Northwestern Mutual, Aurora to invest $10 million in Milwaukee startups

Each company will provide $5 million in early stage capital


Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. and Aurora Health Care will each invest $5 million to support Milwaukee startups through a multi-year funding commitment, the companies announced today.

Craig Schedler will lead Cream City Venture Capital.

Northwestern Mutual’s new Cream City Venture Capital Fund will provide early stage funding for startups ranging from $100,000 to $250,000 and will provide the new companies with access to additional Northwestern Mutual resources, including advisors, mentors, co-working space and technology.

The fund, led by Northwestern Mutual venture partner Craig Schedler, will look to partner with local entrepreneurs that are “leveraging technology solutions to address significant problems and have a clear vision of the business they are trying to create,” the announcement said.

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It follows the launch of the company’s Future Ventures fund, a $50 million venture capital fund focused on fintech startups, which the company announced earlier this year.


“We recognize technology is a key driver of Milwaukee’s future and the private sector needs to play a lead role in getting us there,” said John Schlifske, chairman and chief executive officer of Northwestern Mutual. “Cream City Venture Capital demonstrates our commitment to advancing the startup community to create a vibrant tech ecosystem in Milwaukee that attracts and retains top technology talent.”

Aurora Health Care, meanwhile, announced its new InvestMKE initiative. Through InvestMMKE, Aurora will co-invest, alongside Cream City Venture Capital  and other investment professionals, up to $1 million in early-stage companies that “make health easier, more efficient, and more personalized,” the announcement said. Aurora will also link companies with its network of health professionals and patient insights.

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“Technology is rapidly changing not only how we experience health care, but how we live our lives,” said Nick Turkal, president and CEO of Aurora Health Care. “Entrepreneurs right here in southeastern Wisconsin are at the forefront of this revolution, developing and implementing ideas today that will make a difference tomorrow. Investment through the InvestMKE fund will help us deliver high-quality, cost-effective health care, ultimately helping people live well here at home.”

The two initiatives will have independent investment criteria, but will be run in collaboration to maximize opportunities for funding, mentorship and technology development, the companies said.

Northwestern Mutual will convene area leaders at its new downtown tower on Wednesday for a Technology Summit to discuss how southeastern Wisconsin can attract technology talent and build a thriving startup community.

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