The Idea Fund of La Crosse has launched its second venture fund focused on pre-revenue startups. Called Idea Fund II, the new venture fund has already attracted over $20 million in investment capital, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The fund’s goal is to raise up to $25 million. Idea Fund II expects to make investments in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. Idea Fund of La Crosse invests in startups at the earliest stages including companies that have not yet made a sale or finalized their first product. The new $20 million venture investment is expected to increase the pipeline of high potential startups in the three-state region. La Crosse native and former Wall Street businessman Jon Horne is the managing director of the fund. Libby Weber, CEO at the Weber Group, also helps manage the fund. “Jon Horne and Libby Weber have done an incredible job managing the Idea Fund,” said Ken Johnson, a Badger Fund partner. “Their focus on being the first investor in new startups with a geographic target of investment opportunities in north and west Wisconsin has been extremely successful. A key component of the Badger Fund vision is to build a new team of Wisconsin venture capital fund managers. Jon and Libby are part of the next generation Wisconsin VC managers.” Idea Fund I made its first investment in Madison-based Curate, Inc. in 2017. Curate was acquired in 2021 by FiscalNote, a publicly traded company. Along with Curate, the Fund invested in 10 additional Wisconsin-based startup companies. Fund I’s investment period concluded in July 2021 and its managers began seeking investors for Fund II. The Fund's first investments are expected to be announced later this year. The Idea Fund is one of the five portfolio funds of the Badger Fund of Funds. The Badger Fund invested $5.2 million dollars in the Idea Fund I.
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