Wisconsin Looks To Create $500M Venture Capital Fund Of Funds

Wisconsin seems poised to benefit from rare bipartisan agreement: the creation of a $500 million venture capital fund of fund.

The proposal is at an early stage and still finding its way through the legislature. Details are evolving. But it appears to have the support of both parties and firebrand conservative Gov. Scott Walker (pictured).

The money is to be dispersed over about six years and come from the sale of tax credits to businesses, instead of state-sponsored bonds. For many, the measure is viewed as a way to create jobs and support homegrown companies.

Venture capitalists and angels in the state so far are showing support, says Trevor D’Souza, managing director at Great Lakes Ventures. “One of things we suffer from in Wisconsin is a lack of capital.”

If the new fund is approved, Wisconsin will join the more than 30 states that have deployed venture-capital programs. The first, launched in Connecticut, kicked off 35 years ago.

According to a report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the proposal emerged from a bipartisan working group Walker convened and avoids the use of controversial certified capital companies. The use of the certified capital companies to manage capital doomed an earlier proposal.

D’Souza says the new proposal faces better odds. “I think it seems likely to happen.”