Milwaukee meeting to focus on venture capital legislation

    The proposed creation of a state-leveraged venture and angel capital fund, an idea that some observers feared had died in the Legislature, will be the topic of a panel discussion at the Thursday, Jan. 12, meeting of the Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN)-Milwaukee chapter.
    The luncheon will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 10499 Innovation Drive, Wauwatosa.
    Panelists include Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, who is the primary author of a Senate bill aimed at promoting venture, angel and seed capital investments; and Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville, a key lawmaker who has expressed his support for a venture and angel bill. Zach Brandon, director of the Tech Council’s Wisconsin Angel Network, will also take part in the discussion. Tom Still of the Tech Council will moderate.
    The Legislature begins its next floor period Jan. 17. Gov. Scott Walker has endorsed the broad outlines of a bill that would create a “fund of funds.” Such a fund would leverage state investments to attract private dollars that would be invested in start-up and emerging companies.
    The need for a venture capital program was explained in a September report, “Building companies & jobs: The case for a venture capital program in Wisconsin.” It was produced by the Wisconsin Growth Capital Coalition, which represents more than 50 Wisconsin and national investors, economic development groups and tech companies, and is organized through the Tech Council and the Wisconsin Angel Network.
    This month’s WIN meeting is sponsored by UW-Milwaukee. WIN is the membership arm of the Tech Council, the independent, non-profit science and technology adviser to the governor and the Legislature. It has chapters in Milwaukee, Madison, Northeast Wisconsin, Central Wisconsin, the Lake Superior region and Western Wisconsin.
    Registration and networking will begin at 11:30 a.m., with lunch at noon and the presentation at 12:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for students, $25 for WIN members, Governor’s Business Plan Contest participants and Milwaukee County Research Park tenants, $35 for non-members and included with WIN corporate memberships. Register here:
    – BizTimes Milwaukee

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