gener8tor unveils secret corporate innovation group

gener8tor co-founders Joe Kirgues and Troy Vosseller.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:04 pm

Milwaukee- and Madison-based startup accelerator program gener8tor has pulled back the curtain on a formerly confidential corporate venture, innovation and strategy group it created three years ago that includes some of Milwaukee’s largest corporations.

gener8tor co-founders Joe Kirgues and Troy Vosseller.

gener8tor is touting “Project North” as the largest corporate innovation network in the Midwest, with 37 corporate members. It aims to connect startups with large companies.

The members are:

  • A.O. Smith Corp.
  • Allianz Life Insurance Co.
  • American Family Insurance
  • Ameritas Life Insurance Corp.
  • Assurant Inc.
  • Boston Scientific Corp.
  • Charter Manufacturing
  • Church Mutual Insurance Company
  • Design Concepts
  • GMR Marketing
  • Harley-Davidson
  • Hendricks Commercial Properties
  • HSA Bank
  • HUSCO International
  • Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group
  • Johnsonville Sausage
  • Kohl’s Corp.
  • Kohler Co.
  • Lancaster Investments
  • Mutual of Omaha Insurance Co.
  • N29 Capital Partners
  • National Center for Manufacturing Sciences
  • Navistar Inc.
  • Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.
  • Quarles & Brady
  • Rite-Hite
  • Rockwell Automation Inc.
  • SafetyNet
  • Sargento Foods Inc.
  • Schneider
  • Total Administrative Services Corp.
  • Thrivent Financial
  • U.S. Cellular
  • West Bend Mutual Insurance Co.
  • Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
  • Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce
  • Wisconsin Medical Society

“In 2015, we started getting more and more inbound interest from local corporations looking to engage with startups,” said Troy Vosseller, co-founder of gener8tor. “Simultaneously, these corporations were at various stages of starting and growing their own corporate venture capital and innovation departments. We created Project North as a forum for peers to share best practices around these new activities.”

According to gener8tor, Project North gives corporations a network of technology experts, venture capitalists and startups, exposure to new technologies and best practices from other corporations. It also aids in the development of corporate venture capital funds and innovation departments.

“Project North has been an extremely effective platform for us to learn from peers and advance our innovation processes,” said Dan Counsell, director of mergers and acquisitions at Kohler Co. “Joining Project North has accelerated our involvement, communication and learnings within the start-up community on a global basis.”

Among the activities the group participates in are quarterly roundtables and biannual trips to visit entrepreneurial hubs around the country.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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