BrightStar announces three new investments

BrightStar announces three new investments

MILWAUKEE, May 1, 2017 –BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. today announced investments in three new companies, including SimpleMachines Inc. of Madison. The company has created a new processing chip that is used to reduce costs and energy usage in data centers while substantially increasing processing speed.

“Brightstar has been an amazing partner for us in reaching our fundraising goals,” said SimpleMachines’ CEO Karu Sankaralingam. “They even helped make introductions to VC groups that should be valuable for a future fundraising round.  We expect to be piloting our unique processing chip with one or more of the super seven data centers before the end of the year. This infusion of capital will help us build the engineering teams here in Wisconsin we need to be successful.”

Mr. Sankaralingam developed the company’s technology at UW-Madison. The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) led SimpleMachines’ investment round. Additionally, BrightStar co-invested with some of the largest angel investors in the state, including Wisconsin Investment Partners (WIP) of the Madison area.

The other two investments by BrightStar support gener8tor companies: Exit 7C Inc., of Milwaukee, and Lumanu Inc., of Milwaukee. Both companies were part of the accelerator’s fall of 2016 class and moved to Wisconsin from other parts of the country. Exit 7C operates from Milwaukee following its move from Washington D.C. at the end of 2016.  The company enables efficient mobile payment for gasoline for both fleet managers and consumers. Exit 7C’s technology saves money and prevents skimming theft at the gas pump.  Lumanu, founded in the San Francisco area, has an innovative technology that allows companies to locate and work with the most significant social media influencers for their product brands. Both companies have been certified by WEDC as qualified new business ventures in Wisconsin and can make  tax credits available to participating investors.

As a reminder to accredited investors interested in early-stage investments, BrightStar occasionally offers co-investing opportunities in our portfolio companies that are raising capital.  Please email Todd Sobotka at if you wish to receive invites to these “BrightStar Angels” meetings.


About the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc.

BrightStar is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation created to facilitate job creation and increase Wisconsin’s economic activity by deploying donated funds into equity stakes in early-stage, rapid growth companies. This unique approach enables the formation of new investment capital in Wisconsin through charitable donations to the foundation.