March 17. 2014 2:00AM

Engineered Propulsion Systems

By Molly Dill

New Richmond-based Engineered Propulsion Systems has already seen success and is committed to creating 128 jobs by 2020, through a $600,000 matching forgivable loan from the state.

The diesel aircraft engine developer has a large valuation of almost $20 million, and is in its third capital raise. It already has a $2.95 million contract with the Department of Defense.

EPS' engine is unique because it eliminates the use of leaded fuel common in aircraft engines.
Engineered Propulsion Systems makes diesel aircraft engines.

The company has several investors lined up to get it out of the research and development phase and into production. The company's likelihood of success is high, said Todd Sobotka, BrightStar's portfolio manager and investment committee chair.

"They've hit every single milestone," he said. "The angels that have original money in them have basically doubled up each time."

BrightStar has invested $100,000, as part of a larger effort to raise $11 million to fund its operations. EPS has about 100 investors through its first two rounds and the three tranches it has completed in this third round.

While BrightStar is one of many investors in the funding round, it helped fill a gap, said Paul Mayer, chief financial officer of EPS. He praised the organization's efficient deployment.

"Most angels, one of their five questions is, 'what is the exit strategy?' Todd never said to me, 'what's the exit strategy?' All he said was, 'how can I help?' And I think that's a tremendously different view of how to help startup companies," Mayer said.