California VC Greg Robinson to Lead Wisconsin’s 4490 Ventures

3/4/14Follow @JeffEngelXcon

4490 Ventures, Wisconsin’s new $30 million venture capital fund focused on information technology startups, has recruited a San Francisco Bay Area VC investor to lead the fund.

Greg Robinson has been named 4490 Ventures’ general partner, the firm said today in a press release. Robinson was previously one of two partners at Peninsula Ventures, an early-stage VC firm in Redwood City, CA.

Robinson’s first day with 4490 Ventures was Monday, and he and his family will relocate to Madison, WI, from Palo Alto, CA. With Robinson on board, the fund is officially launched and can begin making investments, said Carl Gulbrandsen, managing director of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), which is backing 4490 Ventures with the State of Wisconsin Investment Board (SWIB).

SWIB and WARF announced 4490 Ventures nearly a year ago. SWIB manages more than $90 billion in assets for the Wisconsin Retirement System, which pays retirement benefits for former employees of state and local government agencies. WARF, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s patenting and licensing arm, manages $2 billion in assets for the benefit of the university.

As 4490 Ventures’ general partner, Robinson will “identify investment themes, source new investment opportunities, serve on boards of new investments he leads, and act as a mentor and advisor to young start-up companies,” according to a press release. The fund will have offices in Madison and Milwaukee, along with a presence in northern Wisconsin—reflecting the previously stated intent to invest in companies statewide.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to lead 4490 Ventures, and look forward to working with Wisconsin entrepreneurs as well as other participants in the state’s startup ecosystem seeking out new investments for the fund,” Robinson said in the press release. “There are certain qualities or conditions that are important for successful early-stage investing, and I believe many of those are already here, and that makes me very optimistic about the future.”

Robinson’s career spans more than 20 years of business operations and venture capital experience. Prior to Peninsula, he co-founded and served as chief operating officer at Cogent Technologies, a Phoenix-based enterprise resource planning software firm that was acquired in 1998 by BrightStar Information Technology Group. Robinson then served as BrightStar’s managing director, overseeing the group’s mid-market practice.

Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Arizona State University and an MBA from Dartmouth College.

“Greg brings a wealth of technology, operating and investment experience, as well as a network of contacts from his days at Peninsula Ventures,” said SWIB executive director Michael Williamson in a written statement.

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon