Web Development Students Selected for gBETA Beloit
September 27, 2018
Web Development students Bryan Williams, Josh Shope and Sarah Meadus have been selected to participate in the gBETA Beloit Startup Accelerator Program. gBETA is a program of nationally ranked startup accelerator, gener8tor. The program is a free seven-week concierge program for early-stage companies with local roots, and limited to five companies per cohort.
Williams, Shope and Meadus came together through participation in the Summer gALPHA Beloit program, the precursor to gBETA in which teams whiteboard startup ideas from scratch. “It all started when a faculty member told me about a networking opportunity, and after learning more I knew this wasn’t something you stumble across every day,” said Williams. “I wondered if any other students would be interested in this sort of thing.”
During the gALPHA program, the team conceived their product idea through reviewing “reverse pitch” opportunities. These opportunities are problems sourced from Project North, gener8tor’s innovation network of top venture capital, merger and acquisition and strategy executives from across the Midwest.
This approach allows industry professionals an opportunity to pitch “problems” to startup hopefuls, who then create solutions and ultimately startup companies owning those product solutions. “I would say at first we didn’t really know what we were getting into. We had an idea what gALPHA was but saw it as a great opportunity for networking with local technical talent,” said Meadus.
When they returned to Beloit, the magic happened. “One of the biggest selling points of the program is getting students and participants in front of decision-makers and end users,” said gBETA Beloit Director Phil Fonfara. The team met and began working with representatives from Hendricks Commercial Properties, who sponsors gener8tor’s Beloit programming.
According to Shope, “Hendricks Commercial Properties had a few issues that needed to be solved, and initially our team wanted to solve them all.” Eventually, the team decided to tackle only one issue -- the complex and problematic nature of lien waivers. A lien waiver is a document from a contractor, subcontractor, supplier, or another party who is working on a construction project. It states they have received payment and waive any future lien rights to the property.
In any given construction project there can be many waivers to track. The process is often manual and failure to use lien waivers properly and timely can lead to problems for everyone within the project chain. After substantial research, the team has created a solution called ezLien. The solution will better track, monitor and follow up on lien waivers.
Through participation in gALPHA, they have been able to really dive into the research and concept design phase of ezLien, and evolve the product to solve the needs of their end customers. “We went into it thinking this would be a great experience and an awesome opportunity to build our resume. But we began to get some wind in our sails, so-to-speak, and ultimately we really have something here,” said Williams.
By leveraging their participation in gBETA, the team will be able to meet others in the field, refine their solution, develop their revenue model, acquire capital and make something that is truly marketable and useful in the industry.
The team agreed with Meadus when she said, “It’s not really something I thought I would be into, but now that it’s going, this is very exciting.”
For more information about gener8tor, gALPHA and gBETA visit www.gbetastartups.com/beloit.