It Is Happening Here: A New Class of Wisconsin Entrepreneurs
Last spring I wrote a blog with the headline, “Maybe It Can Happen Here,” touting a Wisconsin high impact business accelerator’s Launch Day for their Winter 2013 class of startups. The folks at gener8tor are at it again; Launch Day for the Summer 2013 class is coming up this Thursday in Milwaukee. With this class the headline needs a bit of tweaking because with another great class of “ready for primetime” entrepreneurs, gener8tor has gone beyond showing what might happen here in Wisconsin, they have established that it is happening here; that Wisconsin can create startups on a par with their competitors in places like Silicon Valley and that Wisconsin can recruit competitive deals to Wisconsin from well outside the state.
Don’t get me wrong, Wisconsin is still a bit player in terms of the national venture capital landscape. Though what gener8tor’s Summer 2013 class tells us is that Wisconsin can grow and attract the kinds of entrepreneurs that ultimately can (and have, in the case of some of the folks in gener8tor’s previous classes) get the attention and dollars of venture investors on the coasts. For all of the important initiatives aimed at generating indigenous sources of risk capital here in Wisconsin, given the realities of where most venture capital resides, and will continue to reside for the foreseeable future, attracting venture dollars here from outside Wisconsin and the Midwest is also going to be critical to “scaling up” venture investment in the State.
As a member and advisor to Angels on the Water, a small angel fund in Northeast Wisconsin that works extensively with gener8tor, I’ve had the privilege of previewing this week’s graduating class. If the last class was special, this class is even more impressive.