Job Creation through Capital Donation

BrightStar Receives 2015 Wisconsin Innovation Award

Press Release
Tuesday, September 29, 2015

BrightStar Receives 2015 Wisconsin Innovation Award

Foundation also announces four new investments

MILWAUKEE, Sept. 29, 2015 –BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation, Inc. today announced that it has been recognized by the Wisconsin Innovation Awards organization (WIA) for the foundation’s innovative work in the nonprofit sector. The awards ceremony took place on Aug. 18 at Discovery World in Milwaukee, and was presented by American Family Insurance and Baker Tilly Virchow Krause. WIA seeks to celebrate and inspire innovation by highlighting and honoring the development of groundbreaking and innovative ideas. It hopes to encourage an even greater environment of innovation throughout Wisconsin.

BrightStar also announced that its investment committee has authorized funding for four additional early-stage Wisconsin companies.

The Wisconsin based companies receiving BrightStar investments are SteelGlaze Inc., Wausau; EmOpti Inc., Brookfield; Quietyme Inc., Neshkoro; and Bright Cellars Inc., Milwaukee.

“We were pleased to have our first co-investments with four prominent Wisconsin funding sources,” said Todd Sobotka, BrightStar’s portfolio manager. The lead investors, respectively, were N29 Capital Partners, a newly formed fund in north central Wisconsin, the Golden Angels Network, American Family Ventures, and CSA Partners.

The addition of these four investments brings the number of companies in the foundation’s portfolio to 26. The new investments total $660,000, bringing the total invested by the foundation since it started in February 2014 to more than $3.75 million.

“We have been looking forward to our first investment in Marathon County,” said Lorrie Keating, BrightStar’s vice president, “because we have two Wausau-based foundations, the Judd S. Alexander Foundation and the Dudley Foundation, that are BrightStar benefactors. We are making an extra effort to deploy these funds in their backyard. We were successful in doing so with our investment in SteelGlaze. This investment, and the one we made in the Neshkoro-based Quietyme, proves that there are opportunities for economic development statewide.” 

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.