Venture Investors closes on $75 million VC fund, opens Milwaukee office

Will back Madison-based Invenra

1433 N. Water St.
1433 N. Water St.

Venture Investors LLC recently closed on a $75 million venture capital fund created to invest in health care-related startups.

The Madison-based company also announced the opening of its new Milwaukee office, located downtown at 1433 N. Water St.

The venture capital investment group’s new $75 million fund will be used to back four health care startups, including Invenra, Inc., a Madison-based company that developed a drug discovery platform to identify antibodies for immuno-ecology and other indications, according to a press release.

Venture Investors brands itself as a leading source of venture capital financing for spin-outs from major research university ecosystems in the Midwest. The firm has offices near the University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Michigan.

David Arnstein
David Arnstein

“We have backed several Milwaukee-based companies over the years and concluded that a physical presence would help us be more actively engaged in the entrepreneurial community here,” said David Arnstein, managing director.

Venture Investors chose to plant its roots in Milwaukee because of nearby universities and the city’s long history of successful health care companies, said John Neis, Venture Investors managing director. Neis added that Milwaukee as a community has invested more time and effort into the health care startup dialogue, which has encouraged others to make the “entrepreneurial leap.”

“We just feel that there are untapped opportunities there,” Neis said. “And for a health care focused investor, we wanted to tap into some of those and get involved early.”

The company will also invest in Corona del Mar, California-based ViaLase Inc., a developer of a rapid surgical treatment for primary open-angle glaucoma, Ann Arbor, Michigan-based HistoSonics, Inc., the developer of a non-invasive autonomous robotic platform capable of destroying tissue at the sub-cellular level, and Eximis Surgical, Inc., a Louisville, Kentucky-based company that developed a surgical platform enabling specimen removal in laparoscopic surgery, according to a press release.

Three out of the first four investments of the new fund are led by entrepreneurs who were previously backed by Venture Investors, according to the press release. The amount of funding each startup will receive was not disclosed, but  Venture Investors’ initial investments are typically $250,000 to $2.5 million with preferred lifetime investments totaling $5 million to $8 million over a 5 to 7 years, according to the company’s website.

Venture Investors began fundraising last year and secured $75 million through 27 investors, according to SEC filings. Neis said Venture Investors brought on additional investors including Advocate Aurora, which Neis noted was of particular value since the health care company is a “major player” in Milwaukee, he said.

Venture Investors currently manages $275 million in assets with a focus on early stage health care startups involved in therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices and health care IT.

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