Wisconsin-based startup accelerator plants flag in Indy

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Gener8tor—a business accelerator based in Wisconsin that invests in high-growth startups—announced on Monday that it is expanding into Indianapolis, starting with the launch of a free coaching and mentorship program this spring.

Accelerators give upstart companies access to mentors, investors and other support that help them become stable, thriving businesses. In keeping with its strategy in entering new markets, Gener8tor initially will make its mark in Indianapolis by launching the gBETA program, through which five Indiana startups will participate in a free, seven-week program. The firms will receive office space at the Massala Building on Massachusetts Avenue and receive individualized coaching, as well as access to Gener8tor’s national network of mentors, potential customers, corporate partners and investors.

IBJ reported last year that Madison-based Gener8tor was considering entering the Indianapolis market. It uses the gBETA program to prep early-stage companies that might be candidates later to apply for Gener8tor or other accelerators.

Gener8tor was founded in 2012. Three times a year it takes five high-growth startups (out of 700-plus applications) and invests $140,000 in each. The participating companies complete a 12-week program, and are connected to mentors, technologists, venture capitalists and more.

Gener8tor's more than 50 alumni companies have cumulatively raised more than $110 million in follow-on financing and employ more than 1,500 people. In addition to Madison, Gener8tor has locations in Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

In last year's IBJ story, Gener8tor co-founded Maggie Brickerman said: "We like to start with gBETA in a market … to prove we can walk, talk and chew gum, and make sure there is support within the ecosystem for raising a fund and doing the full accelerator. Provided that support exists once we get gBETA up and running, we would be very excited about the possibility of bringing the full Gener8tor program to Indy."

The first class of startups in the gBETA Indy program is scheduled to run from April 29 to June 14. After the initial rollout, Gener8tor plans to expand gBETA Indy to two or three times per year, with up to five companies participating each time. Gener8tor and gBETA have worked with companies from numerous industries, including technology, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, medical devices and consumer goods.
Indianapolis-based Dattus, which was founded by entrepreneurs at Purdue University, was selected for Gener8tor’s 12-week accelerator program in Wisconsin in 2016. The company provides internet-of-things solutions to manufacturers, helping them streamline operations through data collection, aggregation, visualization and analytics. Since participating in the program, Dattus has attracted new investors and expanded.
“Ever since investing in Indiana-based Dattus in 2016, we have been interested in becoming a bigger part of the state’s startup ecosystem,” gBETA Managing Director Abby Taubner said in a statement..

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. said it is providing up to $70,000 to gBETA to help cover costs associated with its initial launch.

The deadline to apply for the gBETA Indy program is April 6. Startups or individuals interested in applying, becoming mentors or getting involved in other ways should contact Chelsea Linder, director of gBETA Indy, at chelsea@gener8tor.com. For more information or to apply, visit www.gbetaaccelerator.com.

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