Startups, Eh? Latest Gener8tor Class Includes 2 Canadian Companies

Gener8tor went north of the border to find some of the participants in its latest Wisconsin startup accelerator program.

The organization, which trains entrepreneurs and invests in some of the companies they run, appears to have picked two startups headquartered in Canada for Gener8tor’s current accelerator session in Milwaukee.

The latest group of participants haven’t been formally announced, but Xconomy found the information through some digging on Gener8tor’s website. We’ve contacted Gener8tor to confirm the information, and will update this story if we learn more.

The other three companies in the class are all based in Midwestern states, though none are headquartered in Wisconsin. The five businesses are developing a wide range of products and services—everything from systems for detecting malicious flying drones to tools designed to preserve perishable medical specimens.

Gener8tor started in Wisconsin in 2012, and has since expanded to several large metropolitan areas in the Midwest. The organization also recently created a music technology accelerator, which takes place in Los Angeles.

Since launching, Gener8tor has “graduated” 14 classes of early-stage companies from its core, 12-week accelerator programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Companies selected for those programs receive equity investments. The organization also runs two shorter, no-strings-attached startup accelerators that don’t dole out funds, which it calls gALPHA and gBETA.

Graduates of the core accelerator program have together raised more than $150 million from investors, Gener8tor says on its website.

Gener8tor’s latest group of companies has been working from Milwaukee since the program kicked off in August. It will culminate on Nov. 14 with an event at the Milwaukee Art Museum, in which a founder from each startup will give a five-minute pitch to investors, fellow entrepreneurs, and other members of the business community.

During the program, founders get help from Gener8tor’s team and mentor network as they work to expand their user and customer bases, and ask investors to open their checkbooks.

Gener8tor and its backers provide participating companies with $20,000 in cash at the start of the program, in exchange for an equity stake of 6 to 7 percent. Participants are guaranteed a follow-on investment of at least $70,000 in the form of an uncapped convertible note.

Five companies that have gone through Gener8tor’s core accelerator have been acquired. The latest exit came in July, when Indianapolis-based Dattus, a developer of software for industrial connected devices, was acquired by Michigan-based Plex Systems for an undisclosed sum.

A handful of companies that graduated from the accelerator have gone out of business. One was Madison, WI-based MobileIgniter, which shut down in 2016.

Here are descriptions from Gener8tor’s website of the five companies in its current class:

AirShare (Ottawa, Canada): a designer and manufacturer of systems to “detect, track, and safely mitigate” wayward or malicious unmanned aerial vehicles, which are commonly known as drones.

Noirefy (Chicago): a startup that matches employers with job applicants with the goal of increasing racial and gender diversity in the workforce. The company says it offers a “unique pool” of African-American, Latino, Native American, and female candidates to organizations that are hiring in cities such as Chicago and Detroit.

Raw Office (Toronto, Canada): a developer of software aimed at helping businesses save money on the office supplies they buy. On its website, Raw Office says it analyzes recent invoices from its customers’ suppliers in order to offer discounts to customers.

SnapShyft (Indianapolis): a maker of software that helps bars and restaurants find waiters, bartenders, cooks, and other workers to fill shifts when they’re short-staffed. SnapShyft participated in Gener8tor’s gBETA accelerator in Indianapolis earlier this year—evidence that Gener8tor is seeing results from its strategy to use its earlier-stage programs to scout promising startups and build a pipeline to its investment-based accelerators.

Thaddeus (Rochester, MN): developing reusable packaging designed to protect perishable medical specimens by regulating the temperature they’re stored at, plus complementary software. The company says its tools protect samples from spoiling and against other hazards that exist along the medical supply chain.

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

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