Milwaukee a hub for entrepreneurial growth

Posted at 9:50 PM, May 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-31 23:32:08-04

MILWAUKEE- Milwaukee has a rich history built on beer and manufacturing, but its future may be in technology and start-up companies. Those that have found success in the Brew City credit cost of living, investors and a qualified talent pool.

West coaster Richard Yau and his business partner had an idea for the perfect company.

"I took a couple of wine glasses at Boston College because I wanted to be a hobby I didn't know how to do it," said Richard Yau, CEO Bright Cellars.

That hobby, turned into Bright Cellars, a wine and cheese subscription service. Knowing nothing about Milwaukee they took a chance and planted roots in the Brew City.

"We have just had great support from the Milwaukee start-up community, such a small community," said Yau. "A majority of our investors come from the area."

The Bright Cellars launched in 2016 and they didn't have to go far to find talent, growing the company from two to 45 in the last two years.

"We have had a great time adding to my team from local schools," Yau said. 

Yau says the benefits don't stop at just a qualified talent pool.

"Cost-of-living is a lot lower here we been able to be a much more practical business as we have grown," he said. 

Business.Org recently ranked 40 of the largest metro cities for entrepreneurial growth, Milwaukee made the cut at 27.

Matt Cordio CEO of Startup Milwaukee is not surprised.

"In the past year, we have seen large companies put investment in the startup community to help accelerate the growth of startups," he said. 

Companies like Northwestern Mutual and Aurora health are just some of those investing in entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs like Milwaukee's own Dominic Anzalone.

Five years ago Anzalone started with one desk in this office, now he's taken over the entire space for his startup It helps college students find housing.

"Marquette was a perfect size school to test it out I got lucky enough that Mark had worked out that well," he said. 

Anzalone says Milwaukee was the best place for him to launch his online service.

"I think there is good talent here I think it's the perfect size city for company like ours we fly out of the country so there's a good airport I guess all the things you need to be successful," he said. 

Both Anzalone and Yau see a bright future for start-up tech companies in Milwaukee.

If you have an idea an idea you believe could be a good business venture in the Milwaukee and Madison areas there are two accelerator programs that invest in high- growth startups. Click here to find out more.