MILWAUKEE, July 18, 2018 – BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation this week celebrates the five-year anniversary of the foundation’s incorporation. In keeping with its unique mission of deploying donated capital into innovative, job-creating, early-stage Wisconsin companies, dubbed “venture philanthropy,” the organization has played a key role in the constantly developing entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout the state.
“Brightstar has been a strong champion of entrepreneurship and has pushed for more investment into early-stage Wisconsin companies,” said Aaron Hagar, vice president of entrepreneurship & innovation for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. “It has been instrumental in identifying new funding sources and bringing investment and opportunity to communities across Wisconsin.”
The foundation has funded 45 early-stage Wisconsin companies with a total of more than $6.5 million and has more than $1.7 million in cash or pledged monies available to invest.
BrightStar’s investment committee recently approved an investment in Socialeads. The company was formed recently in the Milwaukee area and won Northwestern Mutual’s reverse pitch competition earlier this year. It is launching a platform that allows sales teams in the financial services sector to understand the value of an individual’s social media network and better position products based on what is continuously learned through the platform.
“I’m excited that Northwestern Mutual and BrightStar could join the round and I’m looking forward to working with them,” said David Trotter, managing director at the Winnebago Seed Fund. “I think Socialeads reinforces the idea that we have all the ingredients for success here in the state. It’s a great story with talented Wisconsin founders, Wisconsin investors, and the company’s first potential customers here.”
It is anticipated that the Winnebago Fund will lead the investment round and Northwestern Mutual also will participate through its Milwaukee-focused Cream City Ventures fund.