Hundreds attend launch party for five new companies

By Kathleen Gallagher of the Journal Sentinel

More than 400 people, including about 100 financiers, attended a launch party for five new companies at Turner Hall Thursday night.

“The quality of this class on an overall basis is probably the best they’ve had,” said Don Layden, operating partner at Baird Venture Partners.

The companies were in the third class run by Gener8tor, a for-profit group formed in 2012 that helps start-ups identify customers and accelerate their growth. Among the crowd were financiers from other parts of the Midwest and California, said Joe Kirgues, a co-founder.

Gener8tor expects the five companies to raise a record amount of funding out of this summer’s program, Kirgues said. For example,, a Milwaukee company that provides resources for developers working on health-related apps, has already raised nearly $500,000 of a larger funding round before going on stage Thursday night, he said.

“Some of these companies are breaking capital and revenue milestone records within the program and we’re excited to see them continue to create jobs going forward,” Kirgues said.

The other companies that made presentations were: docalytics, Maillift, and Optyn.

via Hundreds attend launch party for five new companies.

Gener8tor startup launch attracts CA venture capitalists

Local startup accelerator program Gener8tor continues to make a name for itself outside the state.

Venture capitalists from around the Midwest and as far away as California attended Gener8tor’s startup launch event Thursday evening at Turner Hall Ballroom in downtown Milwaukee, where startups that just graduated from Gener8tor’s summer program in Milwaukee pitched their companies to potential investors.

“People are looking to bring their capital to Wisconsin,” Gener8tor co-founder Joe Kirgues told me.

Three of the startups that participated in Gener8tor’s 12-week summer boot camp in Milwaukee also came from outside of the state, which supporters said shows the one-year-old organization is getting noticed.

Read the complete article at  The Business Journal.

Space for startups for rent at Thirsty Boy

Third Ward, Riverwalk office sublet: 1,000 sq. ft. beam and brick with hardwood floors. Multiple workstations (no cubes), enclosed office, conference room, bathroom. Access to full kitchen and additional conference room overlooking Water Street. Utilities, high-speed internet and furnishing included. $2,250/mo, minimum 6 mos. commitment.

See photos and more at Startup Milwaukee • Space for startups for rent at Thirsty Boy.

Steininger to discuss innovation for businesses

The Waukesha County Business Alliance will host a program on Thursday, Sept. 5, on “Innovate or Die: The Secret of Driving Revenue Through Innovation,” to be presented by Dan Steininger, president and co-founder of BizStarts Milwaukee.

Steininger writes a column on innovation for BizTimes.

Attendees will learn about the importance of innovation as a source of new revenue and how to drive innovation at their own companies.

The Alliance Breakfast Club is a monthly program of the Waukesha County Business Alliance which features time for networking along with a speaker. The Sept. 5 program will take place at Country Springs Hotel at 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee, from 7 to 9 a.m. The program costs $25 for members of the Waukesha County Business Alliance and $40 for non-members.

Visit to register.

via BizTimes: Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin Business News | BizTimes.

It is happening here

by Paul Jones

Last spring I wrote a blog with the headline, “Maybe It Can Happen Here,” touting a Wisconsin high impact business accelerator’s Launch Day for their Winter 2013 class of startups. The folks at gener8tor are at it again; Launch Day for the Summer 2013 class is coming up this Thursday in Milwaukee. With this class the headline needs a bit of tweaking because with another great class of “ready for primetime” entrepreneurs, gener8tor has gone beyond showing what might happen here in Wisconsin, they have established that it is happening here; that Wisconsin can create startups on a par with their competitors in places like Silicon Valley and that Wisconsin can recruit competitive deals to Wisconsin from well outside the state.

Read the rest at

Recruiting young talent away from the Silicon Valley limelight and into…Milwaukee? | PandoDaily

The Midwest startup scene is like the little engine that could, and it’s chugging slowly and steadily up that mountain towards minted money. Perhaps someday soon it’ll get its own moniker to rival New York’s Silicon Alley and SoCal’s Silicon Beach. Silicon Prairie anyone? Times they are a’changing, what with Utah’s entrepreneurial Mormons, Detroit’s downtown tech revitalization, and Chicago’s startup ecosystem.

With the creeping growth of the Midwest tech industry, startups that set up shop in these places have to face a perennial question: how to recruit young talent away from the limelight, and into the middle of the country? I talked to five different entrepreneurs from Milwaukee to Detroit, and they all said that recruiting is getting easier, competition for hiring is less stiff than in Silicon Valley, and the talent pool is larger than you’d think.

via Recruiting young talent away from the Silicon Valley limelight and into…Milwaukee? | PandoDaily.

Gener8tor seeks tech experts with Wisconsin ties to back ventures

Joe Kirgues, co-founder of the gener8tor start-up accelerator, cold contacts 40 people each month with this uncommon request:

Would you be willing to help grow the number of start-ups in Wisconsin by helping us vet technologies, becoming a mentor, or investing in some of our young companies?

Joel Abraham, Jon Eckhardt and Troy Vosseler — also high-level gener8tor team members — all have the same monthly goal. Combined, they reach out to 160 people a month and have followup conversations with more than half of them, Kirgues said.

The result is a growing list of top-notch entrepreneurs and technologists, many of whom live on the coasts, who have an affinity for Wisconsin and a desire to help. That’s a critical advantage for a state that is currently on the fringes of the digital revolution, but has the talent to catch up.

Read the rest at JSOnline.

Milwaukee startup Quietyme closes $300,000 financing round

Quietyme Inc., a Milwaukee startup that graduated Gener8tor’s accelerator program last winter, has raised $300,000 in its second round of early-stage funding, the company said Wednesday.

Quietyme provides hospitals, hotels and property owners with real-time monitoring services that measure the quality of indoor environments, such as noise, temperature and humidity levels, and water leaks.

It initially received a $20,000 investment from Gener8tor in October 2012, said Drew Hart, Quietyme chief marketing officer. Gener8tor has offices in Milwaukee and Madison and provides seed funding and a program to help grow early-stage companies. Quietyme graduated Gener8tor’s winter class in Madison.

Read the rest >>  Milwaukee – The Business Journal.

Vetransfer Accepting Applications for Fall 2013 Class!

A year and half ago Vetransfer began as the first Global Accelerator Network GAN member in Wisconsin. Vetransfer is now accepting applications for its third cohort. The Fall accelerator class will focus on Wisconsin Veteran-led early- to mid-stage startups. The program begins the week of September 16, 2013.

Vetransfer will provide training in the Customer Development Methodology pioneered by Vietnam Veteran Steve Blank, access to mentors, and seed capital of $15,000. In addition, as part of the GAN, each startup will have access to over $500,000 in perks and discounts for products and services from global firms. Vetransfer will work with five startups over 12-weeks to help them identify customers and grow their business. Most importantly, the startups will develop the skills and learn the processes for starting and growing businesses in the 21st Century.

The Fall Class with be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin “Vetransfer’s two previous classes assisted 24 Veteran-led startups who have raised a combined $1.4 million dollars in total capital,” said Nick Wichert, Vetransfer’s co-founder and Managing Director.

Vetransfer is a nationally recognized accelerator exclusively for U.S. Military Veteran-led startups and has been recognized around the world for its innovative methods of starting businesses and growing businesses.

via Vetransfer Accepting Applications for Fall 2013 Class! | Global Entrepreneurship Collective.

Madison, Milwaukee decline in measure of tech start-ups

Madison and Milwaukee metro areas declined in terms of high-tech start-up density over the last decade, according to a new report issued by the Kauffman Foundation, one of the country’s key entrepreneurship analysis and support organizations.

The report, called “Tech Starts: High-Technology Business Formation and Job Creation in the United States,” measured start-up density by comparing 384 metropolitan areas in the United States in 2010, the latest year the data are available.

Madison had a score of 1.0 for high-tech start-up density in 2010, meaning it matched the average for the entire U.S. That was down from 1.4 in 1990.

Milwaukee had a score of 0.6 in 2010, down from 1.0 in 1990.

Boulder, Colo., was the top metro area in the country for start-up density, with a score of 6.3, the report said. Next were the Fort Collins-Loveland, Colo., Silicon Valley, Boston and Seattle metro areas.

The declines for Wisconsin’s two biggest cities “reflect the lack of a statewide economic development plan,” said Tom Hefty, former chief executive of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Wisconsin.

Read the rest via JSOnline – Madison, Milwaukee decline in measure of tech start-ups.