Madison - The next great idea may have a "Made in Wisconsin" label on it, thanks to a bill authored by State Senator Alberta Darling. On Monday, Rock River Capital Partners announced it raised $23.5 million and will make their first investment this week. The group expects to make more than a dozen investments in the coming years. Senator Darling says she is excited more entrepreneurs will get a chance.
"Wisconsin's best resource is our people," Darling said, "I'm excited so many people want to invest in our great state and get great ideas into the marketplace."
In 2013, Senator Darling authored legislation creating the Badger Fund of Funds to keep our state competitive by investing in homegrown start-ups. At the time, entrepreneurs were struggling to get their ideas into the marketplace. The Badger Fund of Funds is a Limited Partnership formed by the state of Wisconsin to invest in state-based venture capital funds that will invest in new Wisconsin-based ventures. Darling says it can be difficult for entrepreneurs to get their ideas off the ground.
"With a little help, a great idea can lead to many family-supporting jobs," Darling said, "Often a good idea leads to another and another. Now that we have established a resource to help grow these ideas, there is no telling how Wisconsin can change the world."
So far, there are seven new funds in our state: the Idea Fund of La Crosse, Bascom Ventures, the Winnebago Seed Fund, Rock River Capital Partners, 30Ventures, NM Future Ventures, and CMFG Ventures. Those funds have raised more than $130 million to invest in start-ups.
Senator Darling represents portions of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha Counties.