The Greater Milwaukee Foundation has made a $1 million impact investment in Gateway Capital Fund, a Milwaukee-based venture capital fund, the foundation said Friday.
Gateway Capital is being structured to be the first venture capital investment in startup companies in Milwaukee County that are not yet generating revenue. Dana Guthrie, a Milwaukee Business Journal 2020 40 Under 40 honoree, was appointed earlier this year to be full-time managing partner of the fund.
GMF anticipates its investment will support up to 12 startups.
“Milwaukee has missed out on far too many opportunities to invest in entrepreneurship, particularly in Black and Brown-owned businesses,” said Ellen Gilligan, GMF president and CEO, in a statement. “On top of that, there are very few fund managers of color in the venture capital space overall. It’s clear that this is a system in need of remaking, and the foundation can play a role in reversing these patterns in Milwaukee. We look forward to the positive impact Dana and the Gateway Capital Fund will have in our community.”
Gateway Capital is a branch of the Badger Fund of Funds. Badger Fund of Funds will invest as much as $5 million into the Gateway Capital Fund as its lead investor.
In 2013, the state of Wisconsin awarded $25 million to establish the Badger Fund of Funds, which raised an additional $5 million from the private sector and agreed to create six to eight venture capital firms across the state. Running the program is Santa Fe, New Mexico-based Sun Mountain Capital, which specializes in regional investment programs, and Wisconsin-based Kegonsa Capital Partners.
The Badger Fund of Funds supplies a certain percentage of capital into new funds and the rest of the money is raised from private investors.