BrightStar, Gener8tor Nix Deal Promising Funds for Accelerator Grads

[Updated 7/11/18 11:02 a.m. See below.] Two Wisconsin-based organizations that invest in startups have done away with an arrangement they made four years ago that was aimed at getting early-stage companies to move to—or stay in—the state, and create jobs there.

Since 2014, the BrightStar Wisconsin Foundation has guaranteed a $50,000 investment in each graduate of Gener8tor’s core, 12-week Wisconsin startup accelerator program that creates “high-quality” jobs in the Badger State. (That’s on top of the $90,000 that Gener8tor invests in every startup that participates in its core program.)

But Louis Condon, managing director at Gener8tor, says the arrangement is no longer in place. Condon declined to say whether Gener8tor or BrightStar nixed the arrangement unilaterally, or if it was a mutual decision.

BrightStar portfolio manager Todd Sobotka declined to make any on-the-record comment when asked why the arrangement was terminated. [This paragraph has been updated.]

Condon said Gener8tor does not expect ending its partnership with BrightStar will lead to fewer startups forming and growing in Wisconsin.

“We’ve appreciated the partnership and remain committed to investing in Wisconsin-based startups,” Condon said in an e-mail.

BrightStar, which launched in 2013, uses an unconventional venture philanthropy approach that pumps charitable donations from other foundations, as well as wealthy individuals, into early-stage businesses that are creating jobs in Wisconsin. Gener8tor, meanwhile, runs training and mentorship programs for startups and makes equity investments in some of them. The organization started in Wisconsin in 2012, but has since expanded to other Midwestern states.

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

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