees.

“I’m very excited to have BrightStar invest in The Good Jobs, which went through our accelerator for startups program,” said Joe Kirgues, co-founder of Milwaukee startup accelerator Gener8tor. “BrightStar is filling a capital need in Wisconsin that enables more deals to get developed and done here.”

WholeTrees, which reuses round timber in urban and commercial construction, is currently building a production facility in Spring Green.

“The Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is very pleased with BrightStar’s investment in WholeTrees,” said Lisa Johnson, vice president, entrepreneurship and innovation for WEDC. “Not only is WholeTrees another example of a woman entrepreneur-led business in Wisconsin, it’s also an incredible opportunity to create high quality jobs in a rural part of the state.”

And Fishidy is a map-based fishing social network that helps people find the best fishing spots.

“In just a few months of existence, BrightStar Foundation has created a positive impact on economic development in Wisconsin,” said Gary Schaefer, Madison market president for Associated Bank. “Its creative structure has proven to be a successful mechanism for converting philanthropic dollars into investment dollars that brighten the future for Wisconsin entrepreneurs.”

BrightStar announced its first three investments in March. Read about them in an exclusive BizTimes cover story here.

The Wisconsin Innovation Network will host key BrightStar players to discuss the investments at its May 8 luncheon meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 10499 Innovation Drive in Wauwatosa. For more information or to register, visit

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