Gov. Doyle: Announces state angel network investments rose 28 percent in 2008

ATLANTA – Governor Jim Doyle today announced that Wisconsin angel networks and funds posted a 28 percent increase in early stage investments in 2008, reaching more than $15 million invested in 53 deals. Recently released data showed that angel investing was down 26 percent nationally for the same year compared to 2007.

“Wisconsin’s angel networks and funds are finding good deals in Wisconsin, despite the economic downturn,” Governor Doyle said. “Wisconsin has a nationally admired strategy for building angel capital, and it’s important we keep moving forward. This is why I’ve included in my budget funding for the Wisconsin Venture Fund, which will increase venture financing in Wisconsin and continue turning this research into viable, job-creating businesses.”

“Wisconsin’s angel networks and funds are the backbone for our early stage market, dramatically increasing funding levels at a time when the entrepreneurial economy needs it the most,” said Joe Kremer, Director of the Wisconsin Angel Network.

While Wisconsin’s overall early stage investment market has followed the national trend, down 33 percent to $98 million in 2008, the increase in angel network and fund investing demonstrates the success of Wisconsin’s focus on building and retaining angel networks and funds.

Governor Doyle has worked hard to spur creation of risk capital in Wisconsin, including investor tax credits, the formation of the Wisconsin Angel Network and the proposed Wisconsin Venture Fund to help facilitate deal flow, investor exchanges and network creation. In February, Governor Doyle expanded the investor tax credit law as part of an early economic recovery bill. Enhancements include: raising the cap on tax credits for angel investments from $1 million to $4 million; tripling the annual pool of credits available for angle credits, from $5.5 million to $18.25 million per year, and venture credits, $6 million to $18.75 million; and allowing angel investors to claim the entire 25 percent credit on their investment in the first taxable year.

Angel investors are high net-worth individuals who invest in start-up ventures, sometimes alone and sometimes as members of a group. More than 250 angels in 28 groups are affiliated with WAN, which is a public-private program of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Governor Doyle announced the survey results during the 2009 BIO international convention in Atlanta, Georgia, which is being attended by a Wisconsin delegation that includes representatives of many early stage companies. The survey was produced by the Wisconsin Angel Network, which is managed by the Wisconsin Technology Council.

Surveyed for the report were Wisconsin angel groups and funds, as well as major law firms that handle deals for individual angels and others.