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New Wisconsin VC to Focus on Western Wisconsin Economic Development


A new fund supporting economic development in Western Wisconsin has been launched. It is funded by VC, private investors and the state.

Madison, WI, May 06, 2016 --(PR.com)-- The Badger Fund together with local investors will form the Idea Fund of La Crosse, a new Wisconsin-based venture capital fund to spur entrepreneurial growth in the western portion of the state.

The Idea Fund of La Crosse is backed by a $4 million anchor investment from the Badger Fund, a limited partnership formed in 2015. The Badger Fund includes $25 million from the State of Wisconsin for a State venture capital investment program and other investments from individuals and the program manager, Sun Mountain Kegonsa.

Formally known as The Badger Fund of Funds I, L.P., the Badger Fund invests in seed and early-stage venture capital funds Wisconsin. Sun Mountain Kegonsa is a partnership between Kegonsa Capital Partners of Dane County, Wis., which manages Wisconsin focused venture capital funds, and Sun Mountain Capital which specializes in managing highly customized regional venture capital investment programs both in the United States and in other countries.

The Badger Fund’s $4 million commitment decision was made after an extensive period of comprehensive due diligence, fund manager training and assessment of the opportunity set in La Crosse and the surrounding region and is to be matched by private capital investment.

“La Crosse and western Wisconsin are home to great entrepreneurial companies including Logistics Health and JAMF Software, as well as educational learning centers like the University of Wisconsin campuses at La Crosse, Western Technical College and Virterbo University and healthcare systems like Marshfield Clinic and Gundersen Lutheran. This innovative environment is a terrific startup location,” said Ken Johnson, a Partner in the Badger Fund. “An element of smart investment is targeting geographies that can support startup activity and provide return to startup investors.”

“Wisconsin has all of the necessary components and advantages to be a successful startup ecosystem. However, our experience is that investment capital is only one part of the solution; a startup geography needs a strong core of local fund managers and support from the community business leaders to be successful,” said Brian Birk, Managing Partner of Sun Mountain Capital and President of the Badger Fund. “The Badger Fund team allocates substantial time and resources to developing local venture fund managers, often with the basis that culture and ecosystem is equally important as a deep knowledge of the startup industry.”

“This is an exciting announcement and just the first step towards spurring more entrepreneurial and economic growth in Wisconsin,” said Department of Administration Secretary Scott A. Neitzel. “It’s great to see the Badger Fund moving forward and leveraging new venture capital opportunities in La Crosse and across the state.”

The Idea Fund will be managed by Jonathon Horne, a La Crosse native with deep understanding of the La Crosse region and professional experience in the financial services and investment industry. Horne holds a bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University and MBA and JD degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He most recently spent several years working in investment banking for J.P. Morgan in New York. Horne is returning to his hometown to work closely with local business leaders and to develop La Crosse and western Wisconsin into a robust and competitive geography for startup and entrepreneurial activity.

About the Badger Fund of Funds

The Badger Fund of Funds I, L.P. was formed in 2015 and includes $25 million from the State of Wisconsin pursuant to 2013 Wisconsin Act 41 to invest in Wisconsin based venture capital funds. The Badger Fund is managed by a partnership of Sun Mountain Capital and Kegonsa Capital Partners. The State of Wisconsin, individuals and the fund manager have invested over $30 million in the Badger Fund. www.badgerfundoffunds.com

About Sun Mountain Capital
Sun Mountain Capital is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was founded in 2006 to focus on private equity investing in high potential underserved geographies. Currently, Sun Mountain Capital has over $750 million in private equity assets under management and advisement. Sun Mountain Capital is a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). www.sunmountaincapital.com

About Kegonsa Capital Partners
Kegonsa Capital Partners was founded in 2004. Currently Kegonsa manages the Kegonsa Seed Fund I, LP, and Kegonsa Coinvest Fund, LLC. Both funds are based in Wisconsin with a focus on seed and early stage investments in Wisconsin based startup companies. In 2011, Kegonsa and Sun Mountain agreed to form a partnership to manage a Wisconsin based Fund of Funds investment vehicle. www.kegonsapartners.com

About the Idea Fund of La Crosse
The Idea Fund is a newly-formed venture capital fund based in La Crosse with a focus on seed and early stage investments in Wisconsin startup companies. The Fund’s primary purpose is to generate investor return by partnering with talented entrepreneurs to rapidly grow their businesses. The fund investors are expected to be a mix of the Badger Fund and local businesses and individuals. www.ideafundvc.com
Contact Information
Badger Fund
Starr McCaffery
630-546-2050
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