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WARF Ventures


WARF Ventures works to advance UW-Madison and Morgridge Institute for Research technologies by investing in select startup companies within the UW Community.

COVID-19 Response & Resources


WARF Ventures has been working with local and national partners to provide relevant resources and information to support startups at this time. These links provide information on grant opportunities, advice on prioritizing your current capital and more. We encourage you to visit back, as information is being updated daily.

Recommendations from WARF Ventures

Look after your team.
Without a doubt, our people are our best assets. People need a leader who understands and appreciates the various challenges that team members face. Be flexible. Encourage social distancing where possible. I find that providing some semblance of normalcy such as having routine meetings (albeit by phone/Zoom), continuing operations and scheduling, gives teams comfort. Try to be structured, but flexible.

Examine and re-examine your cash position.
Consider deferring all non-mission-critical expenditures. Look at your cash position and where you are in the development plan. See if a fresh perspective on how and where you spend your precious remaining capital can extend your runway. Cash preservation should always be a priority, but you should double down on finding ways to stretch your funds.

Re-examine any financing plans.
You should not rely on bringing a new investor on board in the near future. All funders will be impacted, if not consumed, by the current situation. Most institutional investors will likely be reserving capital for their existing portfolio. This doesn’t mean you should not plan meetings/pitches with them but manage your expectations. Consider all other funding options (SBA loans, grants, philanthropic organizations, strategic partners), and keep an eye out and take advantage of any federal, state and local emergency funding programs.

Expect a slowdown in customer and market interactions.
Particularly for companies in the healthcare space, many hospitals, clinics and physician offices are not allowing non-essential personnel onsite. These delays can be dramatic and impactful to your development plans. New projects with startup companies will likely be at the bottom of their priority list right now. Adjust your strategic and tactical plans accordingly. This will also help you preserve your funds in the short term.

Importance of Record-keeping.
Track income and expenses to be able to react if you need to make a future insurance claim or if you are eligible for federal assistance.

You are not in this alone.
Stay connected to your mentors, advisors, industry experts and other entrepreneurs. Constant and consistent communication will help us all feel more supported during these uncertain times.

Contact WARF Ventures

email ventures@warf.org

WARF Ventures Fund


  • Primary focus on early-stage startups utilizing UW-Madison technology
  • Appropriate later stage investments will be considered
  • Investments range from $100,000 to $3,000,000
  • Strong connections to the local, regional and national venture capital communities


  • Assist WARF technology licensees in reaching early milestones on the path to commercialization
  • Increase the number of startups that can attract follow-on investments
  • Support WARF's mission enabling University of Wisconsin-Madison research to solve the world's problems


The WARF Ventures fund will primarily invest in companies founded to commercialize University of Wisconsin-Madison or Morgridge Institute for Research technologies. If you are considering starting a company based on a UW-Madison technology, we want to connect with you. It is never too early to talk through your ideas.

WARF Ventures Process

  • If you developed a technology at UW-Madison on which your startup will be based, the first step is to submit an invention disclosure report to WARF to protect your intellectual property
  • The majority of WARF Ventures investments will go into startups that are based on UW-Madison technologies
  • Researchers or entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a company to commercialize campus technologies should reach out to Mike Partsch to have an introductory conversation