Former Wisconsin Gov. Thompson Wants to Form Angel Fund

2/13/14Follow @XconomyWI

Former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson has aspirations for starting an early-stage investment fund—that’s if he can achieve a few exits this year with his current personal investments.

Thompson made the comments Thursday afternoon at a luncheon in Wauwatosa, WI, hosted by the Wisconsin Innovation Network, an arm of the Madison-based Wisconsin Technology Council.

Thompson held the state’s top office from 1987-2001, and then served as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under former President George W. Bush. He went on to work as a senior advisor to Deloitte and founded the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions.

More recently, the Republican lost a U.S. Senate race in 2012 against Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin.

Last year, he incorporated Thompson Holdings, an umbrella business overseeing a portfolio of more than 30 companies he has invested in and advises, primarily in the healthcare sector, he said.

Thompson said four of the companies in his portfolio are close to a potential exit this year.

“If I do [see exits in my investments], hopefully I’ll be able to set up an angel/venture fund,” Thompson told an audience of about 40 at the event held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. “I’m not there yet, but we have the potential over the next 12 to 18 months… What we really, sincerely need is more angel investors [in Wisconsin].”

Thompson Holdings has only one Wisconsin company in its portfolio, Physicians Realty Trust, a Milwaukee-based healthcare real estate company that raised $120 million in an initial public offering last summer.

Other companies Thompson is involved with include Cytori Therapeutics, a San Diego-based company developing ways to treat cardiovascular disease and repair soft tissue defects through regenerative cell technologies. Thompson has served on Cytori’s board since 2011.

A Thompson spokesman declined to disclose how much Thompson Holdings has invested in its portfolio companies.

Jeff Engel is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @XconomyWI

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