WI Watchlist: Aaron Rodgers, Redox, Zywave, Rusinow & More

It’s time to catch up on some recent Wisconsin innovation news:

—Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a new title: venture capitalist. He co-founded and serves as general partner of Rx3 Ventures, a Newport Beach, CA-based firm that recently raised more than $50 million for its debut fund. The fund will make “venture and growth-stage” investments in consumer-focused companies.

Redox, a Madison-based developer of software tools that enable healthcare applications to securely move information into and out of patients’ electronic medical records, announced it launched a public “bug” bounty program in partnership with Bugcrowd. Such programs offer financial rewards to ethical hackers who identify security vulnerabilities in companies’ and organizations’ software. Redox claims it’s one of the first healthcare IT companies to take a crowdsourced security approach, although the tactic is common in other tech sectors.

—Zywave, the Milwaukee-area insurance technology company, said it acquired RateFactory, a five-year-old developer of software tools for generating insurance quotes.

—GrowthChart Records, a Madison-area startup, won the grand prize in the annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest organized by the Wisconsin Technology Council. GrowthChart developed software that enables early childhood educators to use voice-controlled digital assistants such as Google Home to more easily log events and observations in the classroom, saving them time so they can focus more on teaching.

Click here to see the full list of this year’s winners, which were chosen after pitches at the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference in Milwaukee during the first week of June.

—Speaking of the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, Milwaukee-area angel investor Jeff Rusinow gave a speech in which he revealed stats about how his personal investments in startups have fared over the past two decades. The highlights, as reported by BizTimes Media: Rusinow has made 45 angel investments, eight of which sold or went public. His all-in internal rate of return was about 37 percent. But he also has had some investments that didn’t pan out, with at least two companies going bankrupt.

Rusinow shared lessons learned from several of the deals, as well as advice to entrepreneurs seeking funding: “If you are an entrepreneur and you’re looking for pre-revenue capital, understand the dynamics are there’s only so many angels out there and when you pitch them, you’ve got to really have it together,” he said, according to BizTimes.

Jeff Bauter Engel is Deputy Editor, Tech at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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