Chasing the New Angel Investors

Entrepreneurs Find They Need More Than a 'Great Idea' When Pitching to Potential Backers


Budding entrepreneur Eric Bolden had never met an angel investor until he tried pitching a business idea to a few of them.

Last week, the retired prison guard showed up at a midtown New York loft for an event that connects entrepreneurs with investors to see whether he might get, say, $50,000, from the angels—wealthy individuals who provide capital to start-ups with the potential for fast growth.‬

Mr. Bolden, dressed in a suit and tie, took to the microphone for a two-minute pitch, clutching his crumpled notes of the key selling points for his idea—a police handgun identification signal, complete with a flashing alert. The proposed device is meant to protect plain-clothes officers from friendly fire.‬

‪Angel funding has become increasingly available to entrepreneurs like Mr. Bolden, whose product ideas are in the earliest stages.‬

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Madison tech company raises $20 million in venture capital

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

In what may be one of the biggest non-biotech venture capital fundings ever in Wisconsin, Networked Insights said Thursday it has raised $20 million.

The Madison company raised the money in a round led by funds affiliated with Goldman Sachs Asset Management. The round is the company's third, and brings to $30 million the total amount Networked Insights has raised.

The company was founded in 2006 and mines networks and blogs for real-time data that helps marketers make tactical decisions.

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High-tech exports, including biotech products, continue to rise as share of total Wisconsin exports

WTN News

WASHINGTON – High-tech exports in Wisconsin, including medical and scientific instruments and biotechnology products, are rising at a rate faster than five Midwestern state neighbors and the United States as a whole.

The figures were reported in a study commissioned for the Wisconsin Technology Council by NorthStar Economics Inc., a Madison-based firm that serves as the official economic adviser to the Tech Council. The figures were released during the 2011 BIO International Convention in Washington, D.C.

Wisconsin ranked 13th nationally in high-tech exports and 15th nationally in tech export concentration, the study concluded. Wisconsin experienced the largest increase among Midwest states in tech exports as a percentage of total exports from 2003 to 2009, with tech exports growing by 41.7 percent. That compared to Illinois (up 35.8 percent), Michigan (16.9 percent), Indiana (15 percent) and Iowa (2.4 percent) during the same period. Tech exports in the United States grew by 13 percent during the same period.

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Shine Medical raises $11 million in venture funding

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

Middleton-based Shine Medical Technologies said Tuesday morning it has raised $11 million of venture capital funding.

Knox LLC -- the investment vehicle for Frederick J. Mancheski, former chairman and chief executive of automotive parts supplier Echlin - led the round and contributed $10 million of the funding.

Fourteen other individual investors participated, Greg Piefer, Shine's chief executive, said in a news release.

Shine, formerly known as Phoenix Nuclear, is using its unique nuclear fusion technology to make molybdenum-99. The substance produces an isotope that's critical for certain medical imaging tests that diagnose, monitor and treat some cancers, as well as heart and brain diseases.

Two nuclear reactors in Canada and the Netherlands that are operating well past their design life provide the majority of the isotope used by Shine. Frequent shut-downs have created a worldwide shortage of the material.

Shine's nuclear fusion technology offers a possible alternative.

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Quintessence Biosciences receives $986,000 research grant

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

A Madison drug development company said Thursday it has received a $986,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Cancer Institute.

Quintessence Biosciences Inc. will use the money to support development of more drugs based on its Evade Ribonuclease technology, the company said.

Ribonuclease is a protein that chews up RNA, the long strands of material that transmit messages for cells. The company's technology aims to kill cancer cells by destroying the link between their DNA and protein.

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Minneapolis biotech firm moving to Wisconsin

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

Lured by the state's tax credits for investments in high-growth companies, a Minneapolis biotech start-up said Thursday it is moving to Wisconsin.

VitalMedix Inc. is developing a drug that could be used by first responders to potentially keep trauma victims alive longer. The drug, called Tamiasyn, has been tested in animals and could go into human trials as early as a year from now, said Jeffrey M. Williams, the company's president and chief executive officer.

"This sort of deal is better understood by investors in Wisconsin, and angel groups in Wisconsin are not only more aggressive, there are just a lot more of them," Williams said. The state has 22 organized angel investing groups, up from just a handful five years ago, according to the Wisconsin Angel Network.

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Stimulus stiffs biotech start-ups

Mike Ivey  —  3/11/2009 7:10 am

With all the stimulus money getting tossed around these days, you'd figure biotechnology would be near the top of the wish list.

Instead, specific funding for early stage science companies was practically written out of the $780 billion package, claims the president of Madison-based Centrose LLC.

A line inserted into the massive spending bill says $10 billion in stimulus funds provided to the National Institutes of Health are exempt from a previous requirement that 2.5 percent of NIH research money go to private companies.

"This single line stole a potential $250 million from research being conducted at small businesses," says Centrose CEO and founder Jim Prudent. "That may seem fine to some people. But to the businesses who create most, if not all, of the new non-government jobs, it's an outrage."

Prudent says NIH officials explain they've had difficulty getting enough high-quality grant proposals to meet the small-business funding mandate. They also told Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., that having funding flexibility allows the agency to devote excess money to "pure science" vs. research on a specific product or application.

But Prudent says that approach is a big mistake, arguing that taxpayer dollars are better aimed at actual companies. Founded in 2007, Centrose has eight employees and a sugar-based technology that improves the uptake and potency of pharmaceuticals.

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Medical tech boosts state

Wisconsin is No. 3 nationwide in sector employment

Posted: April 1, 2008

It delivers instant images inside the body or shrinks tumors with laser-like radiation. And according to the nation's largest and oldest technology trade group, medical technology plays a commanding role in keeping Wisconsin in the global technology race.

Wisconsin hosts the nation's third-largest cluster of medical-equipment manufacturers as measured by employment (5,800 jobs), behind No. 1 California (13,100) and No. 2 Minnesota (12,600), according to "Cyberstates 2008," an annual state-by-state overview by the American Electronics Association.

The organization, known as the AeA, focuses on electronics, telecommunications, software and information services. It excludes the proliferation of bioscience and stem-cell technology firms around Madison.

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