Project Pitch It: AI startup Curate expands into all 50 states

Chief executive officer and co-founder Taralinda Willis and chief technology officer and co-founder Dale Willis founded Curate in 2016.
Chief executive officer and co-founder Taralinda Willis and chief technology officer and co-founder Dale Willis founded Curate in 2016.

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:33 pm

Madison-based Curate Solutions Inc. is wrapping up 2019 with a Madison Chamber of Commerce Innovation Award, a new office and a national footprint.

The chamber recognized Curate in November as the most innovative company in Madison, which was timely given Curate’s recent expansion into all 50 states.

Founded in 2016, Curate developed an artificial intelligence software capable of mining municipal meeting minutes and agendas from communities across the country. That data, organized and presented on a dashboard, supplies companies with insights into how decisions and policy changes in local government impact businesses.

The company was featured on “Project Pitch It” on WISN-TV Channel 12 in March.

In July, Curate completed a $1.65 million seed-plus round, which fueled the company’s push to gather data from thousands of municipalities. Curate now has 15 employees and serves more than 150 clients across the U.S.

Over the summer, the company hired a product manager, added a customer success position and made several strategic hires in the artificial intelligence space, said Taralinda Willis, Curate co-founder and chief executive officer. Curate also moved into a new Madison office, which quadrupled the size of its headquarters.

With a more robust staff and larger footprint, Curate is now focused on retooling how its software distributes and displays data.

“We know that companies who are impacted by these changing ordinances often have a very large focus,” Willis said. “So, we needed to be in all 50 states to support them.”

Companies with a smaller focus would rather have a nuts-and-bolts overview of the conversations taking place in city and village halls, Willis said. However, as Curate retains larger clients who are engaged in business across state lines, the company is developing new data delivery methods to meet their needs.

“If you are looking at 10,000 municipalities, you can’t be engrained with each of those communities,” Willis said. “So we’re making sure that the right issues bubble up.”

As the company grew, Willis realized the extent to which local government influences both citizens and corporate citizens. From property taxes and road maintenance, to how global companies like Airbnb and Uber conduct business locally, municipal governments have a lot of authority, Willis said.

“Municipalities have so much power and, before jumping into this, I didn’t realize all the impact the city you live in (has on) your daily life,” Willis said. “So, it’s pretty much a rule around here that everyone votes in every single municipal election no matter how small.”

Curate
Leadership: Taralinda Willis, CEO and co-founder; Dale Willis, co-founder and CTO
Address: 22 N. Carroll St., Madison
Website: curatesolutions.com
What it does: Automates process of reviewing municipal documents
Founded: 2016

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Brandon covers startups, technology, manufacturing. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.

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