Job Creation through Capital Donation

About BrightStar Wisconsin

Message from the President & CEO 

Thomas M. Shannon

For information regarding our accomplishments of 2019, follow the link to our 2019 Annual Report.

As we reflect on our 2019 activity, we are proud to report that since we founded BrightStar in late 2013, we have invested over $7.5 million in 52 Wisconsin early stage companies. So far only four of the companies have failed, which is an amazingly low percentage for all types of new business, but especially for the high-risk start-up space in which we invest. We have also had three successful exits where we made a good return on those investments. As most of you know, our unique venture philanthropy model invests those returns right back into new Wisconsin early stage companies.

Every year we feature a few of our companies with in-depth insight into how they are doing. For this report we will cover Fetch Rewards, a 2014 investment on page 4, and Pinpoint Software, a 2015 investment on page 5. I think you will find both of these to be encouraging stories. On page 6 we introduce our 2019 investments, and as usual, we have a brief update on all of the companies in our portfolio.

Our Hatch program, spearheaded by Fred Raasch, concluded its third year of outreach by hosting nine events in seven cities, with over 1,200 attendees. Hatch was our way of energizing the Wisconsin entrepreneurial community by sponsoring pitch events, often in underserved areas, to get local inventors and angel communities thinking about commercializing their ideas. Hatch was slated for a one-year run, but we had so much interest from other communities that we extended it by two more years.

We are especially encouraged by the formation of new early stage investment funds that have entered the Wisconsin angel community over the last 24 months. We look forward to working in tandem with all of them to continue to invest in the tremendous ideas Wisconsin has to offer. 

Thank you for your support of BrightStar!