Number of Wisconsin early stage investments up 13% in 2015

But total dollars raised declines

Money

The number of early stage investments increased by 13 percent in Wisconsin in 2015, according to a report released today by the Wisconsin Technology Council.

The report, “The Wisconsin Portfolio” counted 128 early stage companies having raised $209 million in 2015. The number of angel and venture investments increased, but the total funds raised decreased, from $346 million in 2014. The 2014 figure was boosted by one particularly large debt financing deal of $127.4 million in SHINE Medical Technologies that year, the report said.

This figure differs from a report released in March by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., which took a wider angle. The WEDC’s 2015 Wisconsin Deal Flow Snapshot counted 120 Wisconsin venture capital, angel/seed, grants and accelerator deals totaling $231.3 million last year.

The Tech Council’s report also found the number of deals at or above the $1 million threshold increased to 46 in 2015, up from 38 in 2014. Average deal size was also up, to $1.6 million.

The top five largest deals in 2015 were a $25.3 million investment in Madison-based NeuWave Medical; a $15 million investment in Madison-based EatStreet; a $12 million investment in Madison-based FluGen; an $8.8 million investment in Madison-based Networked Insights; and a $8.5 million investment in Madison-based Fetch Rewards.

Coming in at No. 6 was Wauwatosa-based TAI Diagnostics with $8.3 million.

Many of the funds also went to more established companies. This was not the first round of capital for just more than half of the companies who raised funds in 2015.

Wisconsin last year attracted many investments from out of state, including from Chicago, Boston and California. And about 14 percent of the Wisconsin deals were for companies led by women.

The industry receiving the most investments and dollars was health care, with 41.4 percent of investments and 35.2 percent of the number of deals. Next was information technology, with 28 percent of dollars and comprising 27.3 percent of the deals.

The investors who contributed funds in 2015 also took advantage of early stage credits from the state, which allow private angel and venture capitalists to claim the early stage investments. Those credits totaled $18.3 million last year, up significantly from 2014.

“The Wisconsin Portfolio also breaks down the number and size of deals within various industry sectors, offers basic data on all 128 deals, features key investors and offers resources for investors and entrepreneurs alike,” said Tom Still, president of the Tech Council. “It also outlines policy initiatives we consider vital to improving the early stage investment climate in Wisconsin.”

Read more economic data reports on the BizTracker page.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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