THU AM News: gener8tor says Wisconsin’s venture capital is declining; DWD announces six “Vets Ready” winners

— Wisconsin has shown a shocking decline in venture capital, lacking competitiveness against neighboring states, according to the co-founders of startup incubator gener8tor.

In 2017, Minnesota raised nearly three times the amount of venture capital as Wisconsin, Joe Kirgues said in a Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce briefing. And in the first nine months of 2020, Minnesota totaled $1 billion, while Wisconsin remained south of $200 million.

Minnesota is not an anomaly among Wisconsin’s Midwestern neighbors, Kirgues said. Michigan and Illinois are outpacing Wisconsin in venture capital and seeing billions of dollars in liquid cash as a result. Wisconsin is struggling to maintain its position in new employment, population growth and income growth — all of which can be traced back to the position of Wisconsin in the venture capital market, he said.

“If you want to raise incomes, drive population growth and introduce next generation technology, venture capital is the best way to do it,” Kirgues said. “It is really important for a community’s health and well-being.” 

In 2011, venture capital employed 11 percent of the American private sector. It is expected that up to 20 percent of the nation’s private sector workforce will eventually stem from venture capital, Kirgues said, citing national aggregate data. Kirgues and co-founder Troy Vosseller are concerned about Wisconsin communities’ participation in this growth.

“Our hope is that the WMC would consider having a discussion with its policy team, with the leaders it works with in the Legislature and executive branch and its members to facilitate what we as a state can do to invest in our communities,” Kirgues said, referring to Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.

Madison- and Milwaukee-based gener8tor has sourced and mentored more than 500 startups through its accelerator programs. The 115 startups the company has gone on to invest in have raised more than half a billion dollars in later stage venture capital. Kirgues said the majority of that capital is imported into the state.

Vosseller and Kirgues see gener8tor as an efficient driver of the economy and innovation. 

“We invest into these entrepreneurs and startups with the goal that they continue to grow and be positive contributors to creating wealth and jobs within our local economies,” Vosseller said. 

— The Department of Workforce Development announced six winners of the Vets Ready Initiative.

The new employer recognition initiative, launched earlier this year, highlights employers who have a commitment to hiring veterans, supporting their veteran workforce and connecting with the veteran community.

*4imprint, Inc. – Gold Level Award

*Associated Bank – Gold Level Award

*TDS Telecom – Gold Level Award

*WEC Energy Group – Gold Level Award

*Xcel Energy – Gold Level Award

*Rockwell Automation – Silver Level Award

DWD partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Disabled American Veterans of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and the Veterans Chamber of Commerce to recognize the six employers that have been officially deemed as “Vets Ready.” 

DWD staff will promote the employers to veteran job seekers and community partners through and highlight them on WEDC and DWD will also be promoting the employers at Military Transition Summits, outreach events that allow employers to connect with transitioning service members.

“Veterans have the tools and training that make them excellent employees,” DVA Secretary Mary Kolar said. “We applaud each of these businesses in their commitment to hiring veterans as they embark on and progress through their civilian careers.”

The application window for the next recognition cycle opens in January at, and it is free to apply. To learn more, visit:

— A new website will help Wisconsin entrepreneurs connect with community-based resources, events and experts tailored to their specific needs.

The site, Start In Wisconsin, allows entrepreneurs to access a comprehensive online directory of resources and a one-stop calendar of entrepreneur-focused events organized by geographic region.

The initiative was funded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. and assisted by the state’s regional economic development organizations. It operates with administrative support from the UW System Institute for Business & Entrepreneurship and in collaboration with entrepreneur support organizations in nine regions across the state.

“This resource is simple, convenient and up to date, fostering important connections across the entrepreneurial ecosystem of each region in our state,” said WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes.

Visit the website: 

— Wisconsin was deemed ‘hottest of all hotspots’ in the nation as it reported 7,048 new COVID-19 cases along with 62 deaths.

Yesterday marked the third day the state exceeded 7,000 single-day cases — all in one week — bringing the seven-day average for daily confirmed cases to a record 5,984.

“Unfortunately, we’re setting records, the bad kind of records, almost every day in terms of new cases and hospitalizations,” said Dr. Mark Kaufman, chief medical officer for the Wisconsin Hospital Association. “We’ve turned from a state that had various geographic hotspots to now where the pandemic is everywhere in Wisconsin.”

He cited a New York Times article saying that as of Tuesday, Wisconsin accounted for four of the top 10 metro areas in the nation for new infections. These included Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac, Eau Claire and Wausau.

The Department of Health Services’ coronavirus dashboard shows the seven-day average of new confirmed cases per total people tested is at a record 35.9 percent. This figure hasn’t seen a break in its rise since early October.

In terms of total tests collected, the average positive test percentage is at a record 18 percent. That figure has been steadily rising since late October.

“Clearly we have not flattened the curve,” Kaufman told a Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce briefing. He added that the root cause of the increase in case counts and percentages is not a result of more testing. Often, he said, health officials refer to 5 percent as the threshold for determining if the spread is under control.

Nearly thirty-six percent, he said, is “a dismal performance.”

Over 22 percent of Wisconsin’s 285,891 cumulative coronavirus cases are active.

The new deaths brought the state’s toll to 2,457. That marked the fourth time the state reported over 60 deaths in a single day. The seven-day average for daily deaths due to the virus is at a record 43 deaths per day. One month ago, the average was 13 deaths per day. Two months ago it was six. 

— The latest WHA coronavirus update shows COVID-19 hospitalizations in Wisconsin at a record 2,102 and intensive care patients numbering a record 441. 

The Alternate Care Facility at State Fair Park census is at 11 coronavirus patients as of yesterday afternoon, a jump from six patients Tuesday. The West Allis field hospital was ready to accept 50 patients when it opened Oct. 14. 

Wisconsin Medical Society Board of Directors Chair Dr. Jerry Halverson said that the state’s health care system is under increasing stress due to the pandemic. 

“Our hospitals are filling up faster than we’ve ever seen,” Halverson said in a release. While he praised physicians, nurses and other providers for their work caring for patients, he added “the horrific increase in hospitalizations is simply not sustainable.”

<i>For more of the most relevant news on the coronavirus outbreak, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin and links to top stories, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from and

Sign up here:   </i>

— Gov. Tony Evers and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos are both open to state legislation to tackle the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Read the full story here: 

Listen to the latest Midday podcast for more:


# Turtle Lake Casino Closes Temporarily Due To Spike In COVID-19 Cases

# Polk County, Wisconsin’s latest attempt to regulate CAFO’s withdrawn 

# With residential generator demand peaking, Generac nears decision on new plant location



– Wisconsin Still on Track for Record Corn, Soybean Yields 

– State’s Corn Forecast Exceeds 500 Million Bushels 


– Nasdaq jumps 2% as ‘stay at home’ stocks recover 


– UW-Madison launches free rapid coronavirus testing for all community members


– Environmental Regulators Investigating 3K-Gallon Manure Spill Near Cashton 


– Wisconsin Nears A ‘Tipping Point’ As Hospitals Almost At Capacity With COVID-19 Hospitalizations


– Companies from California to D.C. selected for gener8tor’s social impact accelerator 


– Fight over gig workers persists despite win for Uber and Lyft 


– Hales Corners maker of St. Louis butter cakes Mama Bev’s expands distribution 


– TikTok challenges Trump order ahead of US divestment deadline 


– More than two-thirds of Wisconsin counties finish canvass


– Governors in surrounding states take stronger actions than Wisconsin’s Evers on Covid-19 


– Badgers, Golden Eagles Prepare For Playing Basketball During Pandemic 


– Hotels lag in energy sustainability. One project may change that. 


– Spectrum hiring 120 in Milwaukee for sales and retention center 


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