3 founders share the value of gener8tor’s gBETA startup accelerator
The second Indianapolis cohort of gBETA (Fall 2018) is underway and five more early-stage Indiana tech companies have been selected to participate in the free, no fees and no equity startup accelerator. gBETA Indy is one of 11 early-stage accelerators in select cities affiliated with the nationally ranked accelerator gener8tor, which works with high-growth stage startups.
The gBETA program is designed to help early-stage startups gain early customer traction on their product or idea, and establish metrics that make them competitive applicants for full-time, equity-based accelerators or seed investment.
The companies selected for the new cohort are Encamp, Little Nugget, smileML, The Bee Corp, and ThickStat. Of note, Ellie Symes, founder and CEO of The Bee Corp, received the Rising Star award during TechPoint’s “Best of Tech” Mira Awards gala in May. More details on the new gBETA Fall 2018 cohort are included at the bottom of this page.
As gener8tor’s gBETA Indy advances into new cohort classes and TechStars moves to set up two new accelerators in Indy — plus High Alpha entering its new chapter and more — it’s worth asking about the value Indy startups get out of working with an accelerator like gBETA. Specifically, we spoke to three of gBETA’s first cohort founders for insights.
What value does the gBETA accelerator offer?
According to the founding team at SnapShyft, they were “bathed in mentorship and networking opportunities” that led to interactions with the highest caliber individuals who were willing to provide guidance that has had a real impact.
“From a purely relational standpoint, we would have been hard pressed to cultivate these relationships on our own,” said Thor Wood, founder and CEO of SnapShyft. “Essentially, gBETA and gener8tor took the time to truly understand our business, our target market, our successes — most importantly our weaknesses — and in turn curated our experience with individuals who possessed the ability and willingness to become our mentors. We exited gBETA a better, more well equipped company.”
In a recent interview, Thor confirmed that SnapShyft is preparing to expand beyond Indianapolis and enter four new markets by year’s end. You can read more about the company in our feature story.
Christine McDonnell, co-founder and CEO of Codelicious, noted that what she coined “the mentor swarms” really helped to forge connections with resources that provided spot-on advice and services extremely valuable to a start-up. The gBETA network reached both within and beyond the borders of Indiana, helping Codelicious increase awareness and recognition on a national level.
It was the weekly meetings with Chelsea Linder, gener8tor’s gBeta Indy director, and the gBeta extended team that was specifically transformative for Christine and Codelicious. “Those meetings created a specific time frame for me to focus on the business of Codelicious as opposed to always being in the business of Codelicious,” Christine said. “The timing was great as we prepared Codelicious for the scale and growth that we are experiencing now.”
Since graduating from gBETA in June, Codelicious closed a seed round of $940,000. Earlier this spring, Codelicious received the 2018 Tech Service of the Year Mira Award for its SaaS platform that is transforming the way elementary and middle school educators teach students how to code.
Christine also noted that going through gBETA with a cohort was incredibly valuable as each of the participating companies had their own rich experiences, providing valuable insights on their own path to progress. Additionally, the gBETA network reached both within and beyond the borders of Indiana, helping Codelicious increase awareness and recognition on a national level.
Making a go of it with a startup is hard and the odds are stacked against you. Half of all startups are out-of-business before five years and only 25 percent make it to 15 years (Source: SBA). Wes Winham, founder and CEO at Woven, however, believes that the community and connections fostered through participating in the gBETA program give him and his team a much better chance of success.
“The biggest value I got out of gBeta was community and connections,” said Wes. “gBeta introduced us to dozens of experts in very specific areas. For example, whether it’s a question about fundraising minutiae or how to structure a sales comp plan, gBeta introduced me to people and a community who help me to see around corners and stay motivated. Plus, it’s nice to have an even bigger group of people rooting for us.”
More about the gBETA Fall 2018 cohort
Encamp automates hazardous material inventory reporting, which is required by the EPA for over 300,000 facilities in the US. Encamp’s SaaS platform saves customers time, expensive consulting fees and potential government penalties. Encamp has secured $250K in total contract value in industries including retail, agriculture, and energy. encamphq.com
Little Nugget helps moms personalize, organize and treasure their favorite family moments by turning their photo-messes into photo-memories. Little Nugget is available in the App Store and has over 140K paid app downloads, 20K monthly active users and over 80k social followers. littlenuggetco.com
smileML’s tools facilitate the analysis and collection of user research data during customer experience testing. The smileML software annotates user emotion in interview videos and aggregates insights into a dashboard that saves hours of re-watching videos, and removes bias. In conjunction with a Google Cloud case study, smileML will be launching their beta program in October. smile-ml.com
The Bee Corp applies data analytics to beehives to help growers ensure effective pollination through hive-health monitoring software. The Bee Corp reduces the cost of hive-health monitoring by 80% and increases crop yield. Since launching the product on September 1, 2018, The Bee Corp has secured pre-orders to measure 500 hives’ health during the upcoming pollination season. thebeecorp.com
ThickStat’s natural language voice platform, ConverSight.ai, delivers actionable business insights in real time. This SaaS platform eliminates the need for tedious report generation and analysis, saving up to 50% of enterprise reporting costs. To date, ThickStat has generated $600,000 in annual revenue from five enterprise customers. thickstat.com