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Winnow Fund
  • November 15, 2021
  • 2 mins read

Press release: Winnow Fund Invests in Village

Fund’s third investment supports a unique three-sided marketplace platform for out-of-school education


EAU CLAIRE, WI Nov. 15, 2021 – The Winnow Fund, a venture capital fund focused on investing in Wisconsin-based early-stage companies, has invested in Eau Claire-based MSB Technologies, Inc. (DBA “Village”). Winnow Fund led the round that will finance the development and product launch of the company’s digital marketplace platform for out-of-school education, the Village Marketplace™. The $475,000 round also included a private investor from New York, NY and a private investor from Los Angeles, CA.

Focused on in-person instruction outside of the K-12 school day, Village aims to fill the nearly 80% of a child’s life spent outside of school with safe, high-quality educational programming. The recent investment allows Village to further develop the technology behind the marketplace. To capture the dual social & financial synergies of this opportunity, Village partners with a 501(c)(3) non profit organization, The Village Project, Inc, which solicits donations from local philanthropists in order to offer scholarships within the marketplace for families who are unable to afford registration fees. The next milestone for Village is the  “pilot” launch in Eau Claire, where the company is working to connect 40+ program providers with 15,000 area families.

“The Winnow Fund’s focus is on generating return for our investors, but the venture capital community is increasingly looking for investment opportunities with social significance,” said Richelle Martin, managing director of the Winnow Fund. “The opportunity Village presented strikes this balance. They are building a community-focused product without losing sight of the economic factors that drive success and sustainability. With this investment, we can develop a valuable marketplace platform and increase access to education in the process, creating a “double bottom line” impact for our investors, our local communities, and the state as a whole.”

Village is the Winnow Fund’s third investment. The fund’s investment phase began in January 2021, after closing on just over $10 million in capital commitments in December 2020.

About The Winnow Fund

The Winnow Fund is a venture capital fund investing in early-stage Wisconsin-based companies. It is the first in Wisconsin to be founded and led solely by a woman. The Fund seeks opportunities to make the first investment in a startup, with initial investments typically ranging from $250,000 to $500,000. The Fund also has the ability to provide support in the range of $50,000-$100,000 for smaller companies at the proof-of-concept stage. Learn more at winnowfund.com.

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