THU AM News: Diverse fund managers ‘change the narrative’ in venture capital; Evers to challenge ruling preventing enforcement of capacity limits

— Diverse fund managers can “change the narrative” for Wisconsin’s competitiveness in venture capital while making money and inspiring social change, according to a panel of investors.

Wisconsin investors came together this week in a virtual event hosted by the Wisconsin Technology Council to make the case for emerging and diverse fund managers. 

An emerging manager’s fund is usually capped at $1 billion, explained Rep. Jason Fields, D-Milwaukee, and founder of Dark Knight Capital Ventures, LLC. He defined a diverse manager as coming from a demographic that’s not heavily funded in the venture capital space, citing as examples people of color, women and veterans. 

“When we look at founders, money managers, entrepreneurs, we see that number one, there is a lack of underrepresented capital or managers in these spaces, whether that’s the venture capital space, whether that’s the private equity space, whether that’s the opportunity zones funds space,” he said.

Fields said less than 5 percent of venture capital goes to African Americans and Latinos. He also noted a “huge discrepancy” between male and female founders.

“The assumption too often is that emerging managers and minority managers or diverse managers underperform their peer counterparts,” said Cory Nettles, founder of Generation Growth Capital, Inc. “If you actually look at the data, the exact opposite is true. Emerging managers and diverse managers substantially outperform their nondiverse counterparts.”

Read the full story at 

— The governor plans to challenge a ruling preventing enforcement of an order limiting indoor, public gatherings, a spokeswoman says.

Sawyer County Judge John Yackel quickly issued a temporary injunction preventing enforcement of the order after the Tavern League of Wisconsin filed the suit Tuesday. Along with temporarily blocking the order, Yackel scheduled a Monday hearing for additional arguments in the case.

He issued the restraining order without first giving Gov. Tony Evers a chance to weigh in on the league’s request.

“This is a dangerous decision that leaves our state without a statewide effort to contain this virus,” said Evers spokeswoman Britt Cudaback. “We will be challenging the decision, and in the meantime, we need Wisconsinites to stay home and help us prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The order was the latest twist in the legal battles over Evers’ moves to address COVID-19. A St. Croix County judge last week rejected a request from the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty to prevent enforcement of the guv’s mask mandate. The group plans to appeal that decision.

The limit on public gatherings was issued by Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm, placing a cap of 25 percent of a room’s capacity.

In its suit, the Tavern League argued Palm “flatly ignored” the state Supreme Court’s previous ruling on another COVID-19 emergency directive and didn’t follow proper rulemaking procedure.

“Like all businesses in Wisconsin we continue to advise our members to follow WEDC standards to provide for a safe environment for our employees and customers,” said Tavern League President Chris Marsicano.

Read the order:

— Gov. Tony Evers says the change in leadership at the Department of Workforce Development last month is “paying off.”

“Our Department of Workforce Development is doing a yeoman’s work as far as trying to catch up, and we feel we’re going to be in a pretty good place in the very near future, so make sure the people that are thrown out of work are applying for benefits and we will do our best to get them out as soon as possible,” he said in a Department of Health Services briefing this week.

Evers asked for and received former Secretary Caleb Frostman’s resignation Sept. 18, and he was replaced on an interim basis by Corrections Deputy Secretary Amy Pechacek.

The latest update from DWD shows about 8.1 percent of weekly claims were still in process just less than a month after Frostman was pushed out. That impacts 80,758 claimants, who can have multiple issues holding up one or more weeks.

The week before Frostman resigned, 10.9 percent of weekly claims were still being processed, and the backlog was nearly 11.5 percent a month before his departure.

“We have a change in leadership, and I feel very strongly about that change and it’s paying off in that they are really working hard to change the system as they go along and get those numbers down so it doesn’t take seven months anymore,” Evers said. “I believe by the end of the calendar year, we will be in a good place. We’re in a much better place now than we were several weeks ago.”

In response to Evers’ optimism, Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, said the guv had failed to meet his goal to end the UI backlog by August.

“Evers thinks the 80,000 are in a much ‘better place’ today,” he challenged. “Some of these claimants have been waiting since the beginning of the pandemic with no financial assistance.”

The average time from application to individuals getting a state UI payment is 25 days, according to DWD. That’s an increase from 17 days in May, Nygren said, adding that “Wisconsin’s unemployment payment timeliness is one of the worst in the nation.”

DWD has received over 952,000 UI applications since mid-March and 14,730 applications the week ending Oct. 10.

— Evers said the Unemployment Insurance system is “inadequate and old and should have been replaced or updated several years ago.”

But Nygren said while the governor has been on the job for nearly two years, he’s not initiated the IT benefit system upgrade.

“His agency did not even request funds for an IT system upgrade in their agency budget request submitted just last month,” Nygren said. “Former Secretary Frostman admitted the UI benefits IT system is not the main reason behind the backlog. He also hoped to ‘catch up’ on the backlog by the end of the year, the same timeline Evers is now giving, showing no improvement.”

The guv cautioned that every time the federal government makes a change to UI, it takes weeks to get the program in place. Evers used President Trump’s executive order as an example that authorized an additional $300 in UI.

“The programming for that was just finished a few weeks ago and we are now in the process of processing those claims,” he said.

Nygren charged Evers’ “excuses and passing of the buck” as tired and old.

“The unemployment backlog will be fixed with hard work, process improvement, and leadership,” he said. “Unfortunately, that leadership has been lacking. Republicans have been calling for changes for months with no plan from the Governor.”

— Evers is calling on Wisconsinites to reach out to their representatives in Congress encouraging them to pass a deal regarding COVID-19 relief.

“We need federal help for small businesses,” he said. “We have put hundreds of millions of dollars into the system as it relates to supporting small businesses.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Evers said Congress was actively involved with several large programs to help businesses.

“We need that federal money. I encourage people at the local level to reach out to their state representatives in Congress to do whatever they can to get a deal going again,” he said. “It’s politics as usual in Washington, D.C., also, but at the end of the day, we do need, and our small businesses need, some more federal resources to stay alive and to remain in the position to continue to serve the people of Wisconsin.”

— Statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations have broken the 1,000 mark — but the Wisconsin State Fair Park Alternate Care Facility welcomed no patients on its first day open.

The West Allis field hospital’s CEO Deb Standridge says hospitals are preparing now to send patients.

She said yesterday in a Department of Health Services briefing that the ACF team has been fielding calls from hospitals inquiring about transferring patients and patient eligibility for admission today, ACF’s second day open.

But Standridge could not predict how many patients would be arriving today.

“Hospitals are going through that process right now in terms of predicting how many beds they will have available to care for people in their community that also includes the COVID-19 population,” she said. “That is why these conversations are very lengthy as hospitals discern what their hospital bed capacity forecast can be as well as what their staffing resources are.” 

Hospitalizations are at an all-time high, now at 1,017 patients, according to the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s coronavirus data dashboard. Intensive care units are also strained with 246 patients. 

Every region in the state is reporting staffing shortages, DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk said. 

DHS Secretary Andrea Palm told reporters in a briefing earlier this week that the Fox Valley, northeast and north central regions of Wisconsin are seeing the most acute capacity issues in hospitals. 

The State Fair Park facility has the capacity for 50 transfer patients who are in the last few days of their hospitalization. There is no charge for the transfer or care at the ACF, according to Standridge. Willems Van Dijk said the cost is covered by the federal CARES Act.

— The Mobile Autonomous Robotic Cart from MuL Technologies in Mequon was crowned the winner of this year’s “Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin” contest.

The robotic cart — MARC — is completely independent with the ability to map a facility, avoid obstacles and get to the correct destination at the correct time. The cart can be pre-programed with a destination with a single command and be sent on its way with the tap of a button. 

MuL Technologies was founded in 2018 and is a partner of GMI Solutions, a global contract manufacturer.

“Wisconsin has a diverse and innovative manufacturing industry, and our finalists portray that,” said WMC President and CEO Kurt Bauer. “From diapers and children’s clothing to industrial machinery and robotic carts, we congratulate our finalists and all of our nominees in this year’s contest.”

More than 125,000 votes were cast over multiple rounds. Nearly 50,000 votes were cast in the final round of the contest. MuL Technologies’ robotic cart was announced the winner at the annual WMC Foundation Made in Wisconsin Luncheon, which was held virtually yesterday.

— An Epic Health Research Network duo will explain at an upcoming Tech Council event how it is tapping digital health records to better inform clinical experts. 

Dr. Nichole Quick and Matt Doyle will join the virtual 2020 Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium the morning of Nov. 10 to discuss the Epic Health Research Network — designed for rapid sharing of knowledge to help solve medical problems.

The anonymous information is made available with internal peer review, but without third-party peer review, to expedite sharing. Developers believe it’s important that good data be available sooner, rather than perfect data be available too late.

Register here: 

— The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s Innovation Day on Nov. 18 will include a 60-minute virtual pitch event featuring four UW-Madison affiliates.

The 2 p.m. pitch and moderated Q&A session will exhibit:

* “Rendering Reality: Enhancing Virtual and Augmented Reality’’ with Kevin Ponto from the School of Human Ecology;

* “Wearable Device to Improve the Rehabilitation and Treatment of Tendon Injuries’’ with Darryl Thelen from the College of Engineering;

* “Cost-Saving Dairy Protein Separation’’ with Mark Etzel from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences;

* and “ECMO Simulator for Lifesaving Oxygenation Procedures ‘’with Erick Przybylski from the School of Medicine and Public Health.


— Wisconsin reported its third single-day count of over 3,000 confirmed cases yesterday. 

The state also reported 28 new deaths, bringing the coronavirus death toll to 1,536. The seven-day average for single-day COVID-19 deaths is at an all-time high of 17. 

The 3,107 new cases bring the seven-day average of daily confirmed cases to a record 2,840.

The confirmed cases were out of 14,542 people tested. The seven-day average of new confirmed cases per total people tested is at 20.3 percent, up from 19.6 percent Tuesday. In terms of total tests collected, the average positive test percentage is at 10.4 percent, up from 10.1 percent Tuesday.

The state reports 158,578 cumulative COVID-19 cases with 125,411 of those people recovered. The death rate for Wisconsin residents who have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 is at 1 percent.

Milwaukee County leads the state’s count with 554 reported deaths followed by Racine County with 101 deaths.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 

— The Department of Health Services is conducting 260 more facility-wide COVID-19 public health investigations than last week. It’s now conducting 2,087 investigations statewide.

Workplaces outside the health care industry account for 615 of the active investigations. 

Long-term care facilities make up 467 of the investigations. Those facilities are reporting 492 deaths due to COVID-19, making up 32 percent of the state’s death count. These include nursing homes and assisted living facilities, such as community-based residential facilities and residential care apartment complexes.

There are 199 active nursing home investigations. About 88 percent of confirmed COVID-19 patients who have died in the state were age 60 or older.

Education facilities account for 420 investigations.

The state is also conducting 378 investigations in “other settings,” which according to DHS include adult day care centers, restaurants, event spaces and religious settings.

One hundred and twenty-three of the investigations are in group housing facilities, including correctional facilities, homeless shelters, dormitories and group homes, which have seen 52 COVID-19 deaths or 3 percent of the state’s total. DHS marks 546 deaths as “unknown” meaning they may or may not have occurred at a long-term care or group housing facility.

According to DHS, people with “unknown” group housing status do not have information completed in the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System regarding whether they live in a group housing setting or not.

DHS is conducting 84 investigations in health care facilities.

Counties with the highest numbers of investigations include: Milwaukee (234), Dane (218), Waukesha (149), Kenosha (116), Brown (111) and Outagamie (111).

See a breakdown of active public health investigations by county here: 


# Outbreak Wisconsin: ‘This is Slowly Grinding Us Into Dirt’

# Fiveable secures $2.3 million funding from investors, including Chelsea Clinton 

# Award-winning Wisconsin cheese plant will shut down 



– The U.S. was the world’s best prepared nation to confront a pandemic. How did it spiral to ‘almost inconceivable’ failure?

– Wisconsin Health Official: ‘This Is Clearly Another Wave Of The Pandemic’ 


– Three Wisconsin cities make U.S. News and World Report’s Best Places to Live list 


– Judge rejects attempt to block grants to 5 Wisconsin cities

– Ground game: Voters, organizers gear up for fight over battleground Wisconsin


– Fiserv Forum to host 2025 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, in addition to 2022 


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

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– Tech Council: Healthcare IT leaders to lead innovation session at 2020 Early Stage Symposium