Gener8tor Strikes Up the UW Band to Send Off Latest Startup Class

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2,000 members. Its plans for attracting more customers include becoming an exclusive seller of wines produced by a partner vineyard in California, Yau said.

Carson Life: Guzman, a Puerto Rico native, founded the Miami-based company because she struggled to find quality health and beauty products targeting the Hispanic population. So, she started such a business herself. Carson Life snagged Julian Gil—an Argentina-born actor, model, and entertainer popular throughout Latin America—as a company spokesman, and the company has quickly pushed its natural products into 120 Walgreens stores and 18 Walmart stores in Puerto Rico, Guzman said. Carson Life also sells its 33 products directly to consumers via its website.

The company has generated $400,000 in revenue, and the plan is to move into Florida retail outlets next, Guzman said.

GrocerKey: Neren started the company to help grocery stores keep up with the rapidly changing purchasing habits of shoppers, who are spending less money in stores and starting to turn to new options like Instacart, an app-based grocery delivery service. Neren estimates that 20,000 grocers don’t have an option for online ordering, and those that do are often using outdated and expensive systems, he said.

GrocerKey’s solution is to create a branded website for grocers, which allows customers to shop online for items at in-store prices, and then have the groceries delivered or made available for pick-up, Neren said. GrocerKey makes money by charging stores a fee on every transaction, which stores can recoup by charging consumers a fee on their orders.

The benefits for grocers include the chance to remain at the heart of online transactions and access to data analytics that provide valuable insight into shopping habits.

GrocerKey has already launched some grocery store websites, and its website for Woodman’s, shopwoodmans.com, goes live in June, Neren said.

Passage: Detroit-based Passage provides online systems that handle ticketing and payments for specialty events. It started by targeting businesses operating haunted attractions, and has since expanded to beer festivals, paintball events, and semi-pro soccer games. There are all kinds of possible markets it could cater to, CEO Alex Linebrink said, ranging from comedy clubs to wine tastings.

Passage makes money by charging service fees to the ticket purchasers. The company has generated $130,000 in revenue over the last nine months, and it’s on pace for $625,000 in sales this year—which would be a five-fold increase over last year, Linebrink said.

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Jeff Bauter Engel is Deputy Editor, Tech at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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