With $30 million to begin, 4490 Ventures will focus on IT startups in Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. — Greg Robinson has been named general partner of 4490 Ventures, a $30 million venture capital fund created by the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB) and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) focused on seed and early stage investments primarily in Wisconsin information technology companies. Robinson began Monday, March 3.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to lead 4490 Ventures and look forward to working with Wisconsin entrepreneurs as well as other participants in the state’s start-up ecosystem seeking out new investments for the fund,” Robinson said. “There are certain qualities or conditions that are important for successful early stage investing and I believe many of those are already here and that makes me very optimistic about the future. Both SWIB and WARF have been great partners during this process and have created a platform for 4490 Ventures to become one of the premier early stage venture capital funds in Wisconsin and the Midwest.”
4490 Ventures is in a unique position to not only access research and development opportunities out of the University of Wisconsin but also access opportunities throughout Wisconsin by leveraging the strong network of relationships of entrepreneurs, key business leaders and investors. Robinson will identify investment themes, source new investment opportunities, serve on boards of new investments he leads and act as a mentor and advisor to young start-up companies. 4490 Ventures will have offices in Madison and Milwaukee as well as a presence in the northern part of the state.
Robinson has over 20 years of operating and venture capital experience. Most recently he was a partner at Peninsula Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm in Redwood City, Calif. Prior to Peninsula, he co-founded and served as chief operating officer at Cogent Technologies, which was acquired by BrightStar. At BrightStar, Robinson served as managing director responsible for the group’s mid-market practice. Robinson holds a M.B.A. from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and a B.S. in Economics from Arizona State University. Greg and his family will be relocating to Madison from Palo Alto, Calif.
“Greg brings a wealth of technology, operating and investment experience, as well as a network of contacts from his days at Peninsula Ventures,” Michael Williamson, SWIB executive director, said. “We are excited to have Greg as a member of our team and look forward to working with him.”
“After an extensive search, we are thrilled to bring Greg on board as the general partner of 4490 Ventures. Greg’s background in investing, entrepreneurship, and his understanding of technology make him the ideal candidate to lead this new venture,” said Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of WARF. “We are pleased to finally launch the fund and begin the process of making investments into promising Wisconsin information technology companies.”
About 4490 Ventures
Called 4490 Ventures, a reference to the 44ᴼ N latitude and 90ᴼ W longitude lines that approximate the center of the state of Wisconsin, the $30 million fund will focus on early-stage companies primarily in Wisconsin. The private fund, capitalized jointly by SWIB and WARF, is intended to generate attractive returns and build value for state retirement fund participants and WARF’s primary beneficiary, the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Assets under management at SWIB are over $100 billion as of December 31, 2013. This includes approximately $93.6 billion in Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) trust funds, which provide benefits to more than 572,000 current or former employees of state agencies, the university system, school districts and most local governments. The WRS is the 9th largest U.S. public pension fund and the 28th largest public or private pension fund in the world. For more information, visit www.swib.state.wi.us.
WARF has assets under management of more than $2 billion. In addition to investment management, WARF, a recipient of the National Medal of Technology, is the patent and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin–Madison. WARF’s mission is to support scientific investigation and research at UW–Madison and to assist in moving technologies from the laboratory to the marketplace for benefit of humankind. Since its founding in 1925, WARF has contributed more than $1 billion in grants and gifts to UW–Madison. For more information, visit www.warf.org.