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2023: Fundamentals over fads

March 7, 2023
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Cordero Barkley

Cordero Barkley is a Partner and Director of Finance and Investments for TitletownTech.

About the Author:

Cordero Barkley is a Partner and Director of Finance and Investments for TitletownTech – a venture capital fund and studio created out of partnership between the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft. It creates solutions, builds startups, and invests in founders across a plethora of industries.

This past year was marked by turbulence in the capital markets and inflationary pressure, resulting in a sense of uncertainty that has manifested itself in many areas, including venture capital. As we watch our founders navigate through this uncertainty, we’ve seen them tighten their belts entering 2023 and make hard decisions to get in front of any potential storm, especially with money moving more intentionally.

One thing that’s certain, in this uncertain market, is that raising capital will require more work – more due diligence, more focus on company performance, and more emphasis on organizations truly moving the needle. Though there may be more scrutiny when it comes to deals, it’s vital that in our state, where the ecosystem is still maturing, investors continue to take calculated risk. That said, given today’s benefit of focusing on fundamentals over fads, our region is well positioned to take advantage of our core industries.

Wisconsin’s entrepreneurial community continues to come together despite this economic uncertainty. Watching funds and founders collaborate to fill rounds with in-state capital is a great sign of a healthy and supportive ecosystem. It gives me confidence that early-stage investors will keep supporting quality founders with meaningful ideas, and courageous entrepreneurs will continue creating and building. Wisconsin’s retention of entrepreneurship is also robust which demonstrates that Wisconsin’s ecosystem is thriving. Additionally, we continue to see talent move back into the state because of the high quality of life Wisconsin’s communities offer.

Despite uncertainty, the years following a market reset have led to some of the best fund vintages, with many of this generation’s most iconic companies being created during times of adversity. I’m biased, but I believe a Wisconsin startup can harness our industrious Midwest spirit and bring a necessary world-changing idea to life. Those who have the courage to participate in our ecosystem will have the opportunity to shape and tell the story!

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