One of the few women to run a venture capital firm in Wisconsin has become Concordia University Wisconsin’s first Venture Capitalist in Residence.

Richelle Martin

Richelle Martin, managing director of the Winnow Fund, officially began her role with Concordia at the start of this year. As part of the new partnership, Concordia provides Martin with access to a pipeline of prospective student startups, while Martin holds monthly office hours to provide students with experienced mentoring, networking opportunities, and potential investments.

The Winnow Fund, located in Madison, Wisconsin, is a $10 million venture fund that sources investment opportunities from Wisconsin colleges and universities. As an investor in the fund, Concordia hopes to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem that exists at the university.

“There is no better way for students to learn than by doing,” said Dan Sem, PhD, dean of Concordia’s Batterman School of Business. “Seeing students tap into that entrepreneurial mindset is like watching them find a new way of seeing the world, and I’m thrilled to have this partnership with Richelle and the Winnow Fund to spur that on even further.”

Over the past several years, Concordia has launched multiple initiatives to encourage entrepreneurial thinking, including the annual CU Launch competition that offers free business coaching and the chance to win seed money for student startup teams. The completion of the Robert W. Plaster Building also now provides a hub on campus for innovative thinking and events.

How to utilize Concordia’s Venture Capitalist in Residence

Martin will hold virtual office hours every last Monday of each month. Students, faculty, and staff are invited to meet with her by appointment to discuss ideas and strategies. In addition to advising campus entrepreneurs, Martin will participate in school-sponsored events, including CU Launch.

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More about Richelle Martin

Martin is a Wisconsin native who obtained a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Her first opportunity to work with entrepreneurs was through the Law School’s Law & Entrepreneurship Clinic, where she provided pro bono legal assistance to early stage companies. Prior to starting the Winnow Fund, Martin was the leader of the Office of Industrial Partnerships at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is also actively involved with Fetch Wisconsin Rescue, Jazz at Five, the Justin J. Watt Foundation, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“I believe there’s untapped entrepreneurial potential at colleges and universities across the state of Wisconsin,” said Martin. “I’m looking forward to meeting with Concordia’s entrepreneurs to leverage that potential and together build successful, high-growth companies here in the state.”

— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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