After you search https://maps.legis.wisconsin.gov/ to find who represents you in the state Senate and Assembly, feel free to use this template to drop them a letter or email with your support for The Wisconsin Fund. Lawmakers listen to constituents like you. Customize your note to let them know why the economy in your community could use the lift!
I write to urge you to support the state budget proposal to invest $100 million from the state of Wisconsin in a privately matched, venture capital “fund of funds.”
It will pay indirect returns immediately. Such a fund will help young, high-growth companies throughout Wisconsin – especially those poised for rapid growth – while putting the state on the map for tech workers and investors for years to come. Workers in venture-backed companies earn about 1.5 times the average Wisconsin annual salary, according to industry statistics.
It’s not an unprecedented idea. Other states, including our neighbors in Ohio, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana, have invested in similar state funds over time. Such an investment has been urged by the Wisconsin Technology Council since 2012. Also, Wisconsin invested in the startup-oriented “Badger Fund of Funds” through Act 41 in 2013. This is a logical next step.
It will speed the state’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Venture-backed companies create well-compensated jobs, buy services and materials, pay taxes and generally spur the overall economy. Such “supply chains” extend throughout the state, not just our biggest cities.
It will become a “billboard” for Wisconsin. Wisconsin has the people, technology, research base and business climate necessary to attract more investment capital. Companies and investors on the coasts are looking for new opportunities. Talent is looking for places to move. This fund will send a strong, timely message that Wisconsin offers just such opportunities.
The risks will be well-managed; rewards are possible. With seasoned private investors spreading dollars over multiple investments and oversight from an independent state board, the risks associated with a venture capital fund will be appropriately managed. Because it will have the same stake as private investors, the state of Wisconsin will share equally in profits over time.
Please consider supporting this idea in the 2021-23 state budget. It’s not a loan or grant, but an investment in our economic future that will pay direct and indirect dividends for years to come.