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For founders developing transformational technologies in risk management and insurance.

The CDL-Wisconsin Risk Stream operates at the University of Wisconsin Madison, the leading university for risk management in the United States. This Stream brings together experienced entrepreneurs, investors, leading scientists, and insurance executives active in risk management. The Risk cohort focuses on emerging technologies related to identifying, assessing, preventing, mitigating, and transferring risk.

Ventures who are accepted to the program work with mentors to sharpen objectives, prioritize time and resources, and raise capital.

The startups attend five full-day objective-setting sessions between November and July. There are no fees to participate and CDL does not take any equity. CDL is a non-profit organization. Learn more about the CDL program here.

Who Should Apply?

Risk Stream’s mission is to transform society’s ability to manage risk. This mission includes a wide variety of subject matter; from how organizations identify, assess and manage risk, to the insurance value chain, and more. Ventures with innovative software applications, AI/ML (or any form of machine intelligence) and data solutions, intelligent process automation are only a few examples of technology that can help society transform its ability to manage risk, and ventures who should apply.

The Risk Stream is particularly suited to coachable, early-stage startups and research teams; however, startups at all levels of maturity will be considered.

Example Innovation Areas

  • AI/ML applications, especially intelligent workflow automation
  • Financial Risk Management
  • Innovations that improve the risk management discipline, including new lines and insurance coverage (e.g. Cyber)
  • Proactive sensors, alerts, or wearables and IoT to improve safety and loss prevention
  • Real-time geographic data combined with machine intelligence to guide decision making
  • New sources and uses of data to drive improvement in decision making; including drone and satellite imagery
  • Core insurance software applications
  • Parametric insurance
  • Catastrophe modeling
  • New types of risk transfer or different distribution channels including new parties assuming risk

The list above is not exhaustive. Contact the CDL Risk team at to discuss the program and your venture.

Our Mentors

CDL mentors include accomplished entrepreneurs, experienced operators, active angel and venture investors, world-leading scientists, engineers, and economists. Mentors meet with Founders every eight weeks to help founders set objectives throughout the program’s nine-month duration.

Companies accepted to the CDL Risk Stream benefit from advice given by industry executives and academics who are world-leading experts on emerging thought leadership and technologies in the risk management field.

See all CDL Risk mentors ▶︎

CDL Risk Founding Corporate Partner – American Family Insurance

As a founding partner, American Family is helping identify and select startups and will provide mentors and other resources during the program. This support is part of the company’s ongoing partnership with UW-Madison, which includes The American Family Insurance Data Science Institute, the endowed chair of the Institute, and the American Family Insurance Distinguished Chair in Risk Management and Insurance.

Apply to the CDL program

For more information or to schedule an introduction meeting with the CDL team, email

Although each of the CDL programs and streams have different focus areas, having this one focused on society’s ability to manage risk feels particularly relevant in this moment. At a time when we’re searching for ways to address a global pandemic, climate change, cyber threats, systemic racism and so many other risks to the health and safety of individuals, communities and businesses, this emphasis couldn’t be more timely or important.

Dan Reed

Managing Partner, American Family Ventures | CDL-Wisconsin Risk

I have never seen that many intelligent people in the same virtual space before. It was an amazing experience.

Jack Ryan

Founder, Last Lock | CDL-Wisconsin Risk

The timing was right. We had to make some decisions about what direction we were going to go as a company and the thought of the mentorship and the engagement by the industry experts was very appealing, and was a great experience for us.

William Bazeley

Founder, RoofMarketplace | CDL-Wisconsin Risk

One of the key challenges for a founder is to make sure that we focus our attention on the right topics. And the entire CDL program is organized in such a way that very experienced mentors help you to actually prioritize those topics so you actually spend your time wisely.

Jos Gheerardyn

Founder, | CDL-Wisconsin Risk

Applications are now open!