gener8tor could expand into northeastern Wisconsin and Indianapolis

Startup accelerator widens reach

gener8tor co-founders Joe Kirgues and Troy Vosseller.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:05 pm

Milwaukee-based startup accelerator gener8tor is evaluating potential expansion into both northeastern Wisconsin and Indianapolis.

gener8tor co-founders Joe Kirgues and Troy Vosseller.

“We’re looking at expanding into Indiana,” said Joe Kirgues, gener8tor co-founder and managing director of gener8tor Madison and Milwaukee. “We’ve made a number of trips down there looking at potential partners and things like that. I think in the next few months we’ll be firming up getting the gBETA program off the ground there.”

gener8tor’s gBETA program is a free six-week accelerator targeted to early-stage companies with local roots. Kirgues said new markets will begin with gBETA, and then its 12-week gener8tor accelerator, which takes an equity stake and focuses on business growth, would be added later.

The organization provides first-stage startups with seed capital, applies lean principles to startup development, creates an environment for entrepreneurs to collaborate and establishes access to later-stage capital. It currently operates in Milwaukee, Madison, Beloit and Minneapolis.

In northeastern Wisconsin, gener8tor is working to develop partnerships and hire a local manager to run its programs. The new market would cover the Appleton, Green Bay and Oshkosh region.

The expansion into Indianapolis is the result of gener8tor’s relationship with Beloit-based Hendricks Commercial Properties, which helped the organization start gBETA in Beloit and is now leading a $260 million mixed-use development on an 11-acre former bottling plant in Indianapolis that will include a startup hub, Kirgues said. gener8tor alumnus company Dattus also is based in Indianapolis.

gener8tor expects to have details on the two new markets finalized in the next few months.

A few other communities are also on gener8tor’s radar as it continues to expand, though the organization is not ready to reveal them, Kirgues said.

“We’re traveling a lot. What I think has been rewarding for us is having others hear what we’re doing with American Family and WARF and the University of Minnesota and determining whether that type of product will work in their community,” he said.

gener8tor has 12 full-time employees and has plans to add more this year as it continues to expand.

Founded in 2012, gener8tor has become a nationally ranked startup accelerator. Several of its portfolio companies, including Docalytics and Optyn, have made exits at undisclosed prices.

“What’s allowed us to do this (expansion) is the stock value of our portfolio companies has risen considerably since we first invested,” Kirgues said. That’s given our investors confidence that they’d like to see more companies like that through expansion. Hopefully the success of our past portfolio companies validates that we can succeed in investing in our best and brightest.”

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