With Brandery Tie-Up, Gener8tor Continues Expansion Across Heartland

Gener8tor plans to hold its first entrepreneurial training programs in Ohio later this year, marking the latest step in the Wisconsin-based organization’s regional expansion.

Launched in 2012, Gener8tor helps startup companies with things like pitching their products, adding users and customers, and raising money from investors. Gener8tor itself invests in and takes equity stakes in some of the startups with which it works. It also runs equity-free accelerator programs for companies with local roots.

Gener8tor said Wednesday it has partnered with Cincinnati-based Brandery—which runs a for-equity accelerator similar to Gener8tor’s—to co-manage the program. The two organizations plan to hold their first for-equity program together later this year, says Joe Kirgues, one of Gener8tor’s co-founders.

Kirgues says Gener8tor also plans to begin running gBETA, its seven-week, equity-free accelerator, in Cincinnati. The plan is for that program, which Brandery will also help organize, to enroll its first class by the end of 2018, he says.

The latest announcement from Gener8tor on its Midwest expansion follows news that the accelerator has started holding programs in Detroit, and will soon begin doing so in Indianapolis. The organization has also put on programs in several cities in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

With its core, for-equity accelerator, Gener8tor and it backers provide participating companies with $20,000 in cash at the start of the 12-week program, in exchange for an ownership stake of 6 percent to 7 percent. Participants are guaranteed a follow-on investment of at lest $70,000 in the form of an uncapped convertible note. Gener8tor says the startups in its portfolio have together raised more than $150 million in follow-on financing.

Brandery’s accelerator has slightly different terms. According to Brandery’s website, the program lasts 16 weeks and the organization invests $50,000 in each participating startup, in exchange for a 6 percent equity stake. Like Gener8tor, participants receive free office space and other perks, including pro-bono legal services.

Kirgues says Gener8tor and Brandery will announce specific financial terms and other details of their inaugural partnered program in the next few months.

“We’re investing around the same terms and valuations,” Kirgues says, in reference to his organization and Brandery. “We’re substantially more similar than we are apart.”

The two organizations are currently raising a fund from investors, Kirgues says, which Brandery and Gener8tor will use to support program participants and pay for overhead expenses.

Beyond program length and the amount of guaranteed cash, another difference between the two accelerators is that Gener8tor is industry-agnostic, whereas Brandery focuses on sectors such as retail, consumer packaged goods, subscription services, and advertising. The Fortune 500 businesses headquartered in Cincinnati include Procter and Gamble (NYSE: PG), Macy’s (NYSE: M), and Kroger (NYSE: KR).

Jeff Boeh, who ran Brandery’s 2017 accelerator, will manage this year’s program, the organization says. According to his LinkedIn profile, Boeh previously worked at the Iron Yard, which taught computer programming to novices. Iron Yard shut down operations last year.

Jeff Buchanan is the editor of Xconomy Wisconsin. Email: jbuchanan@xconomy.com Follow @_jeffbuchanan

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