Ideadvance fund invests in nine UW startups

The outreach arm of the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Extension, and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) established the Ideadvance Seed Fund last year to invest in startups founded by UW students. This week, Ideadvance announced it will provide a total of $325,000 in seed money to nine companies to help them enter the market, gauge demand for their services and identify sources of further venture capital.

Four of the startups, three from UW-Milwaukee and one from UW-Whitewater, became the first to reach the second of two stages of Ideadvance funding. They will each receive $50,000 after using their initial investment to flesh out their business strategies and establish collaborations and investments.

The other five, two from UW-Milwaukee and one each from the Eau Claire and Platteville campuses and the WiSys Technology Foundation, have been awarded $25,000 in initial investment. This is the third round of investment by Ideadvance, bringing its total allocation to $900,000 for 28 companies. It was originally established as a $2 million fund.

"We need to create opportunities that foster the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship," said WEDC vice president Lisa Johnson. "Ideadvance provides a foundation of support to the ideas and technologies emanating from our University of Wisconsin System and provides the much-needed seed capital and business support to successfully launch these next-generation companies."

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