Project North initiative unveiled by gener8tor

Gener8tor has unveiled the Project North initiative, an exclusive corporate innovation group including some of the state’s biggest companies.

After building out this network behind closed doors for three years, gener8tor co-founder Troy Vosseller says the project was “becoming an open secret.”

“We wanted to formally reveal Project North specifically to highlight the tremendous work being done by our members and the tremendous amount of time, effort and resources they have invested into the startup and corporate ecosystems,” he said.

In all, 37 national and multinational corporations in the Midwest region are part of the group. They’re based in Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Greg Robinson is managing director of Madison’s 4490 Ventures, the project’s sponsor. He says Project North is “creating a fast track for startup growth while also helping legacy corporations more easily transition amid changing economic trends… It’s had a significant and measurable impact on the local ecosystem.”

The members-only network has four main components: the OnRamp conference series, sourcing and retreats, quarterly roundtables, and Executives on a Plane.

OnRamp was started by gener8tor in 2013, featuring one-on-one pitch sessions between startups and corporate venture capital groups. Members of Project North get complimentary group registration to all OnRamp conferences, which includes a private suite for meetings, VIP dinner and priority for speaking slots.

Executives on a Plane is a three-day, two-night trip done twice a year, connecting executives from member companies with VCs and startups from entrepreneurial hubs across the country. That includes places like Seattle, Boston and Silicon Valley.

The quarterly roundtable events feature speakers from industry and academia. And the retreats and sourcing serve to introduce member companies to relevant startups around the country.

Participating members include: American Family Insurance, Johnsonville Sausage, Northwestern Mutual, Rockwell Automation, Schneider, U.S. Cellular, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the Wisconsin Medical Society and many more.

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