Category Archives: The Startup Economy

‘Valley of Death’ must be crossed on bank side

The so-called “Valley of Death” for launching high growth companies is very real in Wisconsin, at least on one side of the financing equations. The first financing for a new venture usually comes from “friends, families and fools.” The… Read more

Moral of Epic Creative success: support UWM

Jim Becker

Like the classic entrepreneurs of yesteryear, Jim Becker started his company, Epic Creative, in a garage. After graduating from the distinguished film and video department at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee – rated one of the top 20… Read more

Big Connecture exit heats startup economy

In the wake of high voltage success from the recently announced IPO of Connecture in the Milwaukee region, sparks are flying in the adolescent startup economy in Wisconsin. The Connecture IPO would have received high-five headlines had it… Read more

Wisconsin needs to pay-it-forward like Silicon Valley

Greg Robinson, 4490 Ventures in Wisconsin

Greg Robinson, 4490 Ventures in Wisconsin Successful entrepreneurs in Wisconsin need to “pay it forward,” like they do in Silicon Valley. That was a big part of the message for Wisconsin leaders from Greg Robinson, a transplant to the… Read more

Entrepreneurs can reverse brain drain


Can the brain drain of more than 10,000 college graduates per year from Wisconsin be reversed? Some big hitters from Southeastern Wisconsin think it is already happening. Gary Grunau, who was awarded the George Dalton Inspirational Entrepreneur… Read more

Buyouts of startup firms prove sticky

A recent string of buyouts and expansions of business spawned by Wisconsin entrepreneurs ought to put to rest one misguided complaint about a state strategy that goes all out for high growth startups. Critics of public investments in a startup… Read more

Another startup exit; another boost to economy


Score another healthy exit for the Milwaukee 7 region, the sale of Discount Ramps LLC, a West Bend-based web marketplace for more than 11,000 products. If there were an M7 hall of fame for entrepreneurs (there should be one), Joel Lederhause, a… Read more

M7 region scores another sweet exit


Don’t you wish you were an angel investor in the 7Summits deal? I missed it. Darn it. Its founders, led by CEO Paul Stillmank, and investors have pulled off an early exit, the dream of most entrepreneurs. The company was launched in 2009. It… Read more

Startup exits sweet; early exits even better


Early stage investing is all about getting to exits, a sale of an entrepreneurial startup in one way or another. Southeastern Wisconsin had a big exit last week that was cause for applause but underappreciated. Bill Haack and his investment fund… Read more

Will Wisconsin step up on startup economy?

Thursday is D-Day for the long-debated venture capital bill in Wisconsin, and the decision by the Republicans who control the legislature will send a major signal on how they see entrepreneurship as a way forward for the state’s economy. The… Read more