La Crosse, WI – The Idea Fund of La Crosse recently launched a second fund that has attracted more than $20 million dollars of investment capital according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing shows that investors have committed $20.075 million to the new fund.

The fund’s goal is to raise up to $25 million according to the filing. At $20+ million, Idea Fund II is the largest venture capital (VC) fund in Wisconsin focused on pre-revenue startups.

La Crosse native and former Wall Street businessman Jon Horne is the Managing Director of the fund. Horne moved back to La Crosse to start the Idea Fund I. Libby Weber, CEO at the Weber Group, joined him to manage the fund.

“Jon Horne and Libby Weber have done an incredible job managing the Idea Fund” said Ken Johnson, a Badger Fund partner. “Their focus on being the first investor in new startups with a geographic target of investment opportunities in north and west Wisconsin has been extremely successful.” Johnson continued by saying, “A key component of the Badger Fund vision is to build a new team of Wisconsin venture capital fund managers; Jon and Libby are part of the next generation Wisconsin VC managers.”

Idea Fund I made its first investment in Wisconsin-based Curate, Inc. in 2017. Curate was acquired in 2021 by FiscalNote, a publicly traded company. Along with Curate, the Fund invested in 10 additional Wisconsin-based startup companies. Fund I’s investment period concluded in July 2021 and its managers began seeking investors for Fund II. The Fund’s first investments are expected to be announced later this year.

Idea Fund II expects to make investments in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. Idea Fund of La Crosse invests in startups at the earliest stages including in investing in companies before a first sale or even before first product. The new $20 million venture investment is expected to increase the pipeline of high potential startups in the three-state region.

The Idea Fund is one of the five portfolio funds of the Badger Fund of Funds. The Badger Fund invested $5.2 million dollars in the Idea Fund I, with the requirement that all Idea Fund I investments be in the State of Wisconsin. The Badger Fund investors include private individuals, Wisconsin companies, and the State of Wisconsin.