Milwaukee Investor Mosher on WI Startups, Twitter’s Business Model

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competition can come from anywhere. Anyone can look up the Internet on anything, and as soon as [a company] seems to be successful, then you get a whole swarm of competitors coming around.

X: What are some of the challenges for Wisconsin entrepreneurs?

GM: The number of successful exits [in Wisconsin] is pretty small. [Editor’s note: Click here for an Xconomy analysis of Wisconsin exits since 2008.] Most people, if they’ve wound up making [a successful] angel investment, they’re going to be prepared to make additional angel investments. If they get unsuccessful or it takes a long period of time [to exit], the second one is going to be a smaller investment. Or they may get an initial portfolio but then they’re going to wait to see what happens. Whereas if you go to California, a lot of people have made money on their investments, so there’s a pool of money [for] new investments.

If there were more of a track record of success [in Wisconsin], then there would be more people making investments. My particular reason for doing this is I’ve made some money, and I thought I can help more people by helping businesses get started, rather than philanthropically [giving] some money away. That’s not going to grow things.

X: What’s one piece of advice for Wisconsin entrepreneurs?

GM: What I’m now starting to preach is…they really need to put their efforts into selling the initial alpha and beta customers. …What they need to do is approach and work with the people that are going to use the product—people who are willing to pay for it—work with them to iron out the bugs.

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