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Tech and Biotech: More than 500 startups apply to gener8tor; Epic Systems wins notch on Fast Company list

Tech and Biotech: More than 500 startups apply to gener8tor; Epic Systems wins notch on Fast Company list

gener8tor premiere night

Premiere Night for gener8tor's class of startups last May turned into a celebration of entrepreneurship at the Barrymore Theatre.  

Gener8tor welcomed its latest class Friday with five young companies in tow, mostly from Madison, but one from as far as New York.

The small but well-known accelerator program, with offices in Madison and Milwaukee, drew 544 applications.

“This was our largest applicant pool ever, and represents an acceptance rate of less than 1 percent,” gener8tor co-founder Troy Vosseller said.

Teams that made the cut are:

  • 23VIVI, Madison: An online marketplace for rare and limited edition fine art and digital fine art.
  • Allergy Amulet, Boston and Madison: A disposable test strip that plugs into jewelry and can detect foods that cause an allergic reaction from the user.
  •, New York: Diagnostic software to help health care workers identify diseases.
  • DATTUS, Indianapolis: Sensors that can help industries improve their efficiency.
  • Exis, Madison: Technology to improve the efficiency of writing computer code.

23VIVI and Exis were created by UW-Madison students and are graduates of gener8tor’s six-week gBETA class that ended in December — a mentorship program for very-early-stage businesses.

“We are especially excited about this group because it boasts tremendous talent stemming from university campuses,” gener8tor program manager Abby Taubner said.

Gener8tor provides its startups with an initial $20,000 cash investment in return for equity plus another $70,000 in convertible notes.

Each session is 12 weeks long, and programs rotate between Madison and Milwaukee.

The current session will be held in Madison, based at gener8tor’s offices at 30 W. Mifflin St.

Gener8tor also has raised another $1.5 million, gener8tor fund 3, to help cover the costs of its operations and investments. Investors were not immediately disclosed.

Since it was established in 2012, gener8tor has graduated 38 young companies that have gone on to raise $75 million on their own and to create more than 400 jobs, the program says.

Epic gets salute

for sabbaticals

Epic Systems Corp. is getting a shoutout from Fast Company.

The publication includes Epic on a list of 20 companies with “the best employee benefits and perks.”

The Verona electronic health records company is No. 16, for offering employees “a paid four-week sabbatical to pursue their creative talents” after five years at the company.

Fast Company gives Epic a 4.3 rating, out of a possible five points, for overall benefits.

Netflix was No. 1 on the list for offering new parents — moms and dads — one year of paid leave and an option to return part-time.

Some of the other noteworthy perks that drew Fast Company’s admiration include:

  • Airbnb gives workers $2,000 a year to travel and stay in an Airbnb anywhere in the world.
  • Burton, a snowboarding equipment company, gives employees season ski passes and “snow days” off to hit the slopes after a big snowfall.
  • PwC offers $1,200 a year to help employees pay student loan debts.
  • Google gives the spouse or partner of an employee who dies 50 percent of the employee’s salary for the next 10 years.
  • Accenture covers gender reassignment for employees.

The Fast Company article cited research from Glassdoor that shows 57 percent of those surveyed said benefits and perks are among their main considerations when they mull a job offer.

Contact Judy Newman at with tips and story suggestions.


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