For the past three months, six startups from around the country have been testing their business models and building customer bases with the help of the nationally ranked Milwaukee-based incubator gener8tor.
On Thursday, Nov. 3, their founders will make five-minute pitches before an audience of investors and fellow entrepreneurs at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Milwaukee during an invite-only premiere night.
Twice each year, gener8tor selects five or six startups who apply from around the country to participate in its 12-week accelerator program. While in the program, gener8tor invests up to $140,000 in each participating company and gives them access to its network of mentors, technologists, corporate partners, angel investors and venture capitalists.
Since gener8tor’s core program started in 2012, the organization says its 42 alumni companies have raised more than $100 million in follow-on financing, and more than half of those 42 have received either more than $1 million in follow-on financing or have been acquired.
Here’s a breakdown of the gener8tor class that will make pitches Thursday:
- Exit 7C, a company started by a man named Blessing Egbon who used to own gas stations in North Carolina and Virginia, has created a digital fuel card that allows users to buy gas at certain stations around the country through its mobile app to prevent credit card skimming. The app also aims to give businesses more control over their driver’s spending habits when it comes to refueling and give consumers the ability to compare pricing options. Egbon founded the company after a gas station he owned in North Carolina was the victim of a credit card skimming device in 2015. Exit 7C is based in Milwaukee and is currently live at 63 gas stations.
- Lumanu, also based in Milwaukee, has developed a cloud computing software-as-a-service platform (SaaS) that allows companies, advertising agencies and marketing agencies to find potential brand advocates who could help them execute marketing campaigns. Lumanu currently generates $4,460 of monthly recurring revenue.
- ParqEx is a Chicago-based software company that connects people in densely populated urban areas who own private parking spaces (such as condo owners, nonprofit organizations and local businesses) to drivers willing to rent them through a mobile app. The app currently has more than 6,000 active users, is generating a gross merchandise volume of $24,510 per month and is pulling in a commission revenue of $5,127 per month. The company is growing at a clip of 35 percent month-over-month, according to gener8tor.
- PrettyLitter is an online, direct-to-consumer subscription service based in California that sends users a specific type of cat litter that monitors cat health by changing colors when it detects potential health problems in urine. The company is in the midst of significant growth. PrettyLitter generated $170,294 in revenue in October, an 835 percent month-over-month increase from its revenue in September.
- ThirdPartyTrust is a Chicago-based cloud computing software-as-a-service platform for IT service providers, consultants and contractors that monitors their vulnerability to certain cyber threats. The platform allows providers to create a profile they can show their clients that includes information on security audits, insurance certificates and compliance documents. The platform also calculates a risk score for each vendor that potential clients can see. ThirdPartyTrust has paid beta clients that include Downers Grove, Illinois-based Advocate Health Care and Illinois-based Paylocity, which combined have the potential to generate a recurring contract value of $425,000.
- YachtLife is a mobile app based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that lets users compare prices and book luxury yachts. The app also facilitates yacht sales and receives a commission on purchases. YachtLife has 3,670 downloads, a trailing three-month gross merchandise value of $128,068 and a trailing three-month revenue of $38,420.
Tickets for the event are given by invitation and request.
The event will also highlight COA Youth & Family Centers as a community partner, and gener8tor is encouraging attendees to donate to the nonprofit organization during the event. The American Family Insurance Dreams Foundation will match all donations up to $5,000.