Milwaukee-based venture philanthropy investor BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. has helped Wisconsin companies create 205 jobs since it started investing in 2014.
The information was revealed in the nonprofit’s 2016 annual report, released last week. Of BrightStar’s 32 portfolio companies, seven have lost jobs since BrightStar invested in them, but the rest have held steady or added jobs.
BrightStar’s goal is to spur economic development in Wisconsin by funding early stage companies. It uses donations from state residents to invest in equity stakes in rapid-growth startups.
Of the southeastern Wisconsin companies in the portfolio, some fared better than others.
Milwaukee-based Onkol, in which BrightStar invested $200,000 in December, planned to add another three or four employees in the near future at the time of that investment. However, Onkol has reduced its employee count by 7.5 full-time equivalents, and now has 5.5 employees.
Milwaukee-based GoHitList Corp. retained its three jobs, but has not added any since BrightStar invested an undisclosed amount in 2015. The company planned to create 98 jobs over the next three years at the time of that investment.
Waukesha-based FloraSeq lost two jobs and now has zero employees.
Milwaukee-based MCT of Wisconsin Inc., which received a 2015 investment, has added 4.5 jobs and now has 23.5 employees.
Milwaukee-based Okanjo, which received a 2015 investment, added one employee and now has 11 employees.
BrightStar said none of the companies in its portfolio have failed.
“Through the end of 2016, we are happy with our portfolio, proud of their technical, market and employment advancements, and eagerly await even grander results from each of them. We anticipate 2017 to show continued and even stronger evidence of our mission to effectuate positive economic change throughout the state,” the report says.
Over the next two years, BrightStar expects a few of its portfolio companies to make successful exits, which will help it become financially self-sustaining.
The annual report also listed BrightStar’s donors, which give a suggested minimum donation of $100,000. They are: Judd S. Alexander Foundation, Mark Bakken, Brad Binkowski, Andrew Burish, Mark Burish, Sean Cleary, Dwight & Linda Davis Foundation, Michael Drescher, Dudley Foundation, Susan Shannon Engeleiter, William Haack, Jeffery Harris, Jay Jensen, Kelben Foundation, Robert Keller, Ted Kellner, David Lenz, Mancheski Foundation, George Mosher, Albert Nicholas, Michelle Picard, Carl Ruedebusch, Jeff Rusinow, Ruud Family Foundation, Paul Shain, Michael Shannon, Thomas Shannon, Weinert Family Foundation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and Zilber Ltd.