November 25, 2015
The gener8tor accelerator program has been running strong in the Madison, WI startup ecosystem for a while now, and recently they decided to extend the depth of their influence even more. At their semi-annual Premiere Night, they announced a new partnership with the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) so that they can help fuel the growth of startups emerging from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
As it was laid out, WARF will sponsor a pre-seed version of gener8tor’s nationally ranked accelerator program, gBETA, while providing mentorship to up to 15 startups each year. Designed as a free, six-week program, gBETA also provides their participants with access to gener8tor’s network of mentors, customers, and investors. Specifically, all of this was designed to help startups gain early customer traction on their product or idea while establishing metrics that make them competitive applicants for full-time accelerators or angel investments.
“Our mission at WARF is to support researchers and advance groundbreaking research at UW Madison,” says Carrie Thome, Director of Investments at WARF. “Much of that research has tremendous commercial potential, and we support inventors who want to become entrepreneurs.”
gBETA will run three times a year and is capped at five companies per cohort to ensure a high level of individual attention. Participating companies must have at least one team member who is a current student, recent alum, faculty, or staff member at a college or university in the state of Wisconsin.
“Because of WARF’s leadership, gener8tor will more than double the number of companies we work with each year. That will mean more jobs created, more capital raised and more startup success stories out of Wisconsin. This partnership is a real honor for our team, and we’re excited to get to work,” says gBETA’s Director Maggie Brickerman.
According to Troy Vosseller, founder of gener8tor, gBETA was the result of their desire to work with more companies that could leverage the community, network, and experience. At its core, the gener8tor accelerator will always invest in the best startups they can find, but the more organic startup activity they can support in Wisconsin will only help them find the best companies and builds in the local ecosystem.
“Our goal is that many gBETA companies will become strong candidates for gener8tor itself, another accelerator, or jump straight to a seed financing,” says Vosseller.
These efforts will, in turn, allow gener8tor to scale both the number and type of companies that they can work with via their accelerator. Further down the line, Vosseller tells me that their hope is to collaborate with other university and tech transfer partners throughout the country to scale the model further.
“This incremental funding from WARF is specifically earmarked for us to work with more and varied startups. Resources such as wet labs, 3D printers and prototyping equipment will be available to companies on a case-by-case basis. In addition, we will be hosting investor networking events in San Francisco and Chicago for the gBETA startups and alumni so that they can better tap the vast network of 428,257 University of Wisconsin alumni,” says Vosseller.
While a lot of accelerators are moving their focus towards later stage startups, including gener8tor, Vosseller and the team believe there’s a tremendous opportunity to work with more nascent companies at the creation stage. In a sense, they’re literally building the Wisconsin tech ecosystem through gBETA, and setting that strong foundation is crucial in any budding ecosystem.
Image Credit: gener8tor Premiere Night video
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