Michigan Might Hold Lessons for Improving Wisconsin’s VC Climate

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is that like Michigan, Wisconsin is home to a public university that ranks in the top six on the National Science Foundation’s list of institutions that spend the most money on research and development.

Adox says that the University of Michigan’s flagship campus in Ann Arbor is “definitely the dominant source” of startups spun out of academic research, but that a number of new companies have also come from other schools, including Michigan State University and Wayne State University.

He also mentions the automotive and mobility industry as one where Michigan-based startups have attracted a large amount of venture dollars in the past few years.

If Michigan hangs its hat on cars and trucks, what might people in Wisconsin see as their “anchor” industry? Maybe medical devices or health IT, which have corporate clusters in the Milwaukee and Madison areas, respectively.

But improving Wisconsin’s climate for startups and investors will likely require time and happen through a series of small steps. One example: since the beginning of 2016, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. has been the most active venture investor in what PitchBook calls the Great Lakes region, which also includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio.

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