Hometown accelerator event this week will celebrate 10 years of innovation

In partnership with Forward Fest, gener8tor will toast its decade of growth into one of the largest accelerators in the world.
gener8tor 10 year anniversary logo.
Photo courtesy of gener8tor
The 10th Anniversary celebration is part of Forward Fest on Aug. 18 at the Great Hall in the Memorial Union.

It started in our own backyard with the goal to create Wisconsin’s next set of community leaders by investing in promising entrepreneurs. In the 10 years since, gener8tor has grown into a nationally-ranked venture capital firm with accelerator programs in 41 communities across 22 states and two countries, and participating startups have secured more than $1.2 billion in funding. This week, gener8tor will celebrate its 10th anniversary at a Forward Festival event that brings together founders, investors, innovators and corporate partners for a night of drinks, appetizers and live music. The event will take place on Thurs. Aug. 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Memorial Union’s Great Hall.

“We have seen firsthand the potential of Wisconsin’s best and brightest, who, with a little bit of investment, have created some of the state’s most successful new companies,” said co-founder Joe Kirgues in a news release last week.

Today, gener8tor has 140 full-time employees overseeing more than 90 programs and conferences for startups, artists, musicians, corporations and job seekers. 

It’s been a remarkable decade — but, even in its first year alone, gener8tor invested in 13 startups that raised more than $3 million in private capital at the time. gener8tor’s initial programs launched in Madison and Milwaukee and have continued to fuel entrepreneurship in Wisconsin. To date, gener8tor has shepherded 938 startups through accelerator programs, resulting in acquisitions of 34 companies — making gener8tor one of the largest such accelerators in the world, according to the release. 

“We wanted to invest in people and their ideas right in our own backyard, bringing to life our region’s entrepreneurial spirit and showing the country that Wisconsin was far more than just a
flyover state, but a place of ideas and innovation,” said co-founder Troy Vosseller. “We built gener8tor on a core belief that entrepreneurs can build their companies no matter who they are
or where they live.”

According to the release, the anniversary event will focus on gener8tor’s impact and growth over the past decade through conversations from alums of the recent Madison and Milwaukee accelerator programs. Attendees will learn about gener8tor’s history through an immersive and interactive gallery experience. Some notable alumni and early startup graduates include the founders of EatStreet, Curate, Allergy Amulet, Cultured Decadence, PrettyLitter, GrocerKey, Rentable, and Bright Cellars. Thursday’s event will also highlight gener8tor’s mission and commitment to investing across race, place and gender. 

The anniversary celebration will take place in collaboration with Forward Fest, Wisconsin’s largest technology and entrepreneurship event. Each year, the festival attracts more than 5,000 attendees for more than 30 events over five days every August.  

Through the partnership, gener8tor and Forward Fest continue to support each other’s growth. “Forward Fest and gener8tor share a common goal to sync up startup and entrepreneurial communities for learning, sharing, collaborating, and growing from one another while also providing opportunities to interact with professionals, investors and corporations across a wide range of industries and through a variety of initiatives,” said Hilary Stohs-Krause, Forward Festival spokesperson. “Most importantly, our doors are open to everyone as we believe that each person deserves equal access to put their ideas and innovation in motion.”

RSVP for the event here.

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