Foxconn, CUNA, DevCodeCamp & More: This Week’s Wisconsin Watchlist

[Updated 3/28/18 4:29 p.m. See below.] Catch up on news from Wisconsin’s innovation community with these recent headlines:

—Foxconn Interconnect Technology said it agreed to pay $866 million in cash to acquire Belkin International, a California-based maker of phone chargers, audio cables, and other accessories. The buyer is a subsidiary of Taiwan-based Hon Hai Precision Industry, which does business as Foxconn Technology Group. Foxconn is perhaps best known for assembling iPhones, iPads, and other gadgets at plants in China, but last summer it announced plans to construct a huge manufacturing facility in Southeastern Wisconsin and produce high-resolution televisions and computer displays there.

Following its purchase of Belkin, which also sells home networking equipment through its subsidiary Linksys, Foxconn plans to deepen its presence in the high-end accessories and smart home markets.

It’s not clear how the acquisition of Belkin will affect Foxconn’s plans for its Wisconsin facility, on which construction has not yet begun. However, The Verge notes that the deal represents a “major shift for Foxconn, taking it from a behind-the-scenes manufacturing partner” to a company that now owns multiple consumer products businesses. (Two years ago, Foxconn bought the Japan-based television and electronics company Sharp for $3.5 billion.)

The deal is reportedly likely to require approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. The committee has been in the spotlight recently after it blocked Broadcom’s (NASDAQ: AVGO) proposed takeover of Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM).

—CUNA Mutual AdvantEdge Analytics said it plans to work with Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to develop a new data platform for workers in the credit union industry. AdvantEdge Analytics’ corporate parent is Madison-based CUNA Mutual, which provides insurance and financial services to its member organizations, many of which are credit unions. Microsoft and CUNA Mutual AdvantEdge said they’re seeking to create cloud-based software that any credit union can easily install and start using. The two companies plan to build the new platform atop a foundation that includes elements of products Microsoft sells today, such as its Dynamics 365 business intelligence tools.

—Wisconsin Rapids-based Renaissance Learning acquired Myon, a Minnesota-based company that develops software designed to assess and improve students’ reading abilities. Renaissance, which develops cloud-based educational tools aimed at K-12 students, declined to disclose any financial terms of the deal.

—DevCodeCamp, a Milwaukee-based organization that teaches adults to solve problems by writing computer code and building software applications, is reaching out to military veterans in the area who might be interested in careers in the technology field, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Last fall, lawmakers amended the GI Bill so that it now includes benefits covering tuition at DevCodeCamp and other schools that seek to prepare students for jobs in tech. Alumni of the program, which launched in 2015, have gone on to work at companies such as Northwestern Mutual, Rockwell Automation (NYSE: ROK) and U.S. Bank (NYSE: USB), said Paul Jirovetz, vice president of operations at DevCodeCamp. [This paragraph has been updated with information from Paul Jirovetz.]

In the past decade, dozens of similar schools have popped up, claiming they can, in just a few months’ time, help novices become adept programmers. (Last year, San Francisco-based Dev Bootcamp and Greenville, SC-based Iron Yard both said they planned to shut down operations.)

—Madison-based Understory said it’s partnering with Monsanto (NYSE: MON), a St. Louis-based agrochemical and seed manufacturer, to provide farmers in Argentina with a higher quality and quantity of weather data than they’re able to access today. Under the terms of the agreement, Monsanto will work with Understory to install 30 of the … Next Page »

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Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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