Foxconn may invest in a Wisconsin venture fund
Foxconn Technology Group is considering investment in a Wisconsin venture fund that would provide seed money to startups that develop commercial applications based on the company’s super-high-definition display panels.
“I’ve been in two or three meetings where that’s the specific topic,” Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said this week in an interview. He declined to say who locally might be involved in such a fund.
Earlier, speaking Monday to members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, Sheehy talked about the type of liquid crystal display screens Foxconn plans to manufacture in an immense factory to be built in Racine County, just east of I-94 in Mount Pleasant.
The screens will be “8K” resolution, with 16 times the number of pixels — the tiny dots that form images on a television or computer monitor — as are currently deployed on high-definition TVs.
Coupled with ultra-fast “5G” data networks, which are expected to start being rolled out in the near future, the high-resolution screens promise to have profound consequences in fields such as medicine, manufacturing and security, Sheehy said.
“You can put this in place and get facial recognition of everybody in Lambeau Field in about 10 minutes,” he told the GMC
The “incredible breadth” of that technology, in turn, will present entrepreneurs in southeastern Wisconsin with opportunity to dream up new, commercially viable ways to use it, Sheehy said.
“Foxconn’s already talked about investing in a venture fund here to get people to develop on their technology platform,” he said.
A Foxconn representative wasn’t immediately available Tuesday to comment on the potential for the company to back a venture fund.
But Sheehy indicated that such a fund could benefit not just startups here, but Foxconn as well, by widening the array of uses for its screens.
Plans for Foxconn to build what the company now describes as a 25-million-squarefoot manufacturing complex employing up to 13,000 people in Mount Pleasant are rolling forward.
Last week, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou and Gov. Scott Walker signed a contract detailing the $3 billion in state aid the company stands to receive, Foxconn’s obligations, and the guarantees it and Gou are pledging. Still to be signed is a contract between the company, Racine County and Mount Pleasant, which have said they will provide $764 million in infrastructure spending and other assistance for the project.