The BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation Inc. investment committee has authorized the funding of its first three early stage Wisconsin companies. The Milwaukee-based foundation will provide investments to Engineered Propulsion Systems Inc., New Richmond; Stemina Biomarker Discovery Inc., Madison; and 425 Inc., Mount Pleasant. These initial investments total more than $250,000.

The selected early stage companies were first screened for their ability to create a sufficient number of quality jobs and then had to pass the committee’s investment criteria for their stage of development. Anthony Handzlik, an attorney with Reinhart Boerner and a BrightStar officer, explained that the companies chosen reflect the number of high quality entrepreneurs within the state at diverse stages of development, valuation, industry and geographic regions who need financing help to get to commercialization and create jobs.

Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of the WEDC, one of the foundation’s funding sponsors, agrees. “These three companies fit perfectly in the shared mission of job creation in Wisconsin that the foundation and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. are pursuing together,” said Hall. “They are the first of many companies that BrightStar will support.”

BrightStar is a 501(c)(3)-designated non-profit foundation created to facilitate job creation and increase Wisconsin’s economic activity by deploying donated funds into equity or debt stakes in early stage rapid growth companies.