Milwaukee Regional Innovation Center angel fund invested $40,000 into startups

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:32 pm

The Milwaukee Regional Innovation Center’s angel investment fund invested $40,000 into two Wisconsin startups – Madison-based Digsite and Milwaukee-based Fiveable.

Digsite received $20,000 in the form of a convertible note while Fiveable received $20,000 in exchange for company equity, said Guy Mascari, MRIC chief executive officer.

Mascari, who’s also the executive director of the Technology Innovation Center, said the investments were made through Silicon Pastures, a Milwaukee-based angel investment network and tenant of the TIC.

“These are the first investments that the research park made,” Mascari said. “They’re also the first investments that Silicon Pastures has made this year.”

Digsite is a consumer-driven software and platform that allows marketing, CX/UX and innovation teams to engage in a social media-style conversation with a highly targeted group of consumers.

Fiveable is a live-streamed social learning platform that connects students with teachers for out-of-school support. The company recently raised $673,658 from eight investors out of an approximately $950,000 funding round, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The MRIC’s angel investment fund was formed in March of 2019 with the goal of investing in early-stage startups. The MRIC formed an angel fund investment committee with the idea of co-investing between $10,000 and $30,000 per company with other angel individuals or groups.

“We’re actively looking for other deals,” Mascari said. “Our goal is to invest in 6 to 8 companies at $20,000 to $30,000 each. There’s a couple of companies we’re committed to if things pan out.”

The MRIC, which manages the Milwaukee County Research Park and its Technology Innovation Center business incubator, contributed $100,000 to the angel investment fund. Another $100,000 was awarded through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.’s Capital Catalyst Program.

The purpose of the $200,000 angel fund is to generate entrepreneurial activity in the state with early-stage startup companies being targeted for capital investment.

The matched funds from WEDC must be invested within 18 months of when the MRIC’s angel fund was created, Mascari added.

The MRIC’s TIC is at its highest-ever occupancy, 85% full with 62 tenants, about two-thirds of which are startup companies, Mascari said.

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