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Design Concepts proud to be a member of gener8tor's “Project North” Initiative



Design Concepts is proud to announce our membership in the largest consortium of top corporate venture capital, innovation, M&A and strategy executives in the Midwest.

Over the past three years, gener8tor, a turnkey platform for the creative economy, has quietly compiled the largest corporate innovation network in the Midwest. Internally referred to as “Project North” since its inception in 2015, the formerly confidential initiative has grown from a small group of forward-thinking companies to a consortium of top corporate venture capital, innovation, M&A and strategy executives from 37 national and multinational corporations across the Midwest.

“At this point, three years in, we felt Project North was becoming an open secret,” said gener8tor co-founder Troy Vosseller. “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."

In addition to Design Concepts, members include: A.O. Smith Corporation, Allianz Life Insurance Company, American Family Insurance, Ameritas Life Insurance Corp , Assurant, Inc., Boston Scientific Corporation, Charter Manufacturing, Church Mutual Insurance Company, GMR Marketing, Harley-Davidson, Hendricks Commercial Properties, HSA Bank, HUSCO International, Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group, Johnsonville Sausage, Kohl’s Corporation, Kohler Co., Lancaster Investments, Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company, N29 Capital Partners, National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, Navistar, Inc., Northwestern Mutual, Quarles & Brady, Rite-Hite, Rockwell Automation, Inc., SafetyNet, Sargento Foods Inc, Schneider, Total Administrative Services Corporation, Thrivent Financial, U.S. Cellular, West Bend Mutual Insurance Company, Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, and Wisconsin Medical Society.

Project North members extend across Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Project North is an exclusive, members-only network offering an intimate forum to facilitate:

  • access to leading technologists, venture capitalists and startups;
  • early exposure to disruptive, class-leading technologies through not only the gener8tor
  • and gBETA accelerators, but gener8tor’s nationwide network as well;
  • exchange of best practices from peer executives across U.S;
  • formation and growth of corporate venture capital funds and innovation departments.

Project North is comprised of four components:

Quarterly Roundtables

Roundtables are held each quarter and include discussions with leading academics, venture capitalists and technologists on new opportunities across member industries. Discussions are followed by a members-only dinner which features presentations from participating members around their corporate venture capital and/or innovation practices.

Past guest presenters include current and former leaders from Proctor & Gamble, Microsoft, Touchdown Ventures, Cintrifuse, Caterpillar, Target, Lowe’s, Samsung and Spectrum Health.

Executives on a Plane

Executives on a Plane is a biannual three-day, two-night trip for member executives to entrepreneurial hubs across the country to meet with leading technologists, venture capitalists, startups and peers.

Past trips have included Seattle, Silicon Valley and Boston with visits and presentations by Sequoia Capital, a16z, Accenture, Fidelity Labs, LinkedIn, Charles River Ventures, Bain Capital, GE Ventures, ABB Technology Ventures, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Maveron, Silicon Valley Bank, Xerox PARC and more.

Sourcing and Retreats

gener8tor provides curated reports of startups in specific industries from around the country based on the member’s provided themes and interest areas. Each member also receives custom retreats and consulting from Project North’s leadership team. Past custom programming has included new technology briefings, judging internal ideation contests, strategic introductions, deal sourcing, corporate venture consulting and new business model feedback.

OnRamp Conference Series

The OnRamp Conference Series grew out of a desire to provide entrepreneurs at various stages of growth with access to high level corporate leaders and later stage investors. Started by gener8tor in 2013, OnRamp has evolved into vertical-specific events featuring conference programming and curated one-on-one pitch sessions between startups and corporate venture capital and innovation executives. OnRamp strives to be the premier gathering of corporateventure capital and innovation executives in each industry it serves.

Project North members receive complimentary Corporate Group Registration to all OnRamp conferences, which includes a private, box-level suite for taking one-on-one meetings with startups, the full list of startup applicants, VIP dinner and priority speaking slots.

To learn more about Project North, please visit www.gener8tor.com/project-north.