FRI AM News: WisBusiness: the Podcast with attorney Erin Ogden of Ogden, Glazer and Schaefer; Milwaukee Venture Partners ‘off to a good start’

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— Milwaukee Venture Partners Secretary Guy Mascari says the newly formed angel investor network is “off to a good start” after launching in March of last year. 

“I think we’ve kind of exceeded our expectations,” he said yesterday during a luncheon event hosted by the Wisconsin Technology Council in Wauwatosa. Mascari is also the executive director at the Milwaukee Regional Innovation Center. 

He explained the angel network has grown quickly to include 35 qualified investor members, each of which has a net worth of at least $1 million and income of $200,000 per year. Rather than working with a centralized fund like venture capital firms, the organization identifies investment opportunities, polls members for interest and then forms separate entities to make the investment. 

“We’re usually not the lead investor,” he explained. “Our typical investments are somewhere between $150,000 to $300,000, maybe on a raise of half a million to $3 million. We’re not venture capitalists but it’s worked out really well.” 

Milwaukee Venture Partners has made seven investments so far totaling about $1.5 million, Mascari said. The network considers about 200 companies per year, and chooses 30 or so to “take a closer look at,” he said. From that number, they choose several to make formal presentations to members and move forward with investing from that point. 

The angel network focuses mainly on Wisconsin companies, though members have invested in companies from Iowa and Ohio as well. Sectors of interest for members include smart manufacturing and medical devices — “things that Wisconsin is noted for,” Mascari said. 

See more on the network’s investments here: 

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Erin Ogden, managing attorney with the Madison law firm Ogden, Glazer and Schaefer. 

She discusses her work with growth-focused businesses, including both startups and established businesses, as well as how her background in the sciences led her to become an attorney. 

“As I was doing undergrad — my degree is in genetics — and I was working in the lab space, and I was realizing it wasn’t for me,” she said. “The more I got working with businesses, the more I really liked the problem-solving and the practical nature of it.” 

Ogden explains how she helps her clients “take their innovation and their fabulous ideas out into the world, which is super fun.” Aside from having an emphasis on growing and evolving, she says most of her clients recognize the value of their intangible assets. 

“For example, we work with a lot of breweries,” she said. “Breweries have a lot of stainless steel, they have lots of stuff they can put their hands on, they can, you know, take a baseball bat to. But that’s really not where the value in the company is. It’s in their employees, it’s in their recipes, it’s in their trademarks — that’s the kind of business we love to work with.” 

Listen to the podcast here: 

See the full list of podcasts: 

— Exact Sciences has announced plans to invest $350 million in its Madison operations and create 1,300 new jobs. 

According to a release from WEDC, the agency’s board of directors recently authorized an additional $18.5 million in Enterprise Zone tax credits that the company can earn by meeting these benchmarks by 2025. 

Under the previous contract, the company had to create 758 jobs and invest at least $26.2 million to qualify for $9 million in tax credits, the release shows. With the boost authorized by the board, the company can now earn up to $27.5 million. 

The newly announced expansion will include upgrades to its research and development facility, as well as more laboratory and warehousing space. 

“Since relocating to Wisconsin in 2009, Exact Sciences has grown from a handful of people into a worldwide team focused on eradicating cancer and the suffering it causes,” said Kevin Conroy, company chairman and CEO. “Continued investments in our Wisconsin-based people and facilities will accelerate the development of new cancer tests and ensure we continue providing world-class service and critical answers to patients.” 

The Madison company’s colorectal cancer screening test called Cologuard has been used more than 7 million times since it was approved in 2014, the release shows. In recent years, the company has made several acquisitions to expand its diagnostic capabilities, most recently acquiring Marshfield-based PreventionGenetics for $190 million. 

See the release: 

See a recent story on the company: 

— Gov. Tony Evers says skilled nursing facilities in the state will be able to open up at least 200 more beds by the end of February through staffing relief from members of the Wisconsin National Guard.

During a Department of Health Services media briefing, Evers announced a partnership with Madison College to train more than 200 National Guard members as certified nursing assistants. The move is aimed at freeing up hospital capacity. Hospitals have been experiencing a bottleneck in patients as understaffed long-term care facilities have struggled to take patients who would normally be discharged.

“We’ve seen time and time again that the Wisconsin National Guard is indispensable and can stand up to our most pressing challenges,” Evers said yesterday during the briefing. “As we continue to see COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge, we are pursuing every available option to bring needed staffing support to Wisconsin’s health systems.”

Health officials said about 50 National Guard members were deployed this week to six nursing homes across the state, which is expected to free up 78 post-acute care beds. A group of 80 members who began training this week will deploy at the end of January, and another group of 80 members will begin training early next month to deploy by the end of February.

Earlier this month, the Wisconsin Hospital Association estimated that approximately 600 patients who no longer require hospital-level care remain in hospitals awaiting admission to a nursing home or other long-term care facility. In some cases, these patients are waiting weeks or even months to be discharged.

WHA President and CEO Eric Borgerding says the group’s members appreciate the support.

“We thank the dedicated and capable men and women of the National Guard and appreciate the work by Madison College and the Evers Administration to make this help available to targeted nursing homes, which in turn, will free up hospital beds for patients who need hospital-level care,” Borgerding said in a statement.

Evers and DHS announced in late December that FEMA would be sending a 20-person team from the U.S. Navy to support Bellin Health in Green Bay. During yesterday’s call, Evers said that group is “doing a great job,” and he continues to press for more support at the federal level.

“We expect that the federal government will come through with more FEMA folks to help us,” he said.

Evers and the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance also highlighted yesterday the new requirement from the Biden administration that health plans must cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests for members. Evers reiterated that testing “continues to be an essential part of our response to this virus.”

Meanwhile, the seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases in the state has risen to 9,915 cases per day as the number of new cases added to the system continues to escalate. And the Wisconsin Hospital Association dashboard shows the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the state hit a new record of 2,219 patients yesterday, down slightly from the previous day’s record high of 2,278. 

See the latest case numbers here: 

See the release on the National Guard deployment: 


# Report: Alcohol-related deaths in Wisconsin rose 25% in 2020

# Wauwatosa-based CyteGen raises another $1.1 million for anti-aging research

# ‘What we got is what we got’: Wisconsin grocery store owners say worker shortage is making it harder to keep items on shelves



– State soybean production, corn yields hit new record highs

– Jackie Rosenbush named 2022 Wisconsin Fairest of the Fairs


– A.W. Oakes offers $15.4M for I-43 resurfacing job in January WisDOT letting


– Wisconsin student loan borrowers to receive nearly $24 million in relief following settlement


– 3rd Street Market Hall opens to the public Friday


– Cologuard developer planning $350M project in Madison

– Troops to staff nursing facilities to free up hospital beds

– Gov. Tony Evers deploying National Guard to free up hospital capacity

– N95 masks in demand during omicron surge; distribution happening in Milwaukee, Madison

– Increased access to Narcan, easier testing for fentanyl raised as ways to stop opioid deaths


– Exact Sciences to add 1,300 Madison jobs, $350 million in facilities

– UW Health nurses push for union amid health care system strain


– DNR board to vote on rules for PFAS in firefighting foam


– ‘Obsession is the right word’: UWL’s Cassandra Berger visits 457 Kwik Trips in one year


– Milwaukee Bucks build off championship success

– Ski jumpers landing in Eau Claire this weekend for Silver Mine Invitational


– UW-Madison researchers study balance in autistic teens using Wii Fit

– First U.S. hotel taps Waukesha firm’s UV robots to sanitize rooms


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

Generation Growth Capital, Inc.: Announces the acquisition of Killer Instinct, Inc.

Dept. of Workforce Development, Dept. of Justice: Announce $200,000 agreement in Briggs & Stratton bankruptcy case