THU AM News: Angel network co-manager highlights ways to drive investment across state; Kaul declines to join settlement with Oxycontin manufacturer

— The co-manager for one of Wisconsin’s largest angel investor networks says allocating more resources to the Badger Fund of Funds would help drive investment activity across the state. 

“I think that’s what we need,” said Andrea Dlugos, co-manager for Wisconsin Investment Partners. “We see a lot of activity in Madison, Milwaukee and of course the Foxconn area, and I think some of the other parts of the state need that attention as well.” 

In a recent interview, Dlugos said the state’s startup ecosystem would also benefit from expanding the state’s Qualified New Business Venture program, which incentivizes investments in early-stage companies in the state. 

The program is coordinated by WEDC, providing tax credits to eligible angel investors and VC funds making cash equity investments in qualified startups. Investors in certified companies receive a 25 percent income tax credit on their investments, and each QNBV company is eligible for up to $12 million in qualifying investments. 

“It’s helpful to have the support of the state in encouraging this type of investment activity, and they’ve done a lot,” Dlugos said. 

She says these tax credits have motivated both individual angel investors and VC groups to invest more in the state. 

“We see that these types of programs are also popular in other states, and each state has their own take on it,” she said. “We think Wisconsin could learn from some of the things going on in other states, such as making tax credits refundable, or increasing the incentives.” 

That could mean increasing the total investment cap each QNBV-certified company is eligible to receive, or increasing the percentage for the credits going to investors who invest at different times — “perhaps a higher credit for earlier investments, for example.” 

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— Dem AG Josh Kaul has declined to join a proposal to settle suits multiple states filed against the manufacturer of Oxycontin, calling the terms inadequate. 

And DOJ acknowledged for the first time the Purdue Pharma suit was what Kaul wanted to brief members of the Joint Finance Committee last month only to have talks break down over the process for legislators to review proposed settlements. 

After former Republican AG Brad Schimel declined to join a multi-state suit against Purdue Pharma, Kaul filed his own action in state court in May. 

Kaul noted in yesterday’s statement the Sackler family, which owns the company, “has made billions” from the sale of opioids and the suit he filed alleges two Purdue Pharma entities and Richard Sackler contributed to the opioid epidemic through unlawful activities. 

“We’re committed to getting justice and, in my view, Purdue’s current position doesn’t achieve that,” Kaul said. 

National media reported yesterday Purdue Pharma, maker of the painkiller, had reached a tentative settlement with states, cities and counties that sued the company over its role in the opioid crisis. The deal was reported at between $10 billion to $12 billion, including a $3 billion from the Sackler family. 

See more at 

— Dane County has long had some of the top employment numbers in the nation for individuals with disabilities, thanks to a specialty transportation program. For many years, this program was in the hands of Madison Metro.

When Wisconsin’s regulations on Medicaid fund usage for specialized transit services shifted, Chicago-based entrepreneur Josh Massey received a phone call from EHS Dane County with an opportunity to help better the Madison community. At the time, Massey was running Alfred, a high-end rideshare service.

“Being an engineer, I gravitate toward solving problems,” Massey said. “I saw what people were dealing with when they were riding on these buses. They’d have to ride on the bus for hours on the way to work and back from work.”

Deciding he wanted to help these individuals get to work and home at a decent time, Massey put Alfred on hold. He relocated to the Madison area and in 2017 launched Carepool, a specialty transportation software platform that connects riders with disabilities and older adults to trained drivers.

Rider fees are mostly covered by Medicaid, according to Massey, with rates varying by market based on paying drivers a livable wage.

Carepool’s app allows a high level of direct communication between drivers and riders. Drivers send their riders text message updates about the pickup location and expected arrival time, while family members and other caretakers also receive text message updates that riders have been picked up and dropped off successfully. 

“It’s a coordination effort between the whole family, social workers, employers. … Everyone has to work together to know this person has gotten there safely,” Massey said.

Carepool hires full-time drivers on contract, including some retirees who want to stay active while earning extra income, as well as veterans. Many have previous experience working with either aging individuals or individuals with disabilities.

“A lot of our drivers are from the CNA (certified nursing assistant) world, or are retired nurses,” Massey said.

According to Massey, Carepool provides thousands of rides each month. The company is currently expanding in Waukesha, Milwaukee, Eau Claire and La Crosse, with plans for Green Bay “coming soon.”

See more at Madison Startups: 

— The Medical College of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy is launching a new track within its doctor of pharmacy program, aimed at getting more graduates to own and operate independent pharmacies in underserved areas. 

The program is being offered in partnership with the Independent Pharmacy Cooperative. Students accepted into the IPC Scholars track will go through clinical rotations at IPC member pharmacies in southeastern Wisconsin and in rural communities. 

Participating students will also get specialty certificate training, covering topics like patient-centered diabetes care and medication therapy management. IPC board members will provide mentorships to students, who will have opportunities for postgraduate residency training at pharmacies in the co-op. 

As part of the new partnership, the MCW School of Pharmacy school will offer training to IPC pharmacies for community-based pharmacy residency programs. According to a release, this pilot program could be brought to the national level through virtual learning. 

IPC has pledged $300,000 in support to the MCW School of Pharmacy for the new Scholars program. Some of that money will go toward merit-based scholarships for students accepted into the program. 

See the release: 

— UW Extended Campus is launching two new online degrees next year in applied biotechnology and IT management. 

A release from UW System shows the degree programs were created with input from industry leaders in biotech and information technology. 

George Kroeninger, associate dean of program development for UW Extended Campus, says demand for IT managers in the state is above the national average. 

And Aaron Brower, executive director for UW Extended Campus, highlights “booming” growth in biotechnology. 

“Wisconsin has seen its share of that growth, being the home to 75 biomanufacturing companies and internationally recognized for its leadership in biotech research,” he said. 

See the release: 

— UW-Madison has received just $700,000 of the $100 million promised by Foxconn for new research at the university, according to a report from the Associated Press. 

University spokesman John Lucas is quoted as saying there’s been “no significant progress in discussions” surrounding the money, but he’s hopeful talks will proceed in the coming months. 

See more in Foxconn Reports below. 

— The Trump administration is planning to ban flavored e-cigarettes as government entities across the country are investigating a string of lung disease cases linked to vaping. 

According to national news headlines, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told reporters the FDA is finalizing new guidance to ban e-cigarette flavors aside from tobacco, in response to concerns the candy-like flavors are appealing to minors. 

Following a policy meeting held by the president on vaping, Azar reportedly said the FDA will take several weeks to develop the new guidelines. 

In Wisconsin, the state Department of Health Services is investigating at least 35 cases of serious lung issues connected to vaping, and many of those afflicted say they used vape devices loaded with THC, the main psychoactive component in marijuana. 

On the national level, hundreds have come down with the vaping-associated lung disease and at least six people have died. 

Track the ongoing state-level investigation: 

See more in headlines below. 

— After piloting a new food delivery option this summer at one of its gas stations in Madison, Kwik Trip is now expanding the service to more of the metro area. 

The new service is being offered through EatStreet, a Madison food delivery startup that typically caters to restaurants. It’s being expanded to nine more stores, including six in the city of Madison and three others in Middleton, Monona and Sun Prairie. 

“The response has been overwhelming from our loyal customers and that meant one thing: We needed to expedite the launch of delivery at other Kwik Trip locations,” said David Jackson, Kwik Trip’s digital marketing and loyalty manager.

The companies are offering free delivery from the new locations through Sept. 23. 

And in the coming weeks, EatStreet plans to launch delivery services for Kwik Trip in Eau Claire, Janesville and Wausau. 

See the release: 

— The state Veterans Chamber of Commerce is holding its fourth annual Wisconsin Veterans in the Workforce Summit in Milwaukee later this month. 

The event is slated for 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at the Baird Conference Center in the US Bank Building. The luncheon will include a keynote speaker, a panel discussion and workshops. 

Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman will provide remarks, according to a release. Other speakers will be announced at a later date. 

See more on the upcoming event: 


# Wisconsin crops continue to lag behind as harvest nears

# Froedtert Health operating margin shrinks as revenue rises

# UW administration grows while faculty numbers decline

# Wisconsin not part of tentative Purdue Pharma opioid deal; attorney general pledges to pursue case



– Wisconsin dairy industry leader, Randall Geiger, passes

– Boschert named WPA assistant program director


– Colorado developer ‘impressed’ with Oak Creek, plans two Howell Avenue projects

– Building blocks: Boutique hotel at SentryWorld


– Administration within UW System grew while faculty numbers declined

– State FFA Foundation offering SAE grants


– Kwik Trip expands delivery service


– UW-Madison: Foxconn slow to fulfill $100M pledge for engineering, innovation research


– Trump administration readies ban on flavored e-cigarettes amid outbreak of vaping-related deaths


– Bayside-based MSI Data to accelerate hiring with Luminate Capital Partners’ investment


– Manufacturer plans to buy Journal Sentinel facility in Menomonee Falls for expansion


– Democrat introduces bills to pour millions more into CWD fight


– Colorado developer plans multi-building project near airport in Oak Creek

– Colorado developer ‘impressed’ with Oak Creek, plans two Howell Avenue projects


– X-Golf targets Friday grand opening in Brookfield


– For-M incubator holding pre-launch workshops around Milwaukee

– Inside the Brengel Technology Center at Johnson Controls, where smart buildings begin: Slideshow


– Newaukee Night Market’s future could include DNC, link with Third Street Market: Q&A


– DPW preparing report for possible re-route of streetcar lakefront line

– $75M in state money will fund multi-modal transportation projects

– Transportation Projects Commission likely to reconvene this winter

– New seasonal flights from Dane County to Las Vegas, Orlando to start in December


– Bobbi Wilson: Dairy exports are not the answer


<i>See these and other press releases: </i>

UW System: UW Extended Campus to launch two online Master of Science programs

Wisconsin Safety Council: Named Honor Chapter for second year in a row

Kwik Trip: expands delivery to Madison metro