gBETA expanding to Indianapolis

Five Indiana startups will have the chance to participate in the new gBETA Indy program this spring, put on by gener8tor and hosted by a Beloit-based operation.

This nationally ranked startup accelerator runs its full program in Madison, Milwaukee and the Twin Cities, where it invests $140,000 in each of five startups that go through the 12-week accelerator track.

The accelerator’s scaled down gBETA program is a free seven-week accelerator that also takes five startup teams. It’s active in seven areas: Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Beloit, Northeast Wisconsin, Detroit and now Indianapolis.

“Indiana has created an entrepreneurial ecosystem where business accelerators like gener8tor can help foster Hoosiers’ innovative ideas and transform them into successful companies,” said Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb. “The gBETA program will be the first public accelerator in Indiana’s history, creating a pipeline for homegrown startups to connect with a national network of investors and customers.”

The gBETA Indy program will be hosted by Beloit-based Hendricks Commercial Properties at the Massala Building in downtown Minneapolis. The first cohort in the gBETA Indy program runs from April 29 to June 14. After this first phase, gener8tor plans to scale gBETA Indy to two or three times each year, with five participants each time.

Participating startups will get individualized coaching through gener8tor’s national network of entrepreneurial experts. The program is designed to help participants adjust and grow to the point where angel investment can play a role, or where they can join with a full-time accelerator like gener8tor.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is supporting the first phase of the Indianapolis program with a $70,000 investment.

Since gBETA is a free program, startups don’t have to pay fees or commit any equity, unlike most accelerator programs. gBETA is completely covered by sponsorships, according to Chelsea Linder, executive director for gBETA Indy.

Linder points out that each program is a little different, but since Indianapolis already has a thriving tech community, she says she “wouldn’t be surprised if we are a little heavy on the tech companies going through our program.”

Applications to this newest gBETA program are due April 6. The Indy team will begin interviews in mid-April, Linder said.

Indianapolis-based DATTUS, a tech solutions provider for manufacturers, took part in gener8tor’s 12-week accelerator program in Wisconsin in 2016.

“Ever since investing in Indiana-based DATTUS in 2016, we have been interested in becoming a bigger part of the state’s startup ecosystem,” said Abby Taubner, managing director of gBETA. “We hope to be a mechanism for building more connective tissue between the community and our regional and national network.”

According to a release, graduates of gBETA have collectively raised nearly $5.5 million since 2015, and 50 percent have either proceeded to a full accelerator program or raised at least $50,000 in seed financing.

–By Alex Moe