Investor Favors Discipline Over Brilliance When Evaluating Start-Ups

Kathleen Gallagher reported in Sunday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that, “Shortly after selling agricultural machine maker Miller St. Nazianz Inc., John W. Miller jumped into a riskier endeavor: start-up investing.

“‘I could have gone anywhere after selling the company, but I decided I wanted to stay and build more in Wisconsin,’ said Miller, who sold Manitowoc County-based Miller St. Nazianz in 2014. ‘I’m only 42, so I still have some interest in taking an informed gamble on things.’

Miller’s attitude, along with his appetite for start-up investing, is increasingly common in the state, particularly in the Milwaukee area. He is among a growing number of younger ‘angel’ investors who are sorting through the state’s youngest companies so they can put money into those that appear to be the most promising.”

The article noted that, “Their names are new to much of the public. Adam Berger, Mark Grosskopf and Mia Moe don’t have the visibility of their more established counterparts. But with every investment, they’re becoming more known.”

Sunday’s article added that, “Starting a company takes an enormous amount of commitment, energy and ‘intense discipline,’ said Grosskopf, chief executive officer and owner of New Resources Consulting, which helps large companies deploy their technology, and two other companies.

When he evaluates start-ups, Grosskopf said he tends to favor discipline over brilliance.

“‘You need a little bit of both, but certainly I would take someone hard-working over brilliant,’ he said. ‘There’s just a lot of heavy lifting that needs to happen.'”

Ms.¬†Gallagher added that, “The new angel investors are definitely investing to make profits, not donations to charity, said Rob Barnard, CEO and founder of Black Maple Capital, a Milwaukee hedge fund. But investing locally makes you feel good, he said.”

“Milwaukee lags the national scene in terms of entrepreneurship, but the climate for start-ups is much healthier now than it was a decade ago, Barnard said.”

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