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Cordero Barkley: Creating opportunities for hi-growth startups

July 11, 2022
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Cordero Barkley

After a successful career in banking and wealth management, Cordero Barkley joined Titletown Tech as a Partner and Director of Finance and Investments.

About TitletownTech

TitletownTech is 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.

About Cordero

A native of Racine, Barkley attended the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and graduated in 2009. After a successful career in banking and wealth management, Cordero joined Titletown Tech as a Partner and Director of Finance and Investments in 2019.

CAN YOU TALK BRIEFLY ABOUT YOUR ROAD TO WISCONSIN? WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO OUR STATE?

I was born and raised in the great city of Racine. However, the more interesting question is why did I stay in Wisconsin? I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay during the Great Recession and had a plethora of opportunities to pursue my goals in the state. The business community in Northeast Wisconsin and across the state has been great to partner with as I have progressed in my career.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING A WISCONSIN RESIDENT?

I personally love the seasons – especially the summer-to-fall transition. I also love the sports in Wisconsin. We are blessed with championship caliber professional and collegiate teams across the state.

WHAT ABOUT WISCONSIN HAS ULTIMATELY KEPT YOU AND YOUR FAMILY IN THE STATE?

Besides our family ties, the mission of the work we are involved with keeps us here. It is both the work we are doing at TitletownTech, and the projects we are trying to get off the ground, including – creating more access to computer science education and venture funding for the overlooked communities in our state. It is necessary and rewarding work.

BRIEFLY DESCRIBE WHAT TITLETOWNTECH DOES AS ONE OF WISCONSIN’S LEADING INNOVATION CENTERS.

TitletownTech is a venture capital fund and studio created out of partnership between the Green Bay Packers and Microsoft. It builds and funds early-stage high-growth startups.

ARE THERE ANY TRENDS IN THE VENTURE CAPITAL WORLD THAT YOU SEE TITLETOWNTECH CAPITALIZING ON GOING FORWARD?

From an investment standpoint, there are interesting trends and fads. We focus on value creation, and people solving real and meaningful long-term problems. I think the biggest opportunity we have is to capitalize on the talent moving away from the coastal areas. Due to the unique nature of what our space and partnerships bring, we have seen an uptick in interest of talent wanting to move back to Wisconsin.

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE WITH WEDC?

My experience with WEDC is tied to Joey Frayne, WEDC technology investment manager. I have had the chance to work intimately with him to help our portfolio companies work toward becoming Qualified New Business Venture certified (QNBV). This has created a deeper willingness for investors to participate in the early-stage space in Wisconsin.

WHAT WAS THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC LIKE FOR YOUR BUSINESS? HOW DID YOU PIVOT AND WAS IT SUCCESSFUL?

It was certainly an adjustment. We were remote for a few weeks, but because of the companies that rely on our space to operate, we revised our layout, increased maintenance and cleaning schedule, and reopened our doors.

The biggest adjustment was working remotely. I believe we learned what the rest of the world learned – people can be productive from home. Our portfolio companies have more people working hybrid schedules, and our team feels comfortable taking time to work from home as needed.

WHAT EXCITES YOU THE MOST ABOUT THE WISCONSIN BUSINESS CLIMATE GOING FORWARD?

I am excited about the evolution of the ecosystem. People in the region and the country are taking notice to opportunities and talent in Wisconsin. It is no longer a secret. I believe as companies continue to grow and scale here; the ripple effects will be tremendous.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO SEE IMPROVE IN THE WISCONSIN BUSINESS CLIMATE GOING FORWARD?

I believe Wisconsin can continue to reward businesses for creating opportunities to partner with schools, creating real world learning opportunities for students and continuing education opportunities for employees. The need for tech talent in this state continues to grow and unique partnerships will help bridge the gap. Lastly, I believe connecting the state via Madison, Milwaukee, and Green Bay as a tech triangle will be vital as the early-stage ecosystem continues to evolve.

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