Several startup founders and investors from around the state have formed the “Wisconsin Startup Coalition,” an organization whose mission is to advocate for policies that advance growth in Wisconsin’s startup ecosystem.
The Wisconsin Startup Coalition was founded by Matt Cordio, co-founder and president of Skills Pipeline and Startup Milwaukee, and Peter Welch, chief operating officer of The Welch Group, a government relations and public affairs firm.
The organization’s board includes Fiveable chief executive officer Amanda DoAmaral, gener8tor co-founder Troy Vosseller, Frontdesk CEO Kyle Weatherly, KIIO CEO Lydia Zeller and other startup founders and investors in Wisconsin.
The new organization’s mission is to double the number of startups in Wisconsin annually that are raising their first round of venture capital by 2026, Cordio said.
“Venture capital activity isn’t the only metric of building a successful startup ecosystem, but it’s a good sign if there are more venture capital-backed companies being launched in your region,” Cordio. “It’s a sign that there’s a robust innovation ecosystem.”
According to the organization’s website, Wisconsin Startup Coalition will advocate for policies that support the following areas:
Incentivize more early stage investment with a flexible tax credit structure and through public and private partnerships.
Improve tech transfer out of universities by supporting academic entrepreneurs.
Grow Wisconsin’s tech workforce with relocation income tax credits and investment in re-skilling.
Invest in K-16 programming to encourage entrepreneurship in traditionally underrepresented populations, especially Black, indigenous and other people of color.
Wisconsin has historically lagged behind in venture capital activity to peer states in the region, Cordio said, adding that while there are variety of initiatives to improve the state’s startup ecosystem, Wisconsin is in need of a plan.
“Fostering an environment that enables entrepreneurs to start and scale new ventures is critical” said Erin Clausen, Investment Manager at Irontek Beloit and a Coalition board member. “The Wisconsin Startup Coalition will advocate for policies that will create new jobs in Wisconsin and continue to move the state’s economy forward.”
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