Wisconn Valley Venture Fund names manager

Foxconn, Advocate Aurora, Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual move forward on startup investments

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:11 pm

Jason Franklin has been hired to manage the Wisconn Valley Venture Fund, the $100 million startup investment vehicle launched by four major corporations last summer.

The Milwaukee-based Wisconn Valley Venture Fund has not been publicly active since it was announced with fanfare in August by Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn Technology Group, Johnson Controls International plc and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.

Franklin, a computer scientist, tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist, is a limited partner at California venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz, where he was previously a deal team partner. He previously was a research scientist and visiting lecturer in computer science at Stanford University; a venture partner at Avalon Ventures; an investment fellow at Innovation Endeavors; and co-founder and chief executive officer of mobile security startup Stamp Labs. Franklin holds a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University, and a bachelor’s in computer science and mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

At the Wisconn Valley Venture Fund, Franklin will take the lead on investment origination, evaluation, closing and ongoing portfolio company support. He will be based in Milwaukee and San Francisco.

All four corporations funding the effort are represented on the fund’s investment committee. The fund plans to invest globally in innovative, early-stage health care, technology, manufacturing and financial services companies.

“I’m excited to return to Wisconsin to take part in this unprecedented opportunity to transform our region into a driving force for advanced technology and entrepreneurship,” Franklin said in a statement. “My goal with Wisconn Valley Venture Fund is to generate strong returns and deliver strategic opportunities for all four fund partners, while simultaneously stimulating the already strong entrepreneurial spirit of the region.”

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