Silicon Valley comes to Titletown: Packers, Microsoft announce $10M tech lab

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Green Bay Packers and software giant Microsoft are teaming up to build a massive technology building called "Titletown Tech."

The goal is to boost economic expansion in the region through "world-class digital innovations and expertise." The Packers and Microsoft are evenly splitting the $10 million business investment, saying it's a match made in heaven.

"Just a tremendous opportunity for us, and when we saw the opportunity we jumped at it," says Packers President Mark Murphy.

"As we were talking about what we wanted to do, it took about 6 seconds to realize that Titletown was the perfect place for this match to come together," adds Microsoft President Brad Smith.

The two-story, 46,000-square foot facility will open a year from now in the Titletown District. It will house these ventures:

TitletownTech Accelerator will work with start-ups creating new digital products and services. They'll spend 18 weeks at the facility, working with advisers and mentors.

TiteltownTech Venture Capital Fund will invest money to launch new companies that participate in the Accelerator.

TitletownTech Labs is for established businesses. They will be able to send workers to TitletownTech for an 18-week program dedicated to new digital tech and services.

Both organizations say TitletownTech will help the region's emerging and existing businesses define and build new digital products, transform their operations through technology, and provide capital to launch new ventures.

"An opportunity to bring two world class organizations together that have great complementary strengths, but a common commitment to the community and help bring Titletown to a new dimension that adds this creative element and helps add to the role it will play as really a crown jewel and engine of economic growth for all of Northeast Wisconsin," says Smith, who is an Appleton native.

He adds that digital technology is the wave of the future in just about every industry, from agriculture to high-tech.

"It's emblematic of what we're seeing across the economy, the future of manufacturing involves digital technology, the paper industry has moved more to digital technology, for us to be able to work with the Packers and Titletown and really turn Titletown Tech into a centerpiece for the development of these technologies, is something we hope can ultimately reverberate with benefits across the economy," says Smith.

The Packers are banking on Titletown Tech to not only attract, but retain young college graduates in the area, a problem research shows Northeast Wisconsin faces.

"We think Titletown in general will be helpful in that regard, but this particularly, and if we're able to start some exciting young businesses that will be attractive to young professionals, it will be a huge help to us," says Murphy.

Microsoft is creating a TitletownTech Mentorship Program for its employees to serve as mentors in the Accelerator and Labs program..

The Packers say they plan to announce even more details on TitletownTech in the weeks to come.

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