Gener8tor’s Winter Program Draws Startups From Miami, Boston, Detroit

Gener8tor co-founder Troy Vosseller describes the Wisconsin startup accelerator’s latest group of companies as its most diverse class to date.

When Gener8tor launched its program three years ago, the first couple of sessions featured only Wisconsin-based software and device companies. But its next few sessions attracted startups from around the Midwest and as far away as Massachusetts, Texas, Utah, and Mexico. The companies have ranged from healthtech to fashion to a handwritten letter service.

Gener8tor continues that theme of variety, both in geography and industry, with its sixth class of companies, announced today. The group hails from Miami, Boston, Detroit, and Madison, WI. The companies include e-commerce software for grocery stores, a subscription wine service, health and beauty products, e-ticketing, and continuing education software for medical professionals. (See below for more info on the companies.)

The three-month winter program will take place in Madison, culminating in a closing event where each entrepreneur pitches his or her company to a crowd of potential investors and local supporters. Gener8tor also runs a summer session in Milwaukee.

Gener8tor initially invests $20,000 in cash in exchange for a 6 to 9 percent equity stake in each company. Following the program, the companies also receive up to $120,000 in the form of convertible debt. That includes $50,000 from Gener8tor, $20,000 from Oshkosh, WI-based Angels on the Water, and a possible $50,000 from the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation if the startup has a permanent office in Wisconsin.

The 28 graduates of the program have gone on to raise nearly $35 million from investors and created more than 250 jobs, Gener8tor says. Two of the startups have been acquired, two have shut down, and at least one is on hiatus, Xconomy reported in December.

From more than 400 applicants, here are the five companies Gener8tor chose for the latest session:

—AltusMedical Group: This Madison-based company sells software for continuing education to healthcare facilities, medical device companies, and pharmaceutical companies nationwide. It’s also developing software to allow healthcare providers to connect remotely with patients, the company’s website says.

—Bright Cellars: This Boston-based subscription wine service uses an algorithm created by its MIT-educated co-founders to match members with personalized monthly wine selections shipped to their doorstep. Customers feed data to the system by taking a wine quiz and rating wines to improve future matches. Founded last April, Bright Cellars has more than 1,000 members.

—Carson Life: Miami-based 
Carson Life sells natural health and beauty products targeted toward Hispanic customers. Its products can be found online or on the shelves of retailers, such as Walmart.

—GrocerKey: Madison-based GrocerKey creates branded websites for grocery stores to sell products online and implement grocery pickup and delivery systems. GrocerKey founder Jeremy Neren previously founded Munchie Delivery, an on-demand, late-night grocery delivery service.

—Passage: Detroit-based
 Passage offers online event ticketing and payment processing services to customers hosting specialty events. Its products include HauntPay, a ticketing and payment service specifically for Halloween attractions.


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