U of M and gener8tor announce partnership to boost support for U startups


University of Minnesota’s Office for Technology Commercialization (OTC) and seed accelerator and startup fund gener8tor today announced a unique partnership to support University of Minnesota entrepreneurs and early stage startup companies. 

Under the public-private partnership, gener8tor will work with OTC’s Venture Center to administer its Discovery Capital Investment Program, which the University launched in 2014 to provide matching seed capital equity funding for promising University startups. The University of Minnesota arrangement represents gener8tor’s first-ever partnership with a university seed equity program.

gener8tor has a great track record of success in helping validate and scale early-stage companies, and we think this partnership is another innovative step for the U of M,” said Jay Schrankler, executive director of OTC. “Our leadership at the University and the broader Minnesota business community look to us to transform our researchers’ discoveries into companies and useful technologies that contribute to economic growth and the public good. This partnership is an important new arrow in our quiver.” 

gener8tor will also give University startups the opportunity to enroll in its gBETA accelerator, a free, six-week program that provides early-stage Minnesota companies with entrepreneurial curriculum, hands-on mentorship and access to a national network of investors, experienced entrepreneurs, technologists and corporate partners. Modeled after gener8tor’s nationally ranked accelerator for later stage companies, the gBETA program transforms nascent entrepreneurs and startup concepts, particularly those emerging from colleges and universities, into full-fledged startup companies that are poised for market success.   

With funding from American Family Insurance and University of Wisconsin’s technology transfer arm, WARF, gener8tor has already run five successful gBETA program cycles in Wisconsin.

As part of the partnership, gener8tor’s Mark McGuire will serve as Discovery Capital venture executive and Entrepreneur In Residence at the Venture Center, which has developed a range of programs to support University entrepreneurship and helped OTC to spin out more than 100 companies since 2006.  

“We’re excited to build on the University of Minnesota’s successes—there’s great potential in adding gener8tor’s capabilities to the Discovery Capital program to help successfully launch U of M startups,” said McGuire, who was named managing director of gener8tor’s expansion into Minnesota in June. “Our team is rolling up our sleeves and making a long term contribution to the Minnesota startup community, and we think this partnership reflects that commitment.”

“Since our founding in 2012, gener8tor’s mission has been to support and accelerate the growth of founders building great startup companies that have the potential to make a real impact,” says Joe Kirgues, cofounder of gener8tor. “We think there is tremendous potential in world class institutions like the University of Minnesota, and we are thrilled to be working directly with Jay and the rest of the OTC team to help launch world-class startups into the Minnesota ecosystem.”

gener8tor’s inaugural gBETA program in Minnesota kicks off in October and applications are open to Minnesota startup companies through Sept. 30 at www.gbetaaccelerator.com.  The company plans to run its gener8tor accelerator, a three-month-long program that includes an equity investment of up to $140,000 in selected companies, in Minneapolis beginning in early 2017.

About gener8tor

gener8tor (gener8tor.com) is a nationally ranked accelerator that invests in high-growth startups, including software, IT, web, SaaS, e-commerce, hardware and health-tech. The gener8tor accelerator accepts five to six startups in a cohort, each of which receive up to $140K and 12 weeks of mentorship-driven programming. gener8tor also runs gBETA accelerator, a free, six-week program to foster more startup activities in the communities in which it works. 

To date, gener8tor’s 42 accelerator alums have cumulatively raised nearly $100M in follow-on financing. Of these 42 alums, 50% have raised more than $1 million in follow-on financing or have been acquired.

gener8tor is a GOLD-tier accelerator in the US as ranked by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Projectgener8tor is a proud member of the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) and is sponsored by American Family Insurance.

For more information about the U of M Venture Center, visit http://www.research.umn.edu/techcomm/venture-center.html

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