Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio

Co-creating and co-founding new ventures across fintech and health & wellness

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The Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio is part of Northwestern Mutual’s enterprise innovation program, which is focused on taking ideas and transforming them into new or better ways to help people achieve financial security.

The Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio allows us to build beyond our core business and leverage the capabilities we’ve developed over the past 160 years to co-found new ventures. We partner with entrepreneurs to help identify, build and grow ideas, leveraging the people, resources and capabilities of an industry-leading financial services company to create a go-to-market advantage.

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Let's Build Something Together

We’re looking to co-found new high-growth ventures with experienced entrepreneurs and industry experts.

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Why Join the Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio

Support

By partnering with the Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio, you’ll co-develop your venture with our team of entrepreneurs, engineers, designers and growth marketers, with free work space in Cream City Labs, our 17,000-square-foot innovation space. We’ll also connect you with potential venture capital opportunities, including our Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures fund. While we can’t guarantee investment, as a co-founder, we will do everything we can to maximize your success.

Strength

In more than 160 years, we have navigated recessions, a depression, natural disasters, wars and even a pandemic flu. Despite any challenge, Northwestern Mutual has consistently earned the highest financial strength rating, which is why we’ve always been prepared – in the past, today and in the future. Our financial strength and industry-leading products and services helped us earn the #102 FORTUNE 500 ranking in 2020 and recognition as one of FORTUNE’s 2020 “World’s Most Admired Companies” in our industry.

Expertise

Creating new ventures in highly-regulated industries can be daunting on your own. We can connect you with key subject-matter experts throughout Northwestern Mutual to help you quickly navigate complicated environments, so you can focus on your vision and passion.

Compensation

You shouldn’t let the fear of not getting paid keep you from pursuing your passion. We work with each entrepreneur on an individual basis to provide the right level of personal security to keep you focused and dedicated to your new venture while preparing for investment.

Venture Studio Focus

Guided by Northwestern Mutual’s mission of delivering financial security to help our clients live their best life by choice, we are looking to develop new businesses that support this vision.


Health & Wellness

We believe the future of health care is consumer centric. The tools once relegated to physicians’ offices and highly trained staff will make their way into people’s homes to improve accessibility, quality and results. Our ventures are focused on increasing access, leveraging data to improve care, building platforms to improve health outcomes, and inventing products that help individuals manage their care – with the ultimate goal of helping people live long, healthy lives.

Financial Services

We’re looking to help more people reach their financial goals and live life to the fullest, leveraging the expertise of more than 160 years in the financial services industry. Our ventures look to solve some of the country’s most pressing challenges, including debt, fraud, personal security, wealth disparity and retirement, and will leverage our ability to innovate in a highly-regulated industry and commitment to putting clients first.

Verticals we are not focused on include, but are not limited to: Pharmaceuticals, Drug Discovery, Medical Devices, IoT – Physical Goods, Psychedelics & Hallucinogens, Nanotechnology, Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) and Partnerships (Affinity Marketing).

From Idea to Reality

Our relationship with Northwestern Mutual has given us seed capital, access to subject-matter experts, inbound interest from investors and customers, and a dynamic place to work – allowing us to stay focused on building great products. Everything a startup needs.

— Matt Younkle, Co-Founder, Pythonic AI

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The Team

The Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio team is dedicated to building and launching new high-tech companies from the ground up, leveraging lean startup and customer development processes. Partnering with experts in UX, design, engineering and product management from our broader innovation team, you’ll have the support you need to bring your business to life.


  • Venture Studio Manager
  • Strategic Business Development
  • Engineer
  • Growth Hacker
  • Strategic Research & Insights
  • Business Analyst

The Process

The Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio has two application periods per year. Once submissions close, the team will review applications and further explore each team and their idea, market potential and track record, before selecting the entrepreneurs who will be part of the next cohort.

Applications are now open through July 19. Selected entrepreneurs will be notified the week of August 18, 2020.

FAQs

Still have questions? Send us a message using the form below.

How is this different than an accelerator?

The Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio is a new venture development program where we collaborate with entrepreneurs to launch new companies. Because of the structure and available resources within studios, startups who complete this type of program see an increased rate of success and investment.

Do I need to have a fully-baked idea to apply?

No. If you’re passionate about starting a company, are an industry expert and/or experienced entrepreneur, we’d love to connect. We prefer if you can bring an idea to us having already completed some research, customer development and business model canvassing, but it’s not a requirement.

Is my company too far along for the Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio?

We’re looking to partner with entrepreneurs at the earliest stages. If you already have customers, investors and a team, we may not be the best fit for you. (If you are looking to raise capital, consider reaching out to Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures.)

Why should I work with the Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio over another startup studio?

By partnering with the Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio, you will go to market with an industry-leading financial services company that has the highest financial strength rating awarded to any U.S. life insurer. You’ll have access to our network of mentors and financial representatives, early-stage capital and resources to help make your idea a reality. As a member of the Global Startup Studio Network, a highly-curated community of the world’s venture studios, you’ll gain access to the GSSN network and learning opportunities to help grow your venture.

What other benefits do the Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio co-founders receive?

In addition to access to Cream City Labs and our network of mentors and financial representatives, we can also help make connections to investors and potential customers. As co-founder, Northwestern Mutual has a vested interest in ensuring your startup is successful.

Are entrepreneurs compensated while working in the Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio?

Compensation and length of contract are negotiated on a case-by-case basis upon your acceptance into the Northwestern Mutual Venture Studio.

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