MON AM News: Trek’s John Burke turns attention to presidential campaign with new book; Winnow Fund to invest in college entrepreneurs

— The year 2020 started out precariously for Waterloo-based Trek Bicycle Co. But things turned prosperous for the company in early summer, as many people began buying bikes as a healthy way to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. 

Yet John Burke, president of privately held Trek, has more on his mind these days than soaring bicycle sales, which he predicted will broach $1 billion this year — a new record. 

“It’s been an amazing year for Trek,” noted Burke.

But Burke is worried about the direction of the country and especially concerned about the fate of the planet.

Burke said he strongly considered running for president as an independent, but abandoned that plan after determining he had little chance of winning. In the run-up, though, he penned the book, “Presidential Playbook 2020: 16 Nonpartisan Solutions to Save America.” 

The book would have been his campaign platform. 

Read the full story at 

— The Winnow Fund, a woman-led, seed-stage venture capital fund, has closed on $6 million of capital to invest in a key growing sector in Wisconsin: university and college entrepreneurs. 

The capital is a crucial benchmark to continue investing in existing startup companies, and bolsters the Winnow Fund’s plans to emphasize collaboration with entrepreneurs at colleges and universities across Wisconsin who dream of starting their own companies. It is the fourth fund in the Badger Fund of Funds family to begin investing. 

“Richelle Martin, the Winnow Fund manager, has had a singular focus over the last two years on raising capital and getting this fund launched,” said Ken Johnson, a Badger Fund of Funds partner. “Richelle showed extraordinary persistence and grit while not taking any compensation at all because she was so passionate about the need for a fund like this in Wisconsin.”

The Badger Fund of Funds was the lead investor in the Winnow Fund. It was joined by The Capital Times, Johnsonville Ventures, MGE Energy Inc., two Wisconsin based private equity investment firms — Inventure Capital and N29 Capital Partners — along with more than two dozen individuals.

Winnow Fund is the only women-led fund that’s based in the state and investing in Wisconsin companies. While the first three Badger funds had a geographic focus, the Winnow Fund will focus on university-level entrepreneur students and clubs.  

“Students have great ideas but need someone to guide them through the process of creating a company to commercialize their idea,” Johnson said. “Richelle Martin’s legal background, know-how, and experience at UW-Madison make her a perfect fit to help student inventors and entrepreneurs create and grow their companies.”

Winnow Fund and others in the Badger Fund of Funds family deploy all of their investment dollars in Wisconsin. Winnow Fund will continue accepting new investors for another couple of months, but will start the new fund investment period this November. 

Listen to a previous WisBusiness podcast with Richelle Martin: 

— Wisconsin businesses and organizations that have achieved exporting success can apply for a 2020 Governor’s Export Achievement Award by Sept. 25. 

The program, through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., highlights global reach of Wisconsin products and services. The awards are open to companies and organizations of all sizes that have contributed to the state’s ability to compete in the global economy.

“Exporting is a vital business strategy for reaching new markets and advancing growth,” said Katy Sinnott, WEDC’s vice president of international business development. “The Governor’s Export Achievement Awards celebrate Wisconsin companies that have contributed to Wisconsin’s exporting strength by achieving extraordinary results in international markets.”

Winners will be announced during the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce Wisconsin International Trade Conference to be held virtually in October. 

The online application form can be found here: 

— Yesterday marked four consecutive days of daily new COVID-19 cases over 1,000 and a record daily case count of 1,582, breaking last Thursday’s record. 

The new cases bring the seven-day average for new confirmed cases to 1,142, up from 1,043 and another record-breaking figure.

The percent positive rate also reached new heights at 20.5 percent after the state recorded just 7,735 new test results. The seven-day percent positive average rose to 14.1 percent from 13.4 percent — far over the ideal rate of 5 percent. 

The total number of people tested is over 1.3 million and 89,185 have tested positive. Meanwhile, 77,750 have recovered, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ coronavirus metrics.  

The state has the lab capacity to test 38,530 specimens — this could be multiple tests per person — but has not yet tested over 25,000 specimens in one day. 

— This weekend, 13 more Wisconsinites passed away from COVID-19 bringing the state’s death toll to 1,210. DHS reports that 1.4 percent of COVID-19 patients have died in the state.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (514), Racine (93), Waukesha (85), Kenosha (65), Brown (58), Dane (41), Walworth (32), Washington (32), Rock (29), Outagamie (24), Winnebago (22), Waupaca (19), Grant (19), Ozaukee (18), Marathon (14), Fond du Lac (12), Sheboygan (11), Clark (8), Dodge (8), Jefferson (7), Marinette (7), St. Croix (7), Eau Claire (6) and Pierce (6).

Barron, Forest, Oconto and Richland counties report four deaths each, while Adams, Door, Portage, Sauk, Taylor and Wood counties report three deaths each. 

Buffalo, Burnett, Calumet, Columbia, Green, Kewaunee, La Crosse, Langlade, Manitowoc, Monroe, Oneida, Polk, Trempealeau and Waushara counties report two deaths each.

Ashland, Bayfield, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Lincoln, Marquette, Rusk, Sawyer, Vilas and Washburn counties report one death each.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 

— Southeastern Wisconsin is doing better in terms of numbers of COVID-19 patients hospitalized on a daily basis than it was in late July and August. 

But more rural areas, such as the Fox Valley, are seeing rising numbers of patients. 

While 45 percent of Wisconsin’s total COVID-19 patients — 141 — are in southeast Wisconsin, that’s down from 57 percent early last week and over 60 percent in weeks prior. 

Meanwhile, the Fox Valley region’s numbers have more than doubled since Sept. 1 going from 24 patients to 52 patients. The other five public health regions of the state report 46 or fewer patients. 

“The only things we can do to prevent hospitalizations really are masking, physical distancing and good personal hygiene,” said Dr. Mark Kaufman, chief medical officer at the Wisconsin Hospital Association. “My deduction would be that in general, in the southeast of the state, the population has really been very good, and in parts of the state where hospitalizations are rising, it’s likely that we’re not as consistent with masking and distancing and good personal hygiene if cases are rising.”

— Wisconsin’s COVID-19 hospitalizations number 313 — over the seven-day average of 307 but still under the Aug. 10 high of 414. 

WHA argues that hospitalizations are the best way to monitor the pandemic in different regions across the state despite being a lagging indicator.

Kaufman explained that the number of positive tests can be influenced by how extensive the testing is, by testing supplies, whether testing is focused on asymptomatic or symptomatic patients and outbreaks. 

“But at the end of the day, if a person gets COVID-19 and is destined to be hospitalized, that’s going to happen whether they are tested as an outpatient or not,” he said. “Although it’s a lagging indicator, hospitalizations are really one of the best metrics to understand the status of the pandemic in the state and in the region.”

The state’s COVID-19 ICU patients number 93, which is over the seven-day average of 91. Wisconsin recorded its highest number of ICU patients on April 10 at 196. The lowest amount of ICU patients was July 5 numbering 65. 

See the WHA hospital dashboard here: 


# UW-La Crosse Suspends In-Person Classes For Next 2 Weeks

# Kroger CEO says eat-at-home trend filling grocer’s coffers will last for ‘foreseeable future’

# Covid-19 Prevention and Management on Dairy Farms as Important as Ever 

# Big Ten aims for football’s return in October, vote coming this week



– Agronomist concerned about silage quality 

– USDA lowers 2020 corn, soybean crop estimates 

– Pork Producers Still Running in the Red 


– When crises collide: Child care’s role in reopening the economy 

– ManpowerGroup CEO Prising: Economic recovery could take years 


– Back to school: As students return, colleges and universities face huge challenges from COVID-19 pandemic 

– Colleges show little patience — or mercy — for students who violate policies to keep Covid-19 in check 

– With Supreme Court OK, Dane County Private Schools Plan To Move Forward With In-Person Instruction 

– UW-Whitewater Chancellor Warns City Officials It Could Be Next To Move Classes Online 


– Congressman Tiffany Pushes Bill to Delist Gray Wolves 


– Medical College, Greater Milwaukee Foundation unveil priority areas, branding for new collaboration 

– Local Leaders Fight COVID Conspiracy Theories 

– UW Research Into Potential COVID Vaccine, Flu Comparisons 


– A Black venture capitalist sees challenges as an investing edge 


– Creditors don’t follow through on vow to oppose Briggs & Stratton fast-track sale to KPS 

– Wisconsin Brewery Owners Fault Trump’s Pandemic Response 


– Oracle wins bidding war for TikTok’s US operations 


– Judge Rejects Kanye West’s Bid To Be On Wisconsin’s Presidential Ballot 


– Kohl’s to carry activewear line by Adidas, Zoe Saldana 


– Small businesses could be on their own as hopes for second PPP, more stimulus fade 


– Collared Deer are Legal to Harvest During Fall Deer Seasons 


– Influential Milwaukee women join local tech startup’s cause for empowerment 


– Milwaukee Public Museum unveils site of future facility 

– Milwaukee ethnic festivals creatively raise money in a pandemic and plan return to lakefront in 2021 


– Moody’s is skeptical of Harley-Davidson’s ‘Rewire,’ sees extended erosion of motorcycle market 


– InsideWis: Safe coronavirus vaccine will be developed, but accelerated process won’t bypass safety 

– Letter to the Editor: Clarifying future convention business 

– Wisconsin Farmers Can Now Call 24/7 and Find Help 


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

Milwaukee Health Dept.: Business update

Public Health Madison and Dane County: State Supreme Court action on public health order