The Winnebago Seed Fund is a venture capital fund based in Neenah, Wisconsin, with an emphasis on seed investments in startup companies in Northeast Wisconsin. Established in 2016, the Fund’s primary purpose is to generate investor return by partnering with talented entrepreneurs to rapidly grow their businesses.
The Winnebago Seed Fund pursues a Money for Minnows investment strategy. Money for Minnows doesn’t have a technology or product focus but does have an investment focus – be the first investor in startup companies. This strategy has been employed previously by the Kegonsa Capital Partners managed seed and early stage funds. The Winnebago Seed Fund will be employing the same proven process and investment parameters. The Fund’s strategy is to be the first investor in new Wisconsin companies, in some situations forming a new company with the product inventor.
Money for Minnows is in contrast to the Whale Hunting investment strategy. The primary goal of Whale Hunting is to deliver superior returns by investing in companies with a plan for the company exit to be in excess of $100 million dollars. Often venture funds using this strategy target specific technologies and markets. This strategy is based on the assumption that these select companies will be the big winners in their market. Fund managers employing this strategy make multiple and typically increasing dollar amount investments in the select companies, typically in syndications with other investors. Compared to the Money for Minnows strategy, Whale Hunting involves more investment dollars and fewer companies created.
The Winnebago Seed Fund is managed by David Trotter, Managing Director of the Fund’s General Partner, Winnebago Capital Partners. Trotter is a Northeast Wisconsin native and Fox Valley resident. Trotter holds a Bachelor of Science in finance from Marquette University’s Applied Investment Management Program as well as the Chartered Financial Analyst® and the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst® designations. He most recently spent several years as a portfolio manager in Neenah, WI, managing over $350 million dollars in client assets. Trotter worked closely with local business leaders to develop criteria for a fund focusing on Wisconsin entrepreneurs and startup companies. The result is the Winnebago Seed Fund.
The Badger Fund of Funds I, L.P. was formed in 2015 and includes $25 million from the State of Wisconsin pursuant to 2013 Wisconsin Act 41 to invest in Wisconsin based venture capital funds. The Badger Fund is managed by a partnership of Sun Mountain Capital and Kegonsa Capital Partners. The State of Wisconsin, individuals and the fund manager have invested over $35 million in the Badger Fund.
Sun Mountain Capital is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico and was founded in 2006 to focus on private equity investing in high potential underserved geographies. As of December 31, 2016, Sun Mountain Capital’s total assets under management was $752.8 million. This represents $529.6 million invested via discretionary private funds and $223.2 million invested through non-discretionary advisory programs. Sun Mountain Capital is a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) registered with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Sun Mountain Capital brings national best practices and a network of successful venture fund managers to the Winnebago Seed Fund.
Kegonsa Capital Partners manages two Wisconsin based venture funds. They provide the Winnebago Seed Fund with processes and investment parameters that have already worked in Wisconsin. The Kegonsa Seed Fund was formed in 2005 with the objective of investor return.