Wisconsin companies raise $209.5 million last year, a slight dip from 2014

The amount of Wisconsin companies that raised investment capital last year increased to 128, up from 113 in 2014, according to a new Wisconsin Tech Council report.

They raised $209.5 million last year, which was down significantly from 2014 due to an outlier that year — when SHINE Medical Technologies raised $127.4 million. Removing that 2014 deal shows the amount raised last year dipped from about $218 million.

Still, the $209.5 million raised in 2015 was significantly higher than years before 2014, said Bram Daelemans, the director of the Tech Council’s Wisconsin Angel Network.

And about half of the companies in 2015 got funding for the first time, meaning they could come back in the near future with larger rounds, he said.

“I think it’s positive,” he said. “We’re continuing to build that pipeline of startups that are growing, and they’re gonna get more money down the line.”

The companies that got the most money last year were: NeuWave Medical ($25 million); EatStreet ($15 million); Flugen ($12 million). Three companies also got about $8 million each: Networked Insights, Fetch Rewards and TAI Diagnostics.

The numbers so far this year are looking strong, Daelemans said, with 58 companies raising about $150 million.

The largest deals in 2016 so far came from: Connecture, a publicly-traded company that raised $52 million; SHINE Medical ($11.5 million); Smart Choice MRI ($10 million); Ionic ($8.5 million); and Healthfinch and Understory, which brought in $7.5 million each.

“We’re on track to post similar results,” he said.

The report also noted 14 percent of the early-stage companies are women-led. That’s on par with national numbers, Daelemans said, but it shows there’s lots of room for improvement.

“It is a male-dominated industry, and I’ll even go a step further — a white male-dominated industry,” Daelemans said. “I think we have a long way to go.”

See the report

— By Polo Rocha,