Northwestern Mutual, Advocate Aurora to create tech organization

Companies plan to contribute $2 million each

Guy Kawasaki gave the keynote address.

Last updated on June 27th, 2019 at 12:09 pm

Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Advocate Aurora Health are planning to create a new tech-focused community organization, according to several sources familiar with the effort.

Each company is planning to contribute $2 million to launch the nonprofit, which is a spinoff of the corporations’ Milwaukee Tech Hub efforts over the past few years, sources said.

James Hischke, senior director of tech advancement and outreach at Northwestern Mutual, would serve as interim executive director of the new organization, sources said. Mike Rodgers, vice president of commercial innovation at Advocate Aurora Health, has been involved in the strategic planning, sources said.

The website mketech.org, which details the region’s tech ecosystem and the Milwaukee Tech Hub initiative, was created in July. And Northwestern Mutual has now hosted two annual Milwaukee Tech Hub Summit events to garner support from other corporations for attracting tech talent to the region.

This new, separate organization is an effort to drive support from the wider community, as well, sources said. Its goals are to rapidly ramp up the number of tech jobs in the Milwaukee region, partly by attracting new startup companies to locate here. And it will host events previously put on by Northwestern Mutual and Aurora, such as the Fall Experiment.

According to several sources, Northwestern Mutual and Aurora plan to announce the new organization at a Milwaukee Tech Hub meeting Thursday. Representatives from the wider Milwaukee tech community attend those meetings. Betsy Hoylman, a spokeswoman for Northwestern Mutual, said there is no announcement planned for tomorrow.

A spokeswoman for Advocate Aurora referred all questions about the organization to Northwestern Mutual. Hoylman did not respond to questions about the organization, but released the following statement in response:

“Northwestern Mutual is committed to strengthening our tech community. Many organizations and academic institutions have been joining forces to advance the Milwaukee Tech Hub movement, and discussions are continuing.”

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Molly Dill
Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.