What’s New

Welcome to the gener8tor blog where we’ll discuss issues affecting tech startups, upcoming events, program updates and team perspectives.  Feel free to leave comments and share posts with friends, and most of all – enjoy!

Premiere Night

10th October

gener8tor Premiere Night is coming up Tuesday, October 21 in Milwaukee!

This event is invite only. To request an invite, please email troy@gener8tor.com.


Wisconsin Investment Partners Invests in gener8tor Alumni

2nd April

Wisconsin Investment Partners Invests in gener8tor Alumni

Leading Angel Group Commits $11,000 Investments in each

Company Graduating from gener8tor in 2014


MADISON – Wisconsin Investment Partners (WIP) and gener8tor announce that WIP is committing to invest $11,000 (up to $110,000 in all) in each startup emerging from the gener8tor Winter and gener8tor Summer programs in 2014.

Said WIP Co-Manager Andy Shrago, “We’re excited to join with gener8tor in investing in the great companies emerging from their accelerator programs.” Added gener8tor co-founder Troy Vosseller, “we are thrilled to partner with one of Wisconsin’s most prestigious angel groups by jointly investing in some of the region’s best startups.” WIP joins Angels on the Water and gener8tor in bringing the total amount of guaranteed follow-on funding available to companies emerging from the gener8tor program to $70,000 per company.

WIP and gener8tor will announce … Read More »

CEO & Co-Founder of Nordic to Keynote gener8tor Premiere Night

25th March

CEO & Co-Founder of Nordic to Keynote gener8tor Premiere Night

Healthcare IT Expert and Entrepreneur Mark Bakken to Headline Startup Event


MADISON – Nationally recognized healthcare IT expert and entrepreneur, Mark Bakken, will keynote gener8tor’s Premiere Night event April 3, as five startup companies pitch their businesses to potential investors.

The event will feature companies that have completed gener8tor’s Madison Winter 2014 accelerator program, which provides funding, mentorship, and training for high-tech entrepreneurs. The program culminates with a Premiere Night event where each entrepreneur pitches their company to an audience of potential investors.

Bakken, who is the CEO & Co-Founder of Nordic, will speak from his entrepreneurial experience as the keynote speaker for the event. Mark is an experienced IT executive and seasoned entrepreneur with more than 20 years of IT consulting experience. As Nordic’s co-founder, he combined his passion for … Read More »

Brian Wiegand to Keynote gener8tor Launch Day

22nd August

Brian Wiegand to Keynote gener8tor Launch Day
Successful Serial Entrepreneur who Successfully Started and Sold Three Internet Startups 

MILWAUKEE – Brian Wiegand will keynote gener8tor’s Launch Day event on August 29, as five local startup companies pitch their businesses to potential investors.

The event will feature companies that have completed gener8tor’s summer accelerator program in Milwaukee, which provides funding, mentorship, and training for high-tech entrepreneurs. The program culminates with a Launch Day event where each entrepreneur pitches their company to an audience of potential investors.

Brian was born in Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His first startup was BizFilings, which he co-founded in 1996. As the company’s President and CEO, he bootstrapped BizFilings from a concept into the internet’s leading incorporation services company. In 2002, he led and negotiated the private sale of the company to the global publishing company Wolters Kluwer.

Brian … Read More »

Learning from Experience

24th June

The best way to learn about developing and growing your startup is to learn from the people who have already done it.  We’ve been busy at gener8tor doing just that: developing connections, sharing learned experience and getting one-on-one advice from some start-up gurus.

Dale Emmons spoke in Madison about his experience founding his company Vidmaker; a social video platform where anyone can create video and share it everywhere.

We attended Chicago’s Founder’s Institute graduation discussion, focusing on how to succeed after leaving an accelerator program.

Brian Curliss, co-founder of Slidefox and current member of the gener8tor summer program gave his expert insight in SEO and growth marketing at our Milwaukee Meetup. (See our blog post on June 20th for more information.)

Brad Feld “hung out” with us via … Read More »

14 Tools You Can Use To Grow Your Startup

21st June

This is a guest post by Jon Hainstock. Jon Hainstock is the co-founder of ZoomShift, simple employee scheduling software for small businesses.

There are thousands of resources online that can help build your startup. Over the years we’ve tried out tons of tools to help build our company. From coding, to marketing, to internal communication–there are a plethora of tools you need in your arsenal to get the job done everyday.

Here are the top 14 that we rely on everyday to help grow our startup.

1. Building Stuff – Coda

If you want to build your MVP, you are going to need a solid text editor. You’ll want something that you feel comfortable in for long periods of time–like your favorite t-shirt. We use Coda because we love the interface and the simplicity of the app. … Read More »

Local Entrepreneurs to Pitch Their Startups at gener8tor Launch Event

4th April

Graduates from the gener8tor startup accelerator program will pitch their companies to an audience of investors and fellow entrepreneurs April 4, at gener8tor’s Launch Day event in Madison.

gener8tor, a Wisconsin-based business accelerator program, began investing its capital, expertise, mentorship and network connections into six high-tech startups founded by local entrepreneurs in January as a part of a three-month winter accelerator program.

The program culminates in the Launch Day event, where the six gener8tor companies present a five-minute pitch in front of an audience of investors, entrepreneurs, customers and community members.

The event will also feature a keynote by Dan Neely, CEO and Founder of Networked Insights, a social analytics company designed to help brands increase revenue by developing more efficient marketing techniques. Neely launched Networked Insights in 2006 and has since become a nationally recognized social analytics expert.

The companies to be featured … Read More »

gener8tor Partners with Northeast Wisconsin Angel Fund: Startups Receive Funds

2nd April

Angels on the Water, a Northeast Wisconsin-based angel investment group, and gener8tor, Wisconsin’s premier startup accelerator, announced a new working relationship today. Angels on the Water will regularly invest in graduates of gener8tor’s accelerator program, beginning with the class graduating April 4 in Madison.

Angels on the Water is Northeastern Wisconsin’s only angel investment fund that provides seed funding to help highly innovative Wisconsin entrepreneurs launch new companies (www.angelsonthewater.com). Angels on the Water Chairman, Al Hartman, noted that “All of us at Angels on the Water are excited about working with gener8tor to support promising Wisconsin high impact entrepreneurs from across the state.” Angels on the Water Investment Advisor Paul Jones added “This latest class of gener8tor graduates confirms for us that gener8tor will be a regular source of great seed stage investment opportunities, and thus an organization we want to work closely … Read More »

gener8tor, Forward Technology Festival, Capital Entrepreneurs to host Launch Day After-Party Sponsored by Venture Investors

29th March

Following a launch event to highlight new local startup companies April 4, gener8tor, Forward Technology Festival and Capital Entrepreneurs plan to host an after-party sponsored by Venture Investors.

The Launch Day event will feature companies that have completed gener8tor’s winter accelerator program, which provides funding, mentorship, and training for high-tech entrepreneurs. The program culminates with a Launch Day event where each entrepreneur pitches their company to an audience of potential investors.

Following the event, gener8tor will team up with Forward Technology Festival and Capital Entrepreneurs to host an after-party sponsored by Venture Investors aimed at celebrating and supporting entrepreneurship in Wisconsin. Both Forward Technology Festival and Capital Entrepreneurs are community-based organizations dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs. Venture Investors is a premier, Madison-based seed and early stage venture capital firm.

The after-party will begin immediately following the Launch Day event on April 4 at 8:00 … Read More »

CEO & Founder of Networked Insights to Keynote gener8tor Launch Day

28th March

Nationally recognized social analytics expert and entrepreneur, Dan Neely, will keynote gener8tor’s Launch Day event April 4, as six local startup companies pitch their businesses to potential investors.

The event will feature companies that have completed gener8tor’s winter accelerator program, which provides funding, mentorship, and training for high-tech entrepreneurs. The program culminates with a Launch Day event where each entrepreneur pitches their company to an audience of potential investors.

Neely, who is the CEO & Founder of Networked Insights, will speak from his entrepreneurial experience as the keynote speaker for the event. Neely launched his social analytics company in 2006, and has since become an expert in understanding the challenges companies face in gathering relevant, real-time insights about their customers. He has worked with well-known companies like Kraft, MillerCoors, Samsung and MTV. In 2012, Fast Company named Networked Insights one of world’s … Read More »

Celebrating 2012 and gaining momentum in 2013

11th February

At One-Year Anniversary, Wisconsin Startup Accelerator Gears Up for 2013
gener8tor celebrates one-year anniversary of mentorship-driven investment program

Milwaukee, Wis – Local entrepreneurs interested in taking their business idea to the next level have a chance to join gener8tor’s Summer 2013 class as Wisconsin’s premier startup accelerator reaches its one-year anniversary.

Modeled after TechStars, gener8tor invests its community, capital, expertise, mentorship and network into capable entrepreneurs to help create successful, scalable companies. gener8tor operates two, twelve-week programs per year, alternating between its Madison and Milwaukee offices. The Summer 2012 class operated out of gener8tor’s Milwaukee office, while the current Winter 2013 class is being operated out of the accelerator’s Madison office.

The program launched in February of 2012 and has invested in thirteen companies to date across two classes. Those companies have gone on to raise over $3 million in outside, … Read More »

gener8tor Portfolio Companies Raise Over $2.5 Million in Private Investment

27th November

MILWAUKEE-­‐ November 20, 2012 – gener8tor, a Wisconsin­‐based accelerator program, today announced that its portfolio companies have obtained investments or investment commitments of more than $2.5 million from private investors. gener8tor anticipates that these investments will lead to the creation of over twenty full-­‐time jobs in Wisconsin with the potential for many more as the companies grow.

Said gener8tor co­‐founder Troy Vosseller, “We’re proud to have been the initial investor in these great companies that have raised significant amounts from investors including local and regional angel groups, venture capital firms and individual investors from around the country.” Vosseller added that “we know these companies will continue to enjoy great success as they use this capital as a foundation for future growth.”

gener8tor is now accepting applications for its Winter Program, which will be headquartered in the heart of Madison at their office … Read More »

Don’t miss our Meetup October 23rd!

12th October

Come meet the gener8tor Founding team as we set the stage for Startup Weekend (November 9th) and present the plan for our winter program.

What: Casual get-together with some munchies and beverages
When: Tuesday, October 23rd, 5:30-7:00 (or so)
Where: Milwaukee Ale House, 233 N Water St., Milwaukee
Who: gener8tor founders, entrepreneurs, investors or anyone else interested in supporting the entrepreneurial spirit
How: RSVP on Meetup (you should follow us there, too)… http://www.meetup.com/gener8tor/

Team gener8tor 


gener8tor’s YouTube Channel is up.

17th September

We’ve opened up our YouTube channel and have added some footage of the gener8tor Summer 2012 Launch Day event.

Nothing’s better than seeing the gener8tor class kickin’ butt.  We also had a great audience of investors, entrepreneurs, & supporters in the tent.  Great party, for sure.
Check ’em out!

Keep an eye on our channel, we’ll add events and footage as they happen.


Getting ready for Winter 2012 applications…

15th September

We’re in the process of settling on dates for the next batch of gener8tor companies.  Looks like the deadline for applications will be near the end of the year – and that will come up fast.

We’ll post information on the exact schedule as we nail it down for the Winter 2012 program.

In the mean time, get yourselves ready… gener8tor is building a reputation fast, and we’re confident we’ll see lots of great Wisconsin entrepreneurs in this new cycle!  We’re really pumped about the buzz around our launch (see http://bit.ly/NsLoQY) and Madison is gearing up for our Launch Day there.  We’re also very proud of our companies – they’re doing great things and getting support from the investor community!


Awesome gener8tor Launch Day!

29th August

Thanks to everyone involved for making the gener8tor Summer 2012 Launch Day a huge success!

After a few bites to eat and a drink or two, Dan Armbrust took the stage with Mike Cudahy for an interesting conversation on entrepreneurship.  Then the gener8tor companies took the stage – by storm – and showed how it’s done.  We’re proud!

Read about it here:  http://bit.ly/NsLoQY

gener8tor Joins Global Accelerator Network, Partners with American Family Insurance

23rd August

MILWAUKEE – gener8tor, a Wisconsin-based seed accelerator program, recently joined the most prestigious network of international seed-stage accelerators known as the.Global Accelerator Network.

Modeled after TechStars in Boulder, CO, gener8tor offers entrepreneurs capital investment, mentoring and access to the program’s network, expertise and community.

The Global Accelerator Network was created in 2010 alongside the White House’s Startup America Initiative with the goal of increasing the success rate among young entrepreneurs worldwide and providing support and collaboration for business accelerators worldwide. It consists of a network of independently owned organizations that utilize a mentorship-based startup accelerator model like gener8tor. Members of the Global Accelerator Network enjoy global networking opportunities, training, support and other special perks.

“We have watched the growth of gener8tor for some time and are extremely happy to invite the organization to join the Global Accelerator Network,” said Patrick Riley, Executive Director … Read More »

Multiplier Effect

25th April

Division and multiplication happen every day in every community.  The great communities have lots of multipliers and fewer dividers, the awful ones reverse and lots of mediocre happens in the middle. At gener8tor, we celebrate one of the most powerful multipliers in any community: the entrepreneurs.   These people—and lack of them—can define a community’s identity for generations and yet very little is said or done to encourage them in the pursuit of their goals.

If you’re wondering what the multiplier effect is like on the ground level, go talk with an entrepreneur.  You can pick just about any topic and they’ll start seeing opportunity.  My favorite personal example is grocery store expiration management: who would have thought there was an opportunity for a business model based around the relatively fast or slow pace of food expiration on grocery store shelves that wasn’t already chewed up by big IT companies? But check out DateCheckPro … Read More »

Gener8tor Rolling Application Deadline: May 7, 2012!

23rd April

Gener8tor is announcing the close of its rolling application window for the Summer 2012 Class on May 7, 2012.   In order to better serve our applicants, Gener8tor is notifying applicants as their applications are reviewed and vetted.  Applicants and potential applicants are encouraged to contact Joel Abraham (Joel@Gener8tor.com) with any questions.

Introduction to gener8tor

11th March

We’re excited to introduce gener8tor as the culmination of a lot of work in putting together an ecosystem to build scalable, innovative startups in Wisconsin.  gener8tor’s work began with its founding team members from Granite MEDSystems and 94labs.  Together we’ve worked with dozens of startups and learned first hand what differentiates the winners from the losers and how to become one over the other.  What we want for gener8tor is quite simple: to win.  And for us to win, we need our startups to win.

Our customers at gener8tor are the entrepreneurs and investors.  Our goal is to put them together in a way that drives value for both.  And we want it to be sustainable.

For Granite, it began thirty-years ago with two entrepreneurs, two filing cabinets and a door for a desk.  Today it’s a global operation that has provided … Read More »