Press Release

Fireside Chat with Microsoft President Brad Smith to keynote gener8tor Premiere Night

Event will highlight Smith’s new book as well as four startups built completely from scratch during gener8tor’s Milwaukee 2019 accelerator

By - Nov 18th, 2019 08:02 am

MILWAUKEE ​– gener8tor celebrates the conclusion of its inaugural Accelerator Studio program, during which four startups were created from scratch using only Wisconsin-based entrepreneurs, on Dec. 17 at Turner Hall.

The four Wisconsin-based startups created during the Accelerator Studio program over the past four months will pitch their business models to a captive audience of investors, entrepreneurs and community members during the event.

The event will feature Microsoft’s President Brad Smith in a fireside chat to discuss his new book, “Tools and Weapons: The Promise and Peril of the Digital Age,” as well as the Microsoft TechSpark initiative. Microsoft TechSpark is an initiative to foster greater economic and job opportunities in six communities outside the country’s major metropolitan centers.

Everyone who attends Premiere Night will receive a free copy of “Tools and Weapons.”

“Cutting-edge technology took root in America’s Midwest more than a century ago,” said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft. “Innovation has always been an important part of this region’s proud past, and accelerators like gener8tor are making sure that it’s equally part of its exciting future. I’m looking forward to hearing what these newly-minted Wisconsin-based entrepreneurs are working on.”

Premiere Night is an invitation-only celebration of gener8tor’s latest class of innovative startups. This Premiere Night is particularly special, since it marks both gener8tor’s eight anniversary as well as the completion of gener8tor’s inaugural Accelerator Studio cohort, during which four high-growth startups were built completely from scratch over the course of four months in Milwaukee featuring only Wisconsin-based entrepreneurs.

Each entrepreneur entered the Accelerator Studio in late August with no concept for a product, service or business model, and worked with gener8tor staff over the course of four months to come up with a unique product or service, validate consumer demand, incorporate, build a minimum viable product and begin selling.

“We think the studio model has the potential to change the narrative around innovation and new wealth and job creation in the Midwest and throughout the country,” said gener8tor co-founder Joe Kirgues. “To be joined by Brad Smith to celebrate what this group of local founders has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time is a tremendous honor for us.”

Smith is a Wisconsin native and attended High School in Appleton before studying at Princeton University and Columbia Law School. As Microsoft’s President and Chief Legal Officer, Smith has been an outspoken supporter of technology, education and innovation initiatives in his home state and across the world.

For the past four years, gener8tor has ranked amongst the top accelerators in the United States according to the ​Seed Accelerator Rankings Project​. In the most recent rankings, gener8tor earned “Gold,” putting it amongst the top 15 accelerators in the country.

Each of the four startups that will present during Premiere Night received a $100,000 cash investment from gener8tor through participating in the Studio Accelerator. The month prior to Premiere Night, they’ll have gone on to pitch a total of more than 80 venture capital funds and angel investors one-on-one in Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles & San Francisco to raise additional financing.

“Over the past four months, each founder has built a business from concept, connected with more than 100 mentors and customers, engaged in hours of one-on-one mentorship and coaching, and pitched to more than 80 investors,” said gener8tor Milwaukee Managing Director Ben Stanley. “They’ve all worked extraordinarily hard to solve big problems for their customers in very unique ways. Every day, I’m more impressed with what this group of founders has been able to accomplish in such a short period of time.”

The event will also feature a performance from Milwaukee-based EDM artist Crystal Knives, a graduate of Backline. Backline is an accelerator for musicians gener8tor runs in partnership with 88Nine Radio Milwaukee. During his performance, Crystal Knives will perform two new singles: “Hotel California ft. Kayla Diamond” (release date 11/8 via Warner Bros); and “So Numb,” featuring ft. IVISH” (release date 12/6).

Premiere night will also feature gener8tors Fellowship.Art artists’ work during the cocktail hours.

Members of the Press are invited to attend Premiere Night. The event will be held at Turner Hall (​1034 Vel R. Phillips Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53203)​. Doors open at 6 p.m. Pitches from the five  companies in the gener8tor Milwaukee Accelerator Studio cohort will begin at 7 p.m. and will be  followed by a performance from Crystal Knives. The evening will conclude by 9 p.m.

The four companies presenting at Premiere Night are:

Altin Labs | Ahmed Kanan | CEO + Founder | ​ Altin Labs’ ​plug-and-play machine monitoring solution enables manufacturers to monitor the performance of manufacturing equipment in real time for predictive maintenance using 5G and WiFi 6. Altin Labs first product, Altin Links, enables manufacturers to capture electrical, mechanical, optical and atmospheric performance and operational data from their industrial machines and send this data to the cloud over Internet Protocol, WiFi-6 and 5G networks. Altin Labs is a WI-based Delaware C-Corp.

Cloudux | Ante Grgić | CEO + Founder | ​ Cloudux​’s SaaS platform simplifies the creation, management and deployment of code in a multi-cloud environment. Cloudux eliminates the risk of vendor lock-in with cloud providers (AWS, Azure, GCP, etc.) and enables software engineers without cloud development knowledge to quickly build and deploy serverless and containerized code on any cloud platform. Cloudux is a WI-based Delaware C-Corp.

Alive & Well | Rita Roloff | CEO + Founder | ​ Alive & Well​’s direct-to-consumer brand sells sustainable hair care products formulated specifically for wavy to curly hair types. Customers purchase a starter kit that includes reusable bottles for their hair products. Every month, users receive refills. Alive & Well’s packaging and refill process reduces the cost and environmental impact of beauty products while increasing gross margin. Alive & Well is a WI-based Delaware C-Corp.

Last Lock | Jack Ryan | CEO + Founder | ​ Last Lock​’s self-powering, smart cylinder allows home and business owners to transform any mechanical lock system into a highly secure smart lock. Once installed, users can program permanent or temporary access to different existing physical keys. Electronic sensors placed in the smart cylinder scan and store the physical key’s profile, allowing owners to digitally manage, track, and grant access. Last Lock is a WI-based Delaware C-Corp.

About gener8tor: ​ gener8tor is a turnkey platform for the creative economy that connects startups, entrepreneurs, artists, investors, universities, and corporations. The gener8tor platform includes pre-accelerators, accelerators, corporate programming, conferences and fellowships focused on entrepreneurs, artists and musicians.
gener8tor is a nationally ranked, GOLD-tier accelerator in the U.S. as ranked by the ​Seed Accelerator Rankings Project​.

Mentioned in This Press Release

Recent Press Releases by gener8tor


Fireside Chat with Microsoft President Brad Smith to keynote gener8tor Premiere Night

Event will highlight Smith’s new book as well as four startups built completely from scratch during gener8tor’s Milwaukee 2019 accelerator


Four Milwaukee Musicians Complete First “Backline” Mentorship Program, Use $20,000 in Grants and Travel to L.A., NYC and London

Radio Milwaukee / gener8tor’s First Music Accelerator Ends With Showcase Concert


Backline Selects First Four Musicians for 12-Week Accelerator Mentorship Program Including $20,000 Grants

Music-Industry Pros Select Backline Artists After 340 Applications Received

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us