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TECHNOLOGY

Foxconn, partners to create $100 million venture fund

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MILWAUKEE — Foxconn Technology Group, Advocate Aurora Health, Johnson Controls and Northwestern Mutual will be equal partners in the creation of the $100 million Wisconn Valley Venture Fund.

The early-stage venture capital fund will invest both nationally and globally, targeting “transformative and interdisciplinary innovations” in health care, technology, manufacturing and financial services, according to a news release from the partner companies.

Each organization will contribute $25 million to the fund as the latest step in its respective commitments to advancing innovative technology and positioning southeastern Wisconsin as a global technology hub. The fund’s goal is to generate strong investment returns while also offering the opportunity to create strategic benefits among the four firms and the companies in which the fund will invest.

The Wisconn Valley Venture Fund will engage with its portfolio companies to create innovation and strategic business development. It will invest in U.S. and global startups in various industries and demonstrates the fast-growing environment for high-tech businesses in Wisconsin.

Gov. Scott Walker joined leaders from the four companies at Discovery World in Milwaukee on Tuesday afternoon for the announcement.

“This is yet another example of the Foxconn bonus, and this is only the beginning,” Walker said. “The fund represents a collaboration of four outstanding companies in Wisconsin that are committed to helping our state become a global technology hub.”

Foxconn founder and CEO Terry Gou stated: “Since Foxconn announced our investment to help create Wisconn Valley one year ago, we have been working actively to contribute to a vibrant business and industry environment in the state.”

“As the global leader in technology and manufacturing services, we are uniquely positioned to promote the development of new and emerging technologies around the world,” Gou stated. “These technologies will drive not only our company’s sustainable growth, but the continued advancement of our industry and the AI (artificial intelligence) 8K+5G ecosystem.” (The term 8K refers to super-high-resolution imaging, and 5G is the latest generation of cell phone technology.)

“We look forward to enabling entrepreneurs and startups to find success for transformative solutions through the fund,” Gou stated.

The partners’ interests

With Wisconn Valley Venture Fund, each of the four organizations will have representation on the fund’s investment committee and will play an integral role in the selection of an experienced venture capital fund manager to lead day-to-day management of the new fund. Based in Milwaukee, the fund manager will lead investment origination, evaluation, closing and ongoing portfolio company support.

Advocate Aurora Health operates 27 hospitals and more than 500 sites of care throughout Wisconsin and Illinois, serving more than 2 million patients each year. Among those are Aurora Memorial Hospital of Burlington and a large clinic and surgery center in Mount Pleasant. Advocate Aurora is also developing a new hospital in Mount Pleasant.

Dr. Nick Turkal, Advocate Aurora president and CEO, said technology will play a critical role in the future of health and wellness. “Through the fund, we can foster continued growth in the future of our region and promote new ways to improve health care delivery on a global scale,” he said.

“Our focus as a company for more than 135 years has been creating a safer, more comfortable and sustainable world,” stated George Oliver, chairman and CEO of Johnson Controls, a global diversified technology and multi-industry company based in Glendale that creates intelligent buildings and energy efficiency solutions. He said the company’s investment in Wisconn Valley Venture Fund reinforces its commitment to innovation.

Northwestern Mutual, a member of the Milwaukee community for more than 160 years, has implemented several key initiatives over the past 18 months to bring together leaders in the startup and technology space. The company said its role in the fund is a natural extension of its commitment and complements the innovation-focused investments it has made.

“We’re proud to take part in this unprecedented collaboration,” stated John Schlifske, Northwestern Mutual chairman and CEO.

“Learnings from the fund will help us enhance our ongoing efforts to transform the experience of financial security for our clients while also generating an attractive investment return for our company,” he stated.

“This is yet another example of the Foxconn bonus, and this is only the beginning. The fund represents a collaboration of four outstanding companies in Wisconsin that are committed to helping our state become a global technology hub.” Gov. Scott Walker

“This is yet another example of the Foxconn bonus, and this is only the beginning. The fund represents a collaboration of four outstanding companies in Wisconsin that are committed to helping our state become a global technology hub.”

Gov. Scott Walker

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Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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