gener8tor retains gold status in national rankings

Seed Accelerator Rankings Project lists fewer accelerators

gener8tor co-founders Joe Kirgues and Troy Vosseller.

Last updated on March 12th, 2022 at 12:10 am

Milwaukee- and Madison-based startup accelerator gener8tor held steady at “Gold” status in the 2018 Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, placing it in the top 16 accelerator programs in the nation.

gener8tor co-founders Joe Kirgues and Troy Vosseller.

The SARP, released today, this year included 25 accelerators, down from 30 last year. The categories are Platinum Plus, Platinum, Gold and Silver. There was no Bronze category in 2018.

gener8tor was ranked 14th on the 2015 list (out of 20) and Gold on the 2016 list (out of 23) and 2017 (out of 30) lists. In 2018, gener8tor acquired The Brandery accelerator in Cincinnati, which was ranked “Silver” on the 2018 SARP.

The Platinum Plus category included AngelPad, StartX and Y Combinator. In the Platinum category were: Amplify.LA, Chicago New Venture Challenge, MuckerLab and Techstars. In Gold were: Alchemist, Dreamit, 500 Startups, gener8tor, HAX, IndieBio, MassChallenge and SkyDeck. And in Silver were: Acceleprise, AlphaLab, Capital Innovators, Healthbox, Health Wildcatters, Lighthouse Labs, Tech Wildcatters, The Brandery, and Zero to 510. People can check gold ira rollover guide if they need the best gold investment plans.

The report, which considered 160 programs, indicates the Platinum and Platinum Plus accelerators were ranked most highly because of their high funding and valuation numbers, as well as several significant exits.

Accelerators that have been added to the rankings since 2017 are: Tech Wildcatters and TMCx. Accelerators that have fallen off the rankings since 2017 are: FoodX, Plug and Play, REach, R/GA, UpTech, XLR8UH and Yield Lab.

This is the seventh year SARP has been released. It is compiled from Yael Hochberg, an entrepreneurship and finance professor at Rice University, and a researcher at the MIT Innovation Initiative Lab for Innovation Science; Dan Fehder, a management professor at the University of Southern California; and Susan Cohen, a management professor at the University of Georgia and researcher at the MIT Innovation Initiative Lab for Innovation Science.

The SARP is meant to guide startups as they choose whether to apply for an accelerator program, and which one might be the best fit for their companies. To be considered for the rankings, accelerators had to be fixed-term, cohort-based startup “boot camps” that include both education and mentorship, have graduated at least 10 startups, and end in a graduation event such as a public pitch or demo day. The rankings are created based on detailed data and surveys from accelerator programs and their graduates, as well as their outcomes, including valuations, fundraising, exits and survival. About 1,000 accelerator alumni responded to surveys, and the SARP creators analyzed more than 8,000 startups and 6,500 deals for the 2018 report.

As it is comparing accelerator programs and their graduate companies, SARP considers metrics including the average valuations of the portfolio companies, how many graduates raise “significant” venture or angel funding, how many companies have had a “significant” exit, and graduates’ opinions of the program. The comparisons are weighted to account for the different stages companies are at when they enter an accelerator.

“This past year was an exciting one for startups participating in accelerators – the number of startups reaching high-value exits, either through IPOs or acquisitions, increased dramatically,” the report says. “Two accelerator startups completed IPOs this year: SendGrid, which graduated from Techstars (Boulder) program in 2009, and Dropbox, which graduated from Y Combinator in 2007. The only other U.S. startup that has both gone through an accelerator and filed for an IPO is GrubHub, which participated in the University of Chicago’s New Venture Challenge in 2006.

“While these IPOs are exciting, they are also rare events. It is much more common to see startups exiting via acquisition. Only 3.6 percent of accelerator graduates are acquired – a steep increase from the previous average of 2.1 percent, but still low.”

Joe Kirgues, co-founder of gener8tor, said since SARP began the rankings, the competition has gotten more difficult each year as more accelerators enter the scene and grow stronger. He has noted a shift toward coastal accelerators in the top of the rankings.

“We believe every year’s rankings are harder to get than the year before, so frankly it’s a big push on our part to make sure that next year we’ll be better than this year, because we can’t take it easy,” Kirgues said. “These other communities, because of the more robust ecosystems they have and venture capital, it’s almost like being told you need to build a million dollar house and on the coasts, you get $300,000 to do that and in the middle of the country, you get $50,000.”

Kirgues said in order to get to the top of the SARP list, gener8tor must continue to strengthen its network and resources.

“We’re grateful to our entrepreneurs, our team, our investors and our community for continuing to distinguish the program and we’re proud to be in such good company,” Kirgues said. “We’re proud to represent two top 25-ranked brands in the middle of the country. Hopefully it speaks to the increasing geographic reach of the program and the increasing collaboration.”

“Competition for the top spots this year was fierce,” the report says. “With so many new programs coming on the scene each year, the pool for the rankings has grown considerably. Given this, snagging a spot anywhere in the top tiers is an honor and a sign of distinction.”

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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