Jeff Rusinow, the founder of Milwaukee-based angel investment network Silicon Pastures, was the keynote speaker at a recent startup event organized by accelerator program gener8tor. In his speech, Rusinow expressed optimism for the future of Wisconsin's tech companies. He said that roughly half of the 34 investments his network has made since 2000 have produced a good return, and that those successes are attracting more venture capital to the state.
As this blog reported, through the first nine months of 2014, Wisconsin's startups had already nearly doubled the total investment they received in all of last year. Rusinow noted that Wisconsin, not a traditional center for tech companies, is seeing a growing number of entrepreneurs and many success stories. Because of this, more companies are remaining in the state or even relocating there from surrounding areas instead of moving to the coasts in search of opportunities for expansion.
"It's not California, but Wisconsin's ecosystem is vibrant enough that everyone can do well," he said. "While I don't think there's been any appreciable difference in the amount of active angel investors, there's been dramatic growth in the amount of firms and funds that have either started in the state or are coming in."
Several investors who attended the gener8tor event told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that, given their success, they intend to use the earnings from past deals to continue investing in Wisconsin companies in the future.
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