Five startup companies recently presented their unique business ideas as part of gener8tor’s Premiere Night.
Three times a year, the 12-week startup accelerator program invests up to $140,000 in each of five startups, which were whittled down from nearly 700 applicants this time around. Since it began, the program’s 49 alums have raised more than $110 million in follow-on financing.
The five startups presented May 11 at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison. They were:
*Errund, a Madison-based company, and the only one in this cohort to have come from Wisconsin. This Delaware C-corp helps customers connect with background-checked cleaning and service providers.
Since it began in January 2016, the company has earned commission revenue of $84,743, and has grown over 25 percent month-over-month.
Founder and CEO Jacob Ong says he created the company to solve the problem presented by most cleaning services; they are hard to find, often have no website or a minimal one, and generally have no online sign-up process.
“The cleaning industry, the service industry — especially in the U.S. — is very fragmented,” Ong said. “A lot of individual players will provide decent service, but getting to them, booking their service, extremely tough.”
Errund’s online marketplace can be used to book services for offices and businesses, as well as for homes. Like Uber, its service providers work as independent contractors.
*FERTILIFY, a company from Toronto, Ontario, providing fertility supplements to men and women.
This company was started by husband and wife team Lalli and Anthony Marrato after Lalli wanted to give couples more control over becoming pregnant.
“Last month we generated over $20,000 worth in revenue, and this was done directly to customers online as well as in fertility clinics,” she said. “We are the only fertility supplement sold in fertility clinics by over 20 physicians, which is a huge feat for us.”
One of its supplements is used by women who aren’t quite ready to become pregnant, but who want to preserve their fertility. Another can be used by couples who are trying to conceive or are undergoing In-vitro fertilization. Yet another is for pregnant women.
The company earned $75,483 in sales in the last six months, with 22 percent month-over-month growth. March sales were nearly 40 percent higher than February, and with little to no marketing, Marrato says.
“We rely heavily on scientific data, and that’s why doctors love us, and customers trust us,” she said, pointing to scientific journals like Nature as evidence for their claims.
*Ivory Clasp, a Los Angeles-based startup providing a subscription-box-like service for brand name hand bags.
Customers pay $45 a month for in-season handbags they can keep that can often retail for over $100 dollars, according to co-founder and head of marketing and strategy, Avi Zolty.
Fellow co-founder Sean Rimokh has been connected to the handbag industry for years. His family owns Signal Products, a major handbag licensing company which manufactures big brand names like Guess and Isaac Mizrahi.
“There’s one thing in common with all of these brands — a huge problem,” he said. “That problem is these brands sit on millions — in our case, tens of millions — of dollars worth of inventory. Again, it just sits and sits there. And then it’s all discounted!”
Rimokh says that “directly tarnishes and ruins the brands image, and the brands integrity.”
According to Zolty, Louis Vuitton goes so far as to burn their inventory to avoid that.
Ivory Clasp has gained 3,300 users since July 4.
“We obviously get recurring revenue,” Zolty said. “Really high margins — again, we’re getting this product at cost. And we don’t really sit on inventory, since we choose what we send out.”
*Veramarx, a company from Boulder offering an accurate diagnostic test for early-stage Lyme disease.
Current tests for the disease miss the majority of cases in the early cases, says company founder Whitney Richards. His company’s proprietary test is 92 percent sensitive at the early, treatable stage of the disease.
“And even more important from the doctor’s perspective, when the current tests are missing six out of 10 people, they don’t know if a negative is a true negative,” he said. “With our test, a negative is a true negative with 99 percent certainty.”
The company has two patents pending, and plans to sell its first tests in the fourth quarter of this year.
*Vyrill, a Berkeley-based startup, has an AI-powered analytics dashboard which can be used by marketers to track and better understand user-generated videos.
“The mission for the company, and the vision for the company is, we want to really help brands drive more product conversion and adoption with video marketing,” said Ajay Bam, company CEO.
He says in the last five years, user-generated video content has overtaken brand-generated videos with the rise of social media, the popularity of Youtube, and other tech-related trends.
“With 2.5 billion smartphones out there, everyone in the room here has become a director, producer and promoter of video content,” he said.
Since its product launched four months ago, Vyrill has generated about $50,000 in revenue, and recently added Dell as a customer.
–By Alex Moe