Consortium of companies, led by Northwestern Mutual, to fund startup accelerator program


Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. announced today it is teaming up with Rockwell Automation, Kohl’s, Robert W. Baird & Co. and Milwaukee Institute to fund an accelerator program for early-stage Milwaukee startup companies.

John Schlifske, chairman and CEO of Northwestern Mutual, announced the new program at a technology summit hosted this morning at Northwestern Mutual’s new office tower in downtown Milwaukee.

Panelists at Northwestern Mutual’s Tech Hub Summit included: Julie Huls of The Huls Group, Joe Scanlin of Scanalytics Inc., Jay Mason of Launch MKE, Andy Nunemaker of Dynamis Software Corp., and moderator Karen Hung of Silver Rock Consulting.

“Milwaukee’s entrepreneurial spirit is fueling a vibrant startup community, which needs capital and support at the earliest stages of ideation,” Schlifske said. “We’re proud to partner with Rockwell Automation, Kohl’s, Baird and Milwaukee Institute on this program. By working together, we will make a greater impact to strengthen our tech community.”

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The seven-week accelerator program gBETA Milwaukee will run multiple times throughout the year and be led by Milwaukee startup accelerator gener8tor. The program is designed to provide early stage companies with access to a community of entrepreneurs, mentors, angel investors, venture capitalists, technologists and co-working space.

gBETA Milwaukee will be held at the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is run by Brian Thompson, director of the Lubar Entrepreneurship Center.

All operating costs for the 2018 and 2019 programs will be covered by the partnering companies, with no fee or equity requirements for the participants. Northwestern Mutual is the lead sponsor and Rockwell Automation, Kohl’s, Baird and Milwaukee Institute are supporting sponsors.

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Earlier this week, Northwestern Mutual and Aurora Health Care announced that each company will invest $5 million to support Milwaukee startups through a multi-year funding commitment.

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