Allen's Update: January 2015

In 2014, WISC Partners progressed from a startup fund to a fully functioning investment operation. With this New Year’s message, I would like to highlight our accomplishments and tell you about our plans for 2015. 

We thank all the Badger Alumni with whom we have connected already, whether located in Wisconsin, in the Valley or beyond. The strong, positive response we have received from the Badger community, wherever they are, validates our original concept and drives us forward to realize its potential. We are eager to work with you going into the coming year as we further build WISC Partners.

Every Badger knows that University of Wisconsin-Madison is one of the leading research universities worldwide. UW System is a diverse statewide network of universities and colleges. Together these institutions spawn a rich mix of talent, cutting edge research, and innovative ideas. WISC Partners was conceived specifically to capitalize on Wisconsin’s strengths by providing Strategic Operating Capital to entrepreneurs that have potential to build great companies that solve important customer problems.

But WISC Partners is not just another fund. Because we are alumni-driven, we are able to build WISC Partners on a novel investment strategy that combines needed capital with dedicated management talent and experience. This is made possible by our access to the rich alumni network of UW-Madison and the UW System. 

Our concept of Strategic Operating Capital includes a mix of funding, business creation expertise, and global business development networks. The WISC Partners team is made up of proven company builders having the operating experience and track record that will support growth and drive liquidity events for our portfolio companies.

The extra value we create through these efforts is embodied in our Plan A2 concept where, as part of every investment we make, we commit to shared milestones that will take the company beyond its initial Plan A to achieve greater growth and/or earlier exit. For our investors, this means superior returns.

During 2014, we:

  • Launched the Fund;
  • Qualified a number of investment ventures as our initial targets;
  • Put together a passionate and skilled team of five Executive Partners who complement and assist our three General Partners;
  • Completed our first investment with Imbed Biosciences; and
  • Firmly built up our presence in Madison, led by David and me.

In the last quarter of 2014, we built relationships with a good number of high profile, high net worth Alumni who are very enthusiastic and supportive of our WISC mission. While we continue to add to our base of individual investors as LPs we are turning attention to institutional investment groups in Wisconsin and expect to have some key announcements in this area during 2015.

We also expect to qualify two or more additional companies for funding in 2015 upon completion of due diligence and development of a Plan A2 for each company. We have an expanding base of target companies through partnerships with Wisconsin angel groups and others in the high tech community in Madison, Milwaukee and elsewhere. As of December we had raised several million dollars as we progress toward full subscription on our Fund I of $25 million.

In summary, in 2014 we successfully launched our Strategic Operating Capital fund that is designed to complement what is already in place in Wisconsin. With our initial investments, we will now be demonstrating our novel value-add strategy through execution of our Plan A2. We are delivering an attractive and innovative resource to promising, young Wisconsin companies by combining investment capital with highly engaged post-investment expertise and experience. 

WISC Partners is a valuable addition to the resources available in Wisconsin, and promises to create wealth for our LP's and all investment portfolio shareholders.
Yes, we look forward to a very productive 2015.


Allen Dines