Six startups pitched their business models to a group of over 600 potential partners and investors at gener8tor’s premiere night in Milwaukee.
The companies, which participated in the accelerator’s 12-week mentoring program, were:
* Third Party Trust, a monitoring and rating system for gauging third-party vendor risk levels.
“Think of LinkedIn married to FICO scores,” said Karl Gouverneur, a Northwestern Mutual representative who introduced the company as an official mentor.
According to Anders Norremo, CEO of Third Party Trust, third party vendors that work for a variety of industries represent an enormous data breach risk. His company, he says, changes that situation.
He brought up data breaches at Target and Home Depot, which both occurred because of vendor insecurity, as prime examples of how corporations and smaller companies are leaving themselves exposed. In these breaches, information from over 100 million credit cards was stolen.
“The cost can’t really be measured,” said Norremo. “Why? Because it involves the most important thing that was lost, and that’s trust from your customers.”
For all on-board vendors, Third Party trust provides a proprietary risk score, which Norremo describes as “our secret sauce.”
Norremo also announced that his company has just signed with Moxe Health, a quickly growing health tech company.
“Over the next 12 months, we’re going to grow this business to 36,000 in monthly recurring revenue,” said Norremo. “Everyday, enterprises are adding more vendors. They need a proper platform, proper tooling to help manage that risk. Third Party Trust is that platform.”
* Lumanu, a platform that digitizes the word-of-mouth process by creating agreements with opinion leaders.
Tony Tran, CEO of Lumanu and a former Google employee, says his company can “turn consumers into revenue-generating influencers.”
He cites the statistic that 92 percent of people trust content from people over brands, saying that “it’s not about brand to consumers, it’s about consumer to consumer.”
Tran said because Millennials love to share what they love, his company taps into that tendency.
“I want to reward consumers for doing what they’re doing, which is sharing what they love.”
Companies choosing to use his system can create customized marketing plans, where they enter keywords, phrases and hashtags that are relevant to their particular influencers.
The system sets up direct contracts with the influencers such as bloggers, who can be paid through direct reimbursement or on a commission basis.
Tran said he can get to his goal of $50,000 in monthly recurring revenue by connecting brands with ambassadors. He also announced that Lumanu has moved, and is now officially based in Milwaukee.
* Exit 7C, a mobile app for buying gasoline that founder and CEO Blessing Egbon calls “the digital fuel card.”
Egbon, whose family owns 30 gas stations in California, was hit by a credit card skimming fraud at his own gas station that he bought in North Carolina.
“I started Exit 7C to fix this problem,” said Egbon.
His system, which he and his three-person team markets principally to business fleet managers, promises to show these customers the cheapest fuel cost.
“The process is much faster,” said Egbon. “This creates a marketplace for gasoline. On one side you have users and business fleets, on the other you have gas stations. We sit in the middle as a payment processor.”
His goal for the company is to install his price tracking system in over 30 markets nationwide, where he hopes to target 123,000 gas station users. Exit 7C will make a 4 percent commission on each transaction that flows through the platform.
Exit 7C is currently live in Columbus, Ohio and Milwaukee.
* Pretty Litter, a specialized cat litter that can show cat-owners when their pet is at risk for illness.
Daniel Rodman, CEO of Pretty Litter and a Harvard graduate, announced his company has experienced a 835 percent increase in monthly revenue from September to October, up to $170,000.
As many cat owners know, and as Rodman said, “Litter sucks.” His product promises an 80 percent reduction in weight, which he says gives his company a huge advantage over the traditional cat litter companies.
Those companies, he said, are selling cat litter that needs to be replenished every two weeks, twice as often as he promises for his litter.
Pretty Litter is lighter, lasts longer, and is more eco-friendly than normal cat litter, according to Rodman, and has the added feature of changing color to warn owners of health risks in their feline friends.
“Cats are stoic creatures,” said Rodman. “They are built by nature to hide their illnesses. So early detection is absolutely critical.”
He added that Pretty Litter is currently operating with a 50 percent gross margin, but added that “there’s room for growth there as well.”
Rodman is responsible for $28 million in sales and revenue in his career, and expects $4 million in revenue for 2017.
“We are a true disruptor in the kitty litter space,” said Rodman.
* Parqex, a system for selling private parking that connects unused spots to users.
“We’ve been growing really fast,” said Vivek Mehra, founder of Parqex.
Their growth, he said, can be attributed to the fact that they are identifying a problem and providing a solution.
The problem is, he said, “Parking sucks. It’s crowded, inconvenient and expensive.”
To change that, Mehra created a system for aggregating private parking spaces and making them available to the public. He and his team currently market their system to condos, apartment buildings, schools, colleges, churches and many others.
The system makes money, he said, by “charging a $1 transaction fee to the renter, and we charge 20 percent commission to the owner.”
Part of the system is a small device that allows the app to open the gate or garage door to the parking space, increasing security. The installation of this device comes with a $250 one-time installation fee.
He announced that Parqex is launching in Milwaukee and Madison, saying that “We are now ready to grow.”
* Yachtlife, a yacht chartering service that claims to make the process of renting a yacht as easy as a few clicks.
Patrick Curley, CEO of Yachtlife, created a system that improves upon the 30-year-old model of yacht rentals which has persisted until now.
“Many sites don’t actually list pricing,” said Curley. “This leads to many calls to brokers.”
The problem with that, however, is that brokers charge a premium to make the connection for the customer.
“Because we’ve removed the middleman, our prices are 10 to 15 percent lower.”
Curley and his three-person team don’t own any inventory, but they offer a marketplace that simplifies and streamlines the process of boat rental. Yachtlife generates revenue three ways: through 30 percent commission for every yacht charter; 6 percent commission for yacht sale referrals; and a membership club that comes with a pricetag of $100,000 a year.
That membership program, Curley said, is targeting corporate entertainment budgets, and is good for 14 yacht charters a year.
The system is live in nine global yacht rental hubs, including the $800 million market in Miami, where the company is based.
–By Alex Moe,