Three major Wisconsin companies announced on Tuesday a partnership with Foxconn to create a $100 million venture capital fund. Advocate Aurora, Foxconn, Johnson Controls and Northwestern Mutual are behind the “Wisconsin Valley Venture Fund,” which aims to spur development similar to what we've seen in Silicon Valley.
Each of the four players will contribute $25 million. The goal is to invest in companies both in the U.S. and across the world innovating in health care, technology, manufacturing and financial services. While the companies invested in don’t have to be located in Wisconsin, the fund manager will be.
John Schlifske is chairman and CEO of Northwestern Mutual. During the press conference announcing the partnership, Schlifske said that the Wisconsin Valley Venture Fund is necessary to for the company to continue to thrive.
“The whole business model that we’re in is changing, and the need to have technology, technology talent and an environment that that surrounds the company that’s focused on this is imperative. Without this fund, we would be at a disadvantage,” Schlifske says.
The hope by all involved is that the venture capital fund attracts young people to Wisconsin. Gov. Walker says it’s the Foxconn bonus.
“The true Foxconn bonus is about the inspiration to stay here, to graduate here, to go to our great technical colleges, our great UW System, our remarkable private colleges and universities to get a degree to get an inspiration and say 'I can work for Foxcon, I can work for one of these other great global companies or I can start my own company here,'” Walker says.
The four companies hope to have a fund manager in place by the end of the year.