Angel investors and venture capitalists invested at least $810 million in young, Wisconsin-based companies in 2021, shattering the previous calendar year early-stage investment record for the state of $483.6 million in 2020, according to the Wisconsin Technology Council.
Research by the Wisconsin Technology Council in preparation for its annual “Wisconsin Portfolio” report has thus far charted 111 deals financed last year by early-stage investors. A relative handful of those deals account for about $600 million of the total, the WTC said.
However, despite a record year, Wisconsin is still well outside the nation’s top 10 states when it comes to angel and venture capital. For example: Minnesota early-stage companies had $1.34 billion in investments in 2021, and Colorado reported $6.5 billion in early-stage investments in 2021.
“Wisconsin continues to attract more angel and venture capital, including money from outside the state, but more work must be done to recognize the state’s full potential,” said Wisconsin Technology Council president Tom Still.
Over the six-year period beginning in 2016, Wisconsin early-stage companies have raised more than $2.5 billion. There were $276.2 million in early-stage investments in 2016, $231 million in 2017, $300.7 million in 2018, $454.4 million in 2019, $483.6 million in 2020 and at least $810 million in 2021.
“The Wisconsin deal and dollar numbers are consistent with a 2021 surge in such investments nationwide, and representative of the rise in early stage investing in the Midwest, in particular,” said Bobby Franklin, president and CEO of the National Venture Capital Association. “With its great research base, diverse technology and company leadership, the NVCA is not surprised that Wisconsin continues to make progress.”
Using public reports, filings, proprietary investor surveys and more, the Tech Council tracked a total of $810,824,500 invested in 111 companies. Companies raising the most were Madison-based Fetch Rewards, Janesville-based SHINE Medical Technologies, Madison-based VedaData, Madison-based Redox and Madison-based DataChat, which collectively accounted for about $475 million of the state total. Eight other firms landed about $135 million.
“On balance, our ecosystem continued to mature in 2021,” said Joe Kremer, director of the Tech Council Investor Networks. “It’s great to see major deals because it signals more companies are moving beyond the startup stage. Angel and venture capital can be ‘lumpy’ from year to year, so it remains to be seen whether 2022 will be equally successful.”
The 14th annual Wisconsin Portfolio report will be published in full this spring. See here for past editions.