Intel co-founder Gordon Moore famously predicted that computing power would grow exponentially by doubling every two years (“Moore’s Law”). The implications of such rapidly improving computing power are now evident all around us, but back when Gordon predicted such growth it was hard to imagine a future with such incredible computing power.
In March, we held our first-ever Exponential Technology and Leadership workshop to address the inevitable trends that will disrupt many industries.
Whether it’s AI, IoT, medicine, space, or even blockchain, it was evident throughout this bootcamp that proactive, exponential thinking is necessary to maintain a competitive advantage in all industries.
Participants had the opportunity to hone in on their skills development through the process of question storming, developing moonshot ideas, and rapid prototyping.
If you were unable to attend, you can still sign up for our next workshop on April 23rd.
See Tickets for April 23rd Workshop
Welcome, new Advisors!
Candice Savino – VP of Engineering at Trunk Club; Formerly Senior Director of Engineering, Groupon
Nicolas Thomley – Henry Crown Fellow at The Aspen Institute, Co-Founder & CEO of Morning Sun Financial Services, Founder of Pinnacle Service
Suk Shah – CFO at Avant; Formerly CFO at HSBC
Paul Longhenry – SVP – Strategy, Corporate, and Business Development at Tapjoy; Formerly Venture Capital Investment Director at D.E. Shaw Ventures
Top Midwestern Spots for Startups
It’s no secret that the startup ecosystem is rising in the Midwest. “…the amount of money being invested into startups is on the rise in the Midwest and throughout many other parts of the country, reaching fresh multi-year highs in 2017. Almost one full quarter into 2018, the trend appears to continue unabated.”
Read more from Crunchbase about why the Midwest is now being coined as a “goldilocks zone.”
Check out the Great North Labs Portfolio
4/10 – Lean Startup Bootcamp
4/23 – Exponential Technology & Leadership Workshop –
4/28 – Agile Scrum Crash Course
Lean Startup Bootcamp
Follow the Lean Startup Path to create your next startup, realize your potential in Product Management as a career, and master the skills needed to find winning business models through Lecture and Labs.
Our work-friendly bootcamp is over three Tuesday sessions: 4/10, 4/17, and 4/24 from 6:00 – 8:30 pm at Great North Labs in St. Cloud.
Exponential Technology & Innovation Workshop
The implications of rapidly improving computer power are evident around us – gain a competitive advantage and avoid disruption through this workshop. Become familiar through our Intro to Exponentials, review Disruptive Technologies, expand your Exponential Leadership, and develop skills to broaden your perspective.
Monday, April 23rd from 8:00 – 4:30 pm at Fueled Collective in Minneapolis.
Learn and begin applying the foundational concepts of Agile Scrum to improve work transparency on your team. Review the history of Agile, problems that can be solved via Agile, and tackle software development complexity.
Saturday, April 28th from 9:00 – 5:00pm at Fueled Collective inMinneapolis.
Minnebar is April 14th
Great North Labs’s Managing Partners, Ryan and Rob Weber, will speak three times at this annual tech and software conference which has been a Twin Cities mainstay since 2006. The all-day event will be at Best Buy Headquarters. Tickets are free.
Tweet to Meet with Rob (@robertjweber) or with Ryan (@mnvikingsfan) at the event.
Do you know any investors interested in sharing investment opportunities? Have them contact us!
We’ve been busy! Since our December newsletter, we have several new investments that are closed or near closing, 20 new people (5 staff and 15 advisors) that have joined our team, and a new bootcamp on Exponential Technology & Leadership. This newsletter provides further details on each of these topics and more!
New To Portfolio
The focus of entrepreneurs and investors alike in making last mile delivery more efficient through utilization of current mobile technology has largely been in servicing B2C companies in areas such as grocery and food delivery. The traditional B2B last mile delivery space generally occupied by regional courier providers or private fleets has largely been untouched by new entrants.
Combining this lack of utilization of new technology along with the “instant gratification” pressure that consumers are bringing from online retail into the local trades and the B2B last mile delivery space is ripe for disruption. HVAC, electrical and plumbing contractors are challenged with consumers expecting same-day installation or repair of their home appliances and mechanical equipment. Often times the systems needing to be repaired or replaced require components not stocked on the service van. Courier services are therefore being leveraged by progressive contractors to capture these same-day sales.
Dispatch’s product is a software platform which provides suppliers with the ability to utilize the Dispatch app and backend to enter deliveries in their local market which are picked up by independent contractors and delivered to the suppliers’ customers, most commonly in B2B segments like HVAC, auto parts, plumbing, electrical, etc. Customers win by increased visibility into the delivery of the product they order and with similar costs as they typically pay for standard courier services. What Uber has done to the taxi market, What Uber has done to the taxi market, Dispatch has the ability to do to the courier market, which is largely untouched by B2C-oriented last mile delivery competitors.
Upcoming Startup School Events (those further out are listed on our website)
Exponential Technology & Leadership Bootcamp
Date: Thursday, March 8th from 8:00am to 5:00pm
Instructor: Ryan Weber (Managing Partner of Great North Labs)
Location: Great North Labs Office, 305 5th Ave S Suite 150, St. Cloud, MN 56301
Description: Develop leadership & technology expertise to unlock exponential growth:
- Learn how to define bold new ideas for your startup, company or non-profit
- Learn about disruptive technologies so you and your organization aren’t blind-sided by other startups
- Develop new techniques for adapting to rapid change in your start-up, company or non-profit
Open to students and business professionals of any type, profit or non-profit, high-tech or no-tech. Find more information and apply here.
Lean Startup Bootcamp (3 Days)
Dates: Tuesday (4/10), Tuesday (4/17), and Tuesday (4/24) from 6pm to 8:30pm
Instructor: Ryan Weber (Managing Partner of Great North Labs)
Location: Great North Labs Office, 305 5th Ave S Suite 150, St. Cloud, MN 56301
Description: Learn, and begin applying, the lean startup practice so that you can eliminate waste in planning and growing your startup.
Open to students and small business professionals of any type, profit or non-profit, high-tech or no-tech. Find more information and apply here.
Minnebar – 3 Sessions by Great North Labs
Date: Saturday, April 14th from 8am to 5pm (30 to 50 minute sessions, session times not yet posted)
Location: Best Buy HQ
- Session 1: Exponential Technology & Leadership – Ryan Weber
- Session 2: How Entrepreneurs Are Impacting Cities – Rob Weber
- Session 3: How Running Lean Can Help You Raise Capital – Ryan Weber
To register, visit Minnebar’s website and sign-up to attend the conference and then navigate to all sessions and select the Great North Labs sessions that interest you here.
- Sona Mehring – Founder and former CEO Caring Bridge, Board Member at Minnestar
- Rick Ehrman – VP and Head of Corp Dev Sports Engine, previously worked at Univision Communications, NBCUniversal, and GE
- Jonathan Ozeran – Director of Product, Tempus; and Co-Founder, WUF; previously worked at Zest Health and Yello
- Brian Schoenborn – Partner and Co-Chair of Sports and Entertainment Business, Stinson Leonard Street; Founding Owner, Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)
- Björn Stansvik – Founder and CEO MentorMate
- Matt Blodgett – Managing Director Vector Capital; Enthusiastic Investor in MN Tech Companies; Proto Labs (Former Board Member) and NativeX (former Board Observer)
- Corey Koskie – Entrepreneur, former MLB player (Twins, Blue Jays, Brewers) and Planet Fitness franchisee
- Jeff Hinck – General Partner at Rally Ventures, formerly Board Member at SportsEngine and Compellent
- Don Krantz – Board Member at Proto Labs, Associate at Digi Labs, Board Advisor for RSAM (Robotic, Sensors, and Advanced Manufacturing) area of MnDrive, formerly EVP and Technology Officer at Proto Labs
- Shivani Khanna Stumpf – CTO at Hoonuit (fka Atomic Learning), formerly Sr. Director of Product Management at SPS Commerce and Engineering/Product Manager at SportsEngine
- Nicholas Kartos – Co-founder/CEO at GymDandy, formerly Director of Media and Advertising at SportsEngine and Founder at Wisconsin Sports Network
- Bobby George – CEO at Montessorium
- Brian Bispala – Co-Founder at Aftercode, formerly Director at Foodsby and Co-Founder of Code 42
- Robert Bodor – VP and General Manager, Americas at Proto Labs; formerly Strategy and Business Development at Honeywell
- Bradley Schaufenbuel – CISO and VP at Paylocity
- In January, Rob gave a keynote presentation, “How Entrepreneurship Is Impacting Cities” at the Winter Institute annual conference in St. Cloud.
- Help us get the word out about our upcoming bootcamps and now-active fund.
- Do you know anyone that is interested in sharing investment opportunities with Great North Labs? Get in touch!
- Register for Minnebar and favorite our three sessions: Exponential Technology & Leadership, How Entrepreneurs Are Impacting Cities, How Running Lean Can Help You Raise Capital
Excited by a quick start to 2018! Looking forward to collaborating with you all!
The Great North Labs Team
Thanks for being a friend of Great North Labs. We are excited to share an update with you regarding our new Venture Fund and affiliated Startup School. Thank you for your interest!
October marks just our 5th month of existence. Our top priority the past two months has been raising capital for our fund. We’ve also been taking meetings with startups but investing is on hold until the completion of our initial close.
Additionally, we’ve been working on further developing our business strategy and plan for the fund & startup school. This includes developing an organizational plan for all of Great North Labs. Expect to see a revamped web-site later in October with more details about our strategy and plan.
Startup School Events – Lean Startups Bootcamp Date: Every Monday from 6pm – 8:30pm from 10/23 to 11/20
Instructor: Ryan Weber (Founding Partner of Great North Labs)
Location: Great North Labs office in St. Cloud (near the SCSU Welcome Center)
Description: Learn, and begin applying, the lean startup practice so that you can eliminate waste in planning and growing your startup. It’s open to students and small business professionals of any type, profit or non-profit, high-tech or no-tech, for free or mid-to-large business professionals for a low cost. Find more information and apply to participate at our website . The same bootcamp will be offered in early 2018 in the Twin Cities.
Disruptive Tech Series – Blockchain Trends
Great North Labs believes disruptive technology is an important ingredient to drive substantial value in industry. Due to this, we will make a concerted effort to build our understanding of these technologies and identify opportunities to invest in startups embracing them. You may have heard of Bitcoin, and possibly the underlying technology it is built on, “Blockchain.” We’re hosting a Blockchain Meetup where we’ll be discussing what Bitcoin and the Blockchain is, how it’s starting to impact several markets, and future trends of this new technology. Look for details of this event on our Events section of our website, coming late October.
Job Openings – We’re Hiring!
Digital Marketing Specialist Intern (St. Cloud) – Help us help our region’s top startups by joining our small team and assist in supporting our digital and event marketing needs.
New To Our Blog:
The Secret To Fostering A Strong Startup Community Inside Your University – by Rob Weber
– Joined Coco Minneapolis in the Grain Exchange for our Twin
Cities office location.
– Contracted a marketing agency in the Twin Cities to help
support our initiatives.
– Conducted meetings with several St. Cloud and Twin Cities
based universities (SCSU, CSJSB, UofMN) to see how we can better collaborate in supporting startups. The feedback has been very positive. Initially, they are helping to promote our Lean Product Bootcamp but other events are and collaboration are being discussed and we’ll post further updates once they are finalized.
– We’ve learned after running two Lean Product Bootcamps that hosting a pitch day after only five weeks for a Lean Workshop is impractical. Teams need more time to complete their business model vetting. Instead, we are planning to host a larger pitch event some time in March for anyone that is interested.
● Promote our Lean Product Bootcamp in St. Cloud (starts
October 23rd) or Twin Cities (early next year) to anyone you know that may be leading a new business and is interested in how learning how to reduce waste in planning and executing on their idea. More information available on our website.
● Looking for a contractor in the Twin Cities or St. Cloud that has experience in WordPress that may be available part-time on an ongoing basis in support of our further development of the Web-Site.
● Help us fill the Digital Marketing Specialist Intern opening we have in St. Cloud for Great North Labs.
● Beginning on November 3rd, vote online for Ryan Weber’s session on Running Lean so that he can secure a spot at this year’s Twin Cities Product Camp event to be held at the Nerdery on Saturday, November 18th.
● Follow @GreatNorthLabs on Twitter as there is a lot of activity in the startup community that we’ll begin sharing and promoting.
Rob, Ryan, & James – The Great North Labs & Great North Capital Team
P.S. If you know others who would be interested in what we are up to, please refer them to our Newsletter to sign-up to receive updates, become mentors, founders, etc.