BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, a new philanthropic early stage capital fund, has received $300,000 in operating capital from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
The nonprofit equity investment fund, which was incorporated July 1, would channel donations from wealthy individuals, corporations and foundations to businesses statewide to encourage growth and job creation. BrightStar plans to deploy the donations as equity in early-stage companies, and reinvest the returns in the foundation.
The WEDC decided to invest in the concept because of its sound plan, founder Tom Shannon and his team’s experience in raising private capital for their companies and the volunteer time Shannon has invested in the project.
“The nonprofit nature of BrightStar will provide opportunities for philanthropists to support the growth of Wisconsin entrepreneurs,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “This is an innovative investment resource to leverage additional private funding dedicated to helping early stage Wisconsin companies grow and succeed.”
WEDC representatives will sit on the BrightStar board and require companies receiving funding from BrightStar to offer employment, salary and wage and capital leverage information for the next five years. BrightStar will also be required to report its awards to WEDC.