Wisconsin companies raised more than $520 million in venture capital, a 72% increase in a year when U.S.-venture backed companies nearly doubled the amount they raised to $329.9 billion, according to a new report from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.
The state’s venture capital total was its best on record in data that goes back to 2006. The previous high was $481.2 million in 2018. The state’s companies raised $224 million and $303.2 million in 2019 and 2020 respectively.
But even with the increase, Wisconsin remained at 28th in the country for venture capital raised on the year, just ahead of Montana and behind Vermont.
PitchBook’s data includes equity investments into startup companies from an outside source. While it does include partial debt deals, it does not include investments received as part of an accelerator program.
This year, PitchBook included 85 deals in Wisconsin as part of its report, down from 94 in 2020. The record for the state is 98 deals in 2015.
The funding total and deal number works out to an average of $6.12 million per deal, the highest on record for the state. The previous high was $5.73 million per deal in 2018.
Wisconsin saw a number of its higher profile startups raise funds in the past year, including a $210 million Series D raise for Fetch Rewards that pushed the Madison-based company’s valuation over $1 billion. Shine Medical Technologies also closed on a $150 million Series C-5 financing.
Other significant raises in the Milwaukee area during the year included $10 million by education startup Fiveable, $11.2 million by wine subscription business Bright Cellars, and $14.2 million restaurant marketing technology firm SpotHopper.
Wisconsin’s performance was mixed compared to other nearby states. Illinois, for example, saw companies raise $7.1 billion, up from $3.2 billion in 2020, an increase of nearly 120%. The increase helped the state jump to the sixth highest total in the country.
Michigan jumped ahead of Minnesota, raising nearly $1.38 billion compared to $1.34 billion for Minnesota. Michigan’s total was up 45% while Minnesota was down 13%.
Indiana companies raised $463.2 million, a 4.6% increase from the prior year. It was the first time since 2018 that Wisconsin has outraised Indiana. In the past five years, Indiana companies have raised nearly $1.78 billion compared to $1.66 billion for Wisconsin companies.
Indiana had 139 total deals in 2021, down from 143 in 2020.
Iowa crossed $200 million raised at $204.5 million, up from $169.7 million in 2020. Prior to that, the state had not crossed $100 million since 2006.