Job Creation through Capital Donation

BrightStar Announces New Board and Investment Committee Members

Press Release
Thursday, January 7, 2016

BrightStar Announces New Board and Investment Committee Members

Foundation also discloses final 2015 investments

MILWAUKEE, Jan. 7, 2016 – BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. today announced three additions to its board of directors. Two of its new directors are from Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.: Mark R. Hogan, WEDC’s secretary & CEO, and Aaron Hager, WEDC’s vice president of entrepreneurship & innovation. Joining them will be former BrightStar Vice President Lorrie Keating Heinemann. 

“Mark and Aaron are welcome additions to the board, given their strong backgrounds in economic development,” BrightStar CEO Tom Shannon said. “Lorrie’s presence on the board will enable her to continue her great work building BrightStar, as she has done since its inception.

BrightStar also is adding two new members to its investment committee: Michelle J. Picard and Jonathon Fritz. Ms. Picard is a portfolio manager at Henderson Geneva Capital Management. Prior to that she was a principal at Geneva Capital. Mr. Fritz is the chief revenue officer at Madison-based Symphony Corp. He is an attorney with extensive experience in venture capital and intellectual property law, and serves on the Wisconsin Technology Council board.

“We also look forward to Michelle and Jonathan’s contributions to our investment committee. Both have outstanding backgrounds and will make significant contributions to our efforts,” Mr. Shannon said.

BrightStar also disclosed its final two investments for 2015. The Wisconsin-based companies receiving BrightStar investments of $50,000 each are FloraSeq LLC, Waukesha; and AkitaBox Inc., Madison. The addition of these two investments brings to 28 the number of companies in the foundation’s portfolio and the total invested by the foundation to more than $3.85 million since it began deploying money in 2014.

“We are gratified to have been able to add these two companies to our portfolio in the final month of 2015,” BrightStar portfolio manager Todd Sobotka said. “We look forward to discovering many more Wisconsin early-stage investment opportunities and hope to make $2 million in new investments in 2016.”

About the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc.

BrightStar is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation created to facilitate job creation and increase Wisconsin’s economic activity by deploying donated funds into equity stakes in early-stage, rapid growth companies. This new approach will enable the formation of new investment capital in Wisconsin through charitable donations to the foundation. Contributions to BrightStar are tax deductible.