What is this?

Wisconsin has been ranked 50th out of 50 states for new businesses the past three years, according to the Kauffman Foundation. What if the state of Wisconsin thought big, super big. What if Wisconsin decided to become a global leader in innovation and job creation.

 

This plan would involve investing $300,000 into 10,000 startups across Wisconsin’s 72 counties. The goal is to invest in 1,000 startups per year to reach investments in a total of 10,000 startups. The fund will start slow. It will take time to ramp up investments in 1,000 startups per year. The first year might only see 50 investments in startups. By year 4, the fund can be investing in 1,000 startups per year.

HOW WILL THIS BE FUNDED?

Through The State of Wisconsin Investment Board pensioners will be able to volunteer to invest 3% of their funds into this 10,000 startup fund.

This program will put Wisconsin on the global map for innovation.

$3 billion invested into startups across 72 counties averages out to 140 new well-funded new businesses per county. Each of those startups would create 2-5 new jobs in the first year alone, each paying on average $50,000/year. Historically, Wisconsin companies stay in business for 5+ years.

Start-up money is the biggest hurdle to business creation. This plan would create the most jobs in the shortest time with little to no taxpayer risk.

Talent

This program will also attract talent from all over the world. They will locate in Wisconsin. Many of them will stay. They will help these companies grow, attract more talent and money, and create jobs.

1. Lose money: A potential risk is that the program will lose money overall. All investments involve risk. This risk involves creating a new and promising future for Wisconsin.

With venture capital, there only needs to be a small percentage of companies that do well to make this a successful program in terms of investment returns and job growth. Exact Sciences and Epic are of course two prime examples.

2. Doing nothing: The major risk is not doing enough, not forging our own path. New paths create risk, but also opportunity.

We’re already doing this on a super small scale. The Brookings Institute recently highlighted Madison, Wisconsin as a leader in the digitalization of the economy. We can build on this across the State of Wisconsin. We need to build on this.

STEPS TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN
01
Step 01

We’ll start slow. Ramping up to investing $300 Million each year for 10 years from the state of Wisconsin Retirement System Pension Fund (roughly .3% of the total $100 Billion SWIB managed fund).

02
Step 02

Invest $300,000 in 10,000 startups across 72 counties in the state over 10 years. The investments will be managed by a team of professionals. We can leverage Gener8tor and Badger Fund of Funds experience. Decisions and oversight will be transparent, open to the public. Each company will have to file a basic audit and report on an annual basis.

03
Step 03

Generate an extra $100+ Million a year in income tax revenue by immediately creating 30,000 new jobs averaging $50,000/year.

04
Step 04

Continue to build out our State entrepreneurial ecosystem. This includes mentors, more venture capital funding and most importantly, developing our amazing talent and attracting new talent. This will take a lot of hard work. We are sure that is what Wisconsin is all about. Hard work.

MEET OUR TEAM

Mark is the founder and managing director of HealthX Ventures in Madison. Before that in 2010 he founded and was CEO of Nordic Consulting – the countries largest Epic consulting company with over 1000 employees today. He also started and sold two other network consulting companies before starting Nordic. He’s a lifelong Wisconsin resident and has a degree in computer science from UW Madison.

Mark Bakken Interview

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