Grading Gener8tor’s Startup Accelerator: Exits, Failures, & Progress
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DineInTime, a mobile app that would notify restaurant patrons when their table is ready.
SpanDeX, which was part of Gener8tor’s inaugural class, shut down because one of the co-founders took a job with Yahoo that he “couldn’t turn down,” Vosseller says. DineInTime, part of the accelerator’s second class, closed up shop because “the chemistry wasn’t there” between the co-founders, Kirgues says. “It was a napkin idea that couldn’t get past the napkin stage,” he adds.
The future of Swapferit, another member of Gener8tor’s first class, is up in the air. The company created an online bartering marketplace that allows users to execute multi-person trades of goods and funds. Founder John Bialk says the idea still has legs, but he has struggled to attract users and craft a clear marketing message, and the company is in a holding pattern. “It’s too early to call it dead,” Bialk says.
He’s no longer actively running Swapferit, having turned his attention to Quietyme, a startup that earned him a spot in Gener8tor’s second program in early 2013, and later the Healthbox accelerator in Chicago. The company sells sensor devices for monitoring noise, temperature, and humidity levels in hospitals, hotels, and homes. Quietyme has raised more than $1.5 million from investors, Bialk says, and it has 16 employees in the U.S. and three in India. By the end of January, its devices will be running in more than 20 hospitals, he says.
In addition, Xconomy recently caught up with three other Gener8tor-backed companies:
—EatStreet is probably the hottest startup in Gener8tor’s portfolio, having raised the most from investors and grown its staff to 80 people, co-founder and CEO Matt Howard says. The online restaurant ordering service is a competitor of Chicago-based GrubHub (NYSE: GRUB), which raised $192 million in an initial public offering in April and allows users to order deliveries from more than 30,000 restaurants in more than 800 cities. But EatStreet seems to be holding its own. It has signed up 15,000 restaurants in more than 150 cities, Howard says, and last summer it announced a partnership with Yelp to allow users to place food orders directly from restaurants’ pages on the review website.
—Driblet Labs, a Mexico-born startup that went through Gener8tor’s previous winter program, has relocated to Cambridge, MA, and grown to five employees, with plans to add another 10, co-founder and CEO Rodolfo Ruiz says. Following the Gener8tor program, Driblet initially intended to stay in Wisconsin, but it moved east primarily to be close to its business partners’ manufacturing and design facilities located in Massachusetts, Ruiz says.
Driblet created smart devices for monitoring water consumption and temperature. They also can control the flow of water through the pipe to which they’re attached, Ruiz says. The machines don’t require batteries or power cords because they’re powered by the energy generated by the water running through them. The company’s product is in beta testing, but it will start selling to the public next year, he says.
—Milwaukee-based Scanalytics has come a long way since co-founder and CEO Joe Scanlin built its prototype by ripping apart and repurposing a mat used to play the “DanceDanceRevolution” video game. The company’s sensors measure foot traffic at places like retail outlets and trade shows. In addition, it’s now exploring uses in gaming, home healthcare, and home automation, Scanlin says, aided by the exposure and connections Scanalytics made while participating in a home automation startup accelerator held this year at Microsoft’s headquarters. Scanalytics has raised nearly $2 million from investors, Scanlin says, and has hired 13 full-time and three part-time employees. The devices came out of closed beta testing in August, and sales have been growing an average of 18 percent per month, Scanlin says. [An earlier version of this paragraph incorrectly stated that the company’s devices were still in beta testing. We regret the error. The paragraph has also been updated with a more current fundraising total.]