Curate’s technology helps boost customers’ timing for business opportunities

Imagine the ability to predict where industry leaders will build their next headquarters. Well, Curate CEO and Co-founder Taralinda Willis did just that.

After learning that tech giant Foxconn was headed to Wisconsin, Willis and her team predicted that the new plant would be in Racine County. Soon after, news broke that Foxconn had selected a site within the county.

Curate uses data-mining technology to gather information from meeting agendas and minutes from cities, counties and school board websites from across the Midwest.

“We use software to ‘read’ these documents in our database, a lot like a human would read and understand text,” Willis said. “The software helps us identify early information about upcoming projects, shared with our customers in an interactive website.”

After working as a project manager for the University of Wisconsin’s Union South construction from 2010 to 2011, Willis saw firsthand how contractors and vendors missed big opportunities because of timing issues. For example, vendors would call to bid on projects, only to find out they were too late. However, all the information they needed was publicly available.

Willis teamed up with her husband, Dale Willis, who developed the software, to address this need in the marketplace and offer businesses these early insights.

After Curate’s technology scans through public records, relevant information is reported to clients. The clients can apply filters so they only see information relevant to them, and then use the reports to act on opportunities.

Curate’s pricing depends on the geographic range of information from which clients want to source.

“As the industry becomes more sophisticated, we do as well, with additional data sources to find early information,” Willis said. “We have the largest and only database of discussions taken verbatim from local government meetings throughout the Midwest.”

After completion of the gener8tor accelerator in Madison, Curate launched officially in 2016.

According to Willis, Curate’s greatest success so far is its rapid expansion in the past two years.

“Watching the idea blossom and the team get behind the vision of Curate and how we’re improving business outcomes for firms throughout the Midwest is immensely successful,” she said.

Willis has a bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison in kinesiology and a master’s in business from UW-Whitewater. Willis believes her diverse background helps shape her as a leader and a team player.

“No two days are ever the same, and this role definitely keeps me on my toes,” she said. “All of my educational and workplace experiences provide me with a lot of background knowledge on a variety of topics, but most importantly how to work well as part of a team.”

Curate currently works with contractors from across the Midwest, but Curate’s ideal customer is anyone looking to grow their business, according to Willis. So far, the company has raised $450,000 in partnership with the Idea Fund of La Crosse to continue developing its technology.

Recently, Willis launched CurateLOCAL to help associations find updates to city ordinances and codes. These changes affect membership and interests of the associations.

In addition, Willis plans to expand Curate outside the Midwest.

“We’re expanding throughout the Midwest right now, and then adding in other states based on customer demand,” she said. “We are planning and preparing for a national rollout in the future.”

By Lauren Summers
Madison Startups

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