Welcome back to the Great North Ventures newsletter! (Sign up here!) We are excited for the launch of our new podcast and Fund II investing!
Join me, Josef Siebert, and either Ryan or Rob Weber as we interview founders, investors, and ecosystem builders to uncover insights and best practices for the next generation of global startup founders.
As mentioned in our last newsletter, Fund II is now open for business! We have officially made our first investment outside of our own venture studio projects. Early-stage founders, check out our Founders page for criteria and to get in touch.
Skillit is new to the portfolio! Skillit is a jobs and recruitment platform that matches skills-tested carpenters with great construction firms.
Flywheel has raised a $22M Series C round from 8VC, Great North Ventures, and others. Flywheel will use raised capital to acquired St. Louis-based Radiologics.
TeamGenius raises $1.1 million to expand its athlete development platform
Airbnb partner Migo taps NoiseAware for noise-monitoring solution
PrintWithMe Announces New Platform for Expansion, WithMe, Inc.
FactoryFix Successful Series “Factory Made” Offers Viewers Peak into American Manufacturing
Hotels open the door to the next evolution in room service [2ndKitchen]
See all open positions on the Great North Ventures careers page
Great North Venturesis hiring 6 interns for Summer 2022
TeamGeniusis hiring for 1 position
2ndKitchenis hiring for 5 positions
PrintWithMe ishiring for 13 positions
Parallaxis hiring for 9 positions
Branch is hiring for 14 positions
Inhabitr is hiring for 3 positions
Clinician Nexusis hiring for 1 position
PartySlateis hiring for 1 position
It’s a wrap for Twin Cities Startup Week (TCSW), Minnesota’s largest annual startup event. How big is it? In 2019 the event attracted 17,000 people to over 200 sessions. This year, the event stretched nearly a month as it went virtual for the first time.
Startup Competition Winners
One of two big competitions during TCSW is the MN Startup Awards, a joint venture between Tech.MN and TCSW. The winners this year included Canomiks (Emerging Startup), Maddy Kennedy (Impact Award), BetterYou (Operational Excellence) SayKid (Voyager Award), Black Tech Talent (The Inclusive Evolution Award), and Target Accelerators Team (Corporate Champion).
Great North Labs sponsored the 10K Lakes Award for Greater Minnesota for the second year in a row, which recognizes work supporting startups in Greater MN. MN Cup took home the award this year!
We are proud to support MN Cup through our Founders Pledge, where Rob Weber also judges the High Tech division, and are pleased with the recognition of their success. MN Cup wound up their own competition on Sept. 23rd, with top honors going to BlueCube Bio.
The other big competition of TCSW is the BETA Showcase, which routinely attracts 800+ attendees. This year featured 21 startups, including 7 startups from Greater MN. The winner of the coveted Golden iPod was Bibliate, a Minneapolis-based provider of academic research summaries.
gBETA Greater MN-St. Cloud
The accelerator program gBETA Greater MN-St. Cloud has announced its fall class. The class includes startups from around the state. Sproutary is from Kimball, Shrpa is from Rochester, LegalMaps is from Edina, and Live.Give.Save is from Red Wing.
$2M Pitch Competition for Black founders
Revolution’s Rise of the Rest (ROTR) is partnering with Opportunity Hub, 100 Black Angels & Allies, and Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Innovation Lab to fund Black-founders via the “Rise of the Rest Virtual Tour: Equity Edition”. $2M in investments will go to the top 3 companies.
Please share this event with your network! It’s a great opportunity for Black founders in the Upper Midwest to connect with investors and resources, and to have a chance at a big check! Great North Labs has partnered with ROTR to help connect capital with Black founders, and Rob Weber be taking pitch meetings during the event.
Great North Labs + Vikings Football = $$ for Minnestar
For every point the Vikings score this season, we are matching up to $5 in donations to Minnestar! Give as little as 10 cents per point, and know that it will be matched, benefitting one of Minnesota’s top startup support organizations.
The campaign started on September 1st (when the Vikes were 0-0) and continues until the day after the Super Bowl, because hey, you have to believe! This campaign is through local startup ScoreSide, which connects sports with philanthropy.
It’s important to support the organizations that support our startups. Times are challenging. While we believe there’s a shortage of early-stage capital in the region, we also think that right now is a great time to build a startup.
Here is a mix of upcoming events, for investors, founders, and/or ecosystem supporters. All events are virtual unless otherwise noted.
- Oct. 1st, Flyover Tech Fest. Based in Iowa, this is a Midwest-centric event for tech startups seeking support, development, and funding.
- Oct. 8th, 2020 TedX St. Cloud. This year is focused on personal transformation.
- Oct. 20th + 22nd Innovation Expo Rapid City, SD, and Sioux Falls, ND. These are hybrid events, with in-person and virtual options.
- Oct. 23rd, LaunchMN Friday Forums: Angel Tax Credit Program. All about the tax credit for MN angel investors.
- Nov. 3-4th, 2020 Enterprise Rising. Casey Allen’s annual event for enterprise SAAS startups.
- Nov. 9-11th, Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium. Speakers, panels, and networking plus opportunities to connect investors and founders.
River’s Edge participates in new robotic technology pilot program for screening COVID-19. Misty the robot is being used to screen hospital employees for COVID-19.
PrintWithMe Announces National Partnership With Trammell Crow Residential. PrintWithMe has inked a deal with one of the nation’s largest developers of multifamily apartments.
Dispatch is hiring a Business Development Representative and Manager, Account Management in Bloomington, MN; a Ruby Developer and Senior Ruby Developer for Remote work. Also Territory Sales Managers in Arlington, VA, Baltimore, MD, and Washington D.C.
FactoryFix is hiring a Team Lead – Full Stack Developer, Full Stack Developer, and Infrastructure Developer- DevOps in Madison, WI; and a Sales Development Representative in Chicago, IL, Indianapolis, IN, or Madison, WI.
PrintWithMe ishiring Regional Sales Directors on the East Coast and in Texas; AR/AP Specialist and Operations Lead in Chicago, IL; VS/SVP of Operations, Marketing Director, Part-Time Customer Service Representative, Inside Sales Executive and a Fall 2020 Strategy Intern (MBA) for Remote work.
Parallax is hiring an Experienced Product Designer in Edina, MN.
Branch is hiring a Data Platform Manager, Senior Software Engineer, Customer Success Manager, Customer Support Rep, Enterprise Support Specialist, and Fraud Agent in Minneapolis, MN.
Inhabitr is hiring a Chief Growth Officer/Head of B2C Growth, and a Sales and Customer Experience Associate in Chicago, IL.
NoiseAware is hiring a VP of Global Sales & Customer Experience, Embedded Developer, QA Technician (independent contractor), Account Manager, and a Customer Advocate in Dallas, TX.
Today it was announced that last quarter’s drop in GDP was the second largest ever recorded. Overall US economic output fell by 9.5%. This dire news comes on the heels of fantastic news for the MN tech startup community: the largest IPO from a Minnesota company ever, Jamf’s $468M IPO and $4.7B market cap.
Minnesota’s Resilient Startups
In good times, founding a startup is hard. Being a successful operator is even harder. Add in the challenging times and limited resources of a recession, and you wind up with a pressure cooker that will test teams, products, and people to their limits.
There is a history of successful companies weathering recessions, however. While some startups crumble under the pressure, others become diamonds. We compiled a list of Minnesota’s Resilient Startups to showcase some of our state’s startup successes that not only weathered tough times, but were formed during recessions.
Leveraging Resilient Founders
It’s no coincidence that many of our operating partners appear on that list. We believe that successful founders and operators make the best early stage investors because they’ve had to scale an emerging technology company before. Leveraging that experience to identify, invest in, and support startups is what makes Great North Labs unique compared to most seed funds.
Tech.MN recently interviewed Managing Partner Rob Weber about his own experience as a founder of a NativeX, which was founded in the wake of the dot-com bust. Rob also talks about what led him and Ryan Weber to found Great North Labs.
“For us, I have gotten to know a lot of other founders in Minnesota and the surrounding region and many of them, either through their business model or whatever, required more early-stage capital than we did. And I heard about how terrible it was for them to raise money the last 10-20 years.
I just thought, ‘We can do this. We can invest in these companies and we can make money doing so.’
And that’s what compelled me to write checks. It was almost a feeling of obligation. We got a little bit of capital, and great mentorship, from these guys from Silicon Valley and I just thought, ‘We could do this here.’” – Rob Weber
Even with the challenges of a recession, we are positioned to continue contributing to a cycle of growth. We continue to build capacity in the innovation ecosystem by cultivating, capitalizing, and contributing to startup successes in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest.
Here are some interesting events rounding out the summer lineup.
- Aug. 5th is the 2nd workshop for the Startup Course 01 – St. Cloud Location series. This is a reminder for all students who began the series on July 29th!
- Aug. 6th, 2020 Drive-in Double Feature: Minnedemo34 + OnRamp Insurance Accelerator Premiere Night. Attend this event at the MN State Fairgounds, Pizza Luce, or virtually. Featuring the OnRamp Insurance Accelerator’s 5-company pitch event, plus Minnedemo presentations, and music.
- Aug. 12th is the virtual OnRamp Healthcare Conference. “The conference highlights innovations disrupting health care and the future of medicine, the health care leaders making such innovations possible and how new technologies and business models will reinvent the industry.”
- Aug. 13-20th is ForwardFest in Madison, WI. This year’s event is virtual and free.“Join fellow entrepreneurs, nerds, geeks, hackers, foodies, and creatives from the Midwest in an 8-day celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship.”
- Sept. 7 – 25, 2020 is Twin Cities Startup Week. This is the biggest annual tech startup event in Minnesota. 2020’s event is virtual, and will be spread over a month with sessions, networking, and education for founders, investors, and innovation-minded professionals.
“CCRCs to participate in $3 million test of robots to curb resident loneliness, apathy”– Misty is encouraging social interaction in retirement homes in this study with Misty Robotics.
“The Lowdown on Discounts”– OSU campus publication featuring discounts from Plyo.
“PrintWithMe Announces National Partnership With Invesco Real Estate”– PrintWithMe agreement with 28th largest apartment owner in the US.
“Property risk increases as booking behaviour changes” – Problem trend, with success stories from NoiseAware.
Dispatch is hiring a Business Development Representative, Driver Engagement Agent, Inbound Marketing Specialist, Cloud Engineer, Data Engineer, Manager-Software Engineering, Quality Assurance Engineer, Software Engineer, and Support Engineer in Bloomington, MN.
FactoryFix is hiring a Team Lead – Full Stack Developer, Full Stack Developer, and Infrastructure Developer- DevOps in Madison, WI; a Recruiter, Sales Development Representative, and Account Executive in Chicago, IL.
PrintWithMe is hiring a Regional Sales Director on the East Coast; AR/AP Specialist, Inside Sales Executive in Chicago, IL; ; a Software Engineer, Account Manager, and Marketing Director for Remote work.
Parallax is hiring a Growth/Experienced Business Development Representative in Minneapolis, MN.
Branch is hiring a Data Platform Manager, Senior Backend Engineer, and Solutions Engineer in Minneapolis, MN or Remote; and a Customer Success Manager in Minneapolis, MN.
Inhabitr is hiring a Chief Growth Officer/Head of B2C Growth, a Chief Growth Officer/Head of Growth, and a Sales and Customer Experience Associate in Chicago, IL.
NoiseAware is hiring a COO, VP of Global Sales & Account Management, Back-end Developer, QA Technician (independent contractor), Account Manager, and Customer Advocate in Dallas, TX.
Forecasts of the economic impact are still developing as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Mary Meeker (famed for her annual Internet Trends report) released a report on coronavirus trends as an exclusive to Axios. Takeaways from the trends report include the acceleration of digital transformation, the inclusion of more scientists and domain experts, and the broad technological evolution of healthcare.
The report closes on a note of optimism, imagining the positive impacts the pandemic can produce if it brings people together to work for common good, saying, “We also need government, business, and entrepreneurial intervention at scale (deployed logically and effectively) to get to the other side. All must work together to ensure jobs and restart the economy so citizens have confidence they can work, have sufficient safety nets and take care of themselves, families and loved ones”.
Business and Entrepreneurial Intervention
Government intervention in the crisis is well-covered in the news (and in our last newsletter). As far as business and entrepreneurial intervention are concerned, Great North Labs has been busy. Our team has scaled up charitable giving to organizations. Our portfolio companies are responding in a variety of impactful ways. Our fund has continued investing in promising startups.
Nonprofits and other organizations that depend on events and donations are hurting at this time. One organization we support is the CentraCare Foundation, who is raising a COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund at this time. If you are interested in supporting them, donate before May 30th and your donation will be doubled due in part to a donation from our managing partners Rob and Ryan Weber.
People are mobilizing to help each other and fight the pandemic together. Our portfolio companies are active in the fight. Dispatch, Clinician Nexus, 2ndKitchen, and PrintWithMe have been supporting local businesses, supporting medical staff, and sourcing necessary supplies. You can read about their exploits, and more about charitable giving, in this recent article.
While Great North Labs has closed two unannounced deals since early March, it is no secret that venture investing overall has slowed down. Managing Partner Rob Weber shared his short- and long-term forecasts with MinneInno in a recent article about the effects of COVID-19 on VC.
“The bar for getting funded will certainly be even higher given the market turmoil, but should not deter founders from trying to raise altogether if they think they are VC ready,” Weber said. “Long term, I continue to remain very bullish on Minnesota and other Midwest-based startups.”
Speaking of founders who are ready for VC investment, we are seeking anonymous responses from startup founders and co-founders on your awareness and opinions of early-stage investors in the region. If you are a startup founder in one of the following states: MN, IA, IL, WI ND, SD- please take our survey!
We value your opinions, and are providing completed survey respondents with a $10 Amazon e-gift card. E-gift cards are delivered by email, and can be used to credit your Amazon account for future use, or used for an immediate purchase.
Due to public health and safety considerations, many events mentioned in previous newsletters have been rescheduled or canceled, including the Great North Labs Startup Summit 2020. Originally planned for August 27th, this year’s in-person conference has been canceled. We are exploring options for virtual events, and will keep you updated on changes.
Here are some virtual events that will still be held.
- May 7th is the E1 Ignite Cup Pitch Competition, hosted by Red Wing Ignite and their E1 Southeast Minnesota Partners. First place becomes an automatic MN Cup semi-finalist! Plus $500 cash from Great North Labs, 30 min. mentoring sessions from each judge, and a spot in the Startup School cohort from ILT Studios. Ryan Weber will be speaking.
- May 14th is gener8tor’s Lunch & Learn: VC and Fundraising Today. Rob Weber will be speaking along with Ann Winblad (Founding Partner, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners) and Sean Higgins (CEO, BetterYou) about the VC and startup financing future, post-COVID.
- May 14th is gBETA Milwaukee, Madison, and Northeast Wisconsin Virtual Pitch Night. Join the webinar to hear 5-minute pitches from the Spring 2020 startup cohort.
- May 15th is Walleye Tank: COVID-19 Showcase. Walleye Tank events are generally pitch events, but this one is in showcase format, with a focus on coming together to support COVID-19 solution initiatives. The showcase will highlight Minnesota innovators and community leaders stepping up to COVID-19 challenges. MN DEED Commissioner Steve Grove will speak, and 12-15 innovators and community leaders will tell their stories. The audience will be presented with various opportunities to help each of the leaders such as providing connections, mentoring, or funds.
- June 23-25th is Collision. Described by Politico as “The Olympics of Tech”, this massive annual tech conference is going virtual this year. With SXSW canceled this year, this may be the top tech event of 2020 after CES. Ticket prices go up today!
In response to COVID-19, Inhabitr has postponed pickups when necessary, increased sanitation for pickups, and offered contactless delivery. Inhabitr is also offering cleaning supplies to customers for delivery alongside their furniture rental. Featured in this article, “DTC, subscription companies step up sanitation practices in answer to COVID-19“, CEO Ankur Agrawal shared how Inhabitr is helping local furniture businesses, ““Since the next 90 to 100 days will be dark for most local stores, the subscription model gives them an opportunity to stay afloat.”
2ndKitchen’s new contactless delivery product for breweries, 2Go, was mentioned in this article.
PrintWithMe was profiled by AmericanInno in the article “Need to Print? This Startup Will Deliver Documents to Your Door“.
Dispatch is hiring a Director of Sales, Senior Manager of Enterprise Sales, Business Development Rep, Software Engineering Manager, UX Design Manager, Product Owner, QA Engineer, Senior Software Engineer, and Senior UX Designer in Bloomington, MN.
FactoryFix is hiring a Team Lead – Full Stack Developer, Full Stack Developer, and Infrastructure Developer- DevOps in Madison, WI; a Recruiter, and Business Development Rep in Chicago, IL.
TeamGenius is hiring a Customer Success Associate in Minneapolis, MN.
PrintWithMe is hiring a Regional Sales Director on the East Coast; a Software Engineer, Summer Strategy Intern (MBA), and Summer Strategy Intern (undergraduate) for Remote work.
Parallax is hiring a Customer Success Specialist, and Growth/Customer Acquisition in Minneapolis, MN.
Branch is hiring a Revenue Operations Manager, and Sales Development Rep in Minneapolis, MN.
NoiseAware is hiring a COO, VP of Global Sales & Account Management, Product Marketing Manager, UI/UX Designer, Account Manager, and Customer Advocate in Dallas, TX.
With unemployment soaring, small businesses shuttering, and even some large chains withholding rent, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are reverberating through our communities. Many people wait on relief from the government in the form of stimulus payments and unemployment benefits. Businesses scramble to secure emergency loans, payroll support, and new ways to gain revenue. Oftentimes lost among other dire news is the plight of nonprofits and charities, who languish as donations dry up and revenue-producing events are put on hold.
Cash and Equity Giving
Jack Dorsey’s $1 billion equity pledge is an eye-catching reminder of how important it is to support these causes and organizations now if you are able to. Many are dependent on revenue from events that can’t happen and donations from disposable income that has evaporated. Our Founders Pledge is built on the idea of baking giving into your venture as part of your short-term and long-term financial plans, to support your community, and to support the organizations that support you with a mix of cash and equity giving.
One nonprofit that can use your support at this time is the CentraCare Foundation. From now until May 30th, your donation to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will be doubled, due in part to a gift from our partners Ryan and Rob Weber.
Time and Effort Giving
During this time many businesses and leaders have risen to the challenge to support their communities through non-cash/non-equity donations. Our portfolio companies are also active in the fight, supporting local businesses, hospitals, and healthcare workers on the frontline. Here are four examples of their work.
1. Dispatch launched same day delivery for local businesses. This service aims to help alleviate supply chain difficulties during the pandemic
2. 2ndKitchen launched a new service to offer delivery for bars and breweries. This is a lifeline for these businesses when they have to be closed, with 2go allowing bars and breweries to sell beer, food, and merchandise for pickup or delivery- for free.
Clinician Nexus partnered with MN COVIDsitters to provide the technology platform that connects volunteer medical students with healthcare workers to provide free childcare during the pandemic.
4. PrintWithMe is holding a Face Mask Drive. The face masks, unused N95 masks as well as simple surgical masks, are being supplied to Chicago-area hospitals.
Giving for a Better Future
In consideration of the pandemic, the Webers have expanded the list of colleges they support to include North Hennepin Community College (NHCC), one of the largest Minnesota State colleges serving a very diverse student body with many low-income students. Ryan and Rob are alumni of NHCC, where they gained the skills that helped them bootstrap their own startup.
The Webers have donated $10,000 to NHCC’s Foundation to directly aid Graphic Design students studying product design, a program they see as well-positioned to fill the large UI/UX design talent gap in Minnesota and the surrounding region. Their support of this program goes beyond money to include volunteering as mentors, promoting awareness of NHCC’s Graphic Design program, and using their networks to help students connect with internships and employment opportunities.
We continue to support and evolve our own educational initiative aimed at filling the gap of disciplined startup education in the region, formerly known as the Great North Labs Startup School. The programming is now known by a variety of names, and collectively as the Lean Startup School. The new iterations have come about by partnering with Red Wing Ignite and ILT Studios. These partners have allowed us to develop the programming as a white-label offering to communities around the state, with a particular emphasis on Greater Minnesota. There are two cohorts currently, in St. Cloud and Red Wing, with more planned for the future.
We will get through this crisis, one way or another. Whether or not the federal government gets behind legislation that supports startups with an influx of capital, such as the New Business Preservation Act, there is a broad community of entrepreneurial support and a healthy, growing startup ecosystem in the region. We will continue to cultivate transformative innovations, successful entrepreneurs, and tech startups in the Upper Midwest!
Valuable startup ecosystem organizations we support include MN Cup, Beta.MN, Minnestar, SCSU University Foundation, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University, Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, gBETA Greater MN-St. Cloud, SingularityU Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Silicon North Stars. If you also find them valuable and you are able, please consider giving to them during this time of need!
The world is in the grip of a pandemic that is testing our health systems, our governments, and our economies. COVID-19, known simply as the coronavirus, has hit 700,000 cases worldwide, with the U.S. now topping the list of countries affected.
While a cure continues to elude us, there are practical steps being taken to limit the spread including social distancing, closing certain businesses, and encouraging/requiring people to stay at home. The resultant challenges for businesses, founders, and workers are great, and have driven immediate policy action including the recent passage of the CARES Act.
To help you cut through the noise, we have curated helpful links below for those in the tech startup ecosystem.
Resources for Startups
The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act includes relief for founders, and small- and medium-sized businesses, including emergency funds, forgivable loans, and tax credits. Here is a complete overview of the CARES Act by The Center for American Entrepreneurship. They also have a section-by-section guide available, and provide other links including to the New Business Preservation Act that they hope will become part of the “Phase 4” response.
The National Law Review published this summary of the CARES Act legislation. It’s written by a law firm and focused on employers, so it gets more detailed with taxes, credits, deductions, and etc.
The NVCA (National Venture Capital Association) has a COVID-19 page that includes Legislative Action Important to VC-backed Companies, Federal Agency Resources and Action, and other Resources for VCs and Startups. If you’re a startup looking to apply for SBA money, check out their guidance for navigating the SBA lending process.
General COVID-19 Resources
To keep people up-to-date on new developments during the pandemic, Axios runs a frequently-updated, concise dashboard here with only the latest developments.
The New York Times is providing free access to stories on the coronavirus outbreak.
Singularity University has uploaded recordings of it’s recent, three-day COVID-19 summit to YouTube. The summit featured global experts talking about the current state of the pandemic, future implications, and “Business Impact, Leadership, and Strategies for Today”, and attracted 23,000+.
Many events mentioned in previous newsletters have been rescheduled or cancelled, including gener8tor’s OnRamp Insurance Conference, Minnestar’s Minnebar 15, Medical Alley’s Annual Dinner, and MHTA’s annual Spring Conference.
While we are sure to see a lot of autumn events, some are shifting to virtual delivery.
- Apr. 2nd is gBETA Medtech Virtual Pitch Night. The companies will do a five-minute pitch followed by Q&A. The companies are: Anatomi, Laplace Interventional, Sandstone, StimSherpa, and Visana Health.
- Apr. 14-16th is IoT Fuse. This year’s conference has moved to a virtual format, with tickets now $20 (dropped from $80). “IoT Fuse is a non-profit (501.c.3) professional network of makers, innovators, and business leaders in the Internet of Things space. Based in Minneapolis, IoT Fuse is the largest group of its kind in the United States.” It includes two days of IoT workshops prior to the conference portion on the 16th, where Rob Weber is speaking on a VC panel.
In non-pandemic news, Dispatch was named #5 on Forbes’s list of America’s Best Startup Employers! The list includes the top 500 to work for in the country, and was whittled down from over 2500 startups.
2ndKitchen launched a new service to offer delivery for bars and breweries, which is a lifeline for these businesses when they have to be closed. 2go allows bars and breweries to sell beer, food, and merchandise for pickup or delivery- for free.
PrintWithMe is holding a Face Mask Drive. They are collecting unused N95 masks as well as simple surgical masks for Chicago hospitals.
Clinician Nexuspartnered with COVIDsitters to connect volunteer medical students with healthcare workers to provide free childcare.
Casey Allen has offered free help to recently unemployed tech people in Minnesota. The response has been large enough that he’s starting a newsletter that showcases MN tech startup people that are laid off.
Dispatch is hiring a Business Development Rep in the Twin Cities; a Director of Sales, Senior Manager of Enterprise Sales, and Interns for Accounting, Business Development, Content Marketing, Customer Success, Human Resources, and Software Engineering in Bloomington, MN.
FactoryFixis hiring a Full Stack Developer, Infrastructure Developer- DevOps, and Team Lead- Full Stack Developer in Madison, WI; a Recruiter, and Business Development Rep in Chicago.
TeamGenius is hiring a Customer Success Associate.
Misty Roboticsis hiring a Lead Qualification & Inside Sales Specialist, and an Inside Sales Specialist (contract) in Boulder, CO.
2ndKitchenis hiring a Production and Inventory Associate, Business Development Rep, and Account Executive in Chicago.
PrintWithMe ishiring a Web Developer (Python) in Chicago; and Super User Technicians in Portland and Houston.
Parallax is hiring a Customer Success Specialist, Quality Assurance Engineer, Senior Software Engineer, and Growth/Customer Acquisition in Minneapolis.
NoiseAwareis hiring a COO, VP of Global Sales & Account Management, Product Marketing Manager, UI/UX Designer, Account Manager, and Customer Advocate in Dallas.
The Innovation Ecosystem
At Great North Labs, we work to cultivate the next generation of leading tech companies across the upper Midwest. As a venture fund, this means deploying capital, providing startup intelligence, and utilizing our network to support and grow early-stage tech startups. We also provide low-cost training through our Startup School, in areas that we perceive an educational need, such as our Lean Startup Bootcamp currently running in St. Cloud.
This sort of development can’t occur through a singular entity, however, so Great North Labs supports a variety of impactful elements that are key to developing the tech community and innovation ecosystem. SingularityU, with 156 global chapters in 68 countries, is one of those organizations that we believe can be valuable to developing a transformative, globally competitive innovation ecosystem here in our region.
Great North Labs Managing Partner Ryan Weber is an alumnus of the SingularityU Executive Program, and regularly speaks throughout the region on exponential technology. He is a founding board member and Co-Ambassador of the SingularityU Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter (SU-MSP).
The chapter is holding its Kickoff this Tuesday, June 4th, from 5:30-8:30 at the Carlson School of Management. The event is to kick off greater collaboration and discussion around the use of exponential technologies for social good with local businesses, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Tickets are free and open to the public.
- Ryan Weber, Managing Partner of Great North Labs
- Mark Ritchie, President of Global Minnesota, and President & CEO of Expo 2027 (Minnesota’s World’s Fair bid)
- Cora Leibig, CEO & Founder of Chromatic 3D Materials
- David Williams, Chief Innovation Officer of Elements Group
MN DEED policy update
Speaking of innovation ecosystems, Google/YouTube alum Steve Grove is actively working to develop Minnesota’s. MN DEED will hold a legislative session wrap-up to talk about new initiatives coming with the new MN state budget. The wrap-up will be in a Facebook Live session on this Friday at noon:
-Angel Tax Credit is back
-New program “Launch Minnesota” to grow startups
-$40M in Broadband grants
–@SciTechMN Internships & robotics programs
-Regional startup centers”
June 4th– SingularityU Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter (SU-MSP) Kickoff. This event will kick off collaboration and discussion around the use of exponential technologies for the greater good with local businesses, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Great North Labs Managing Partner Ryan Weber also serves as the Co-Ambassador of the SU-MSP chapter, and will emcee the event.
June 6th– Polsky Innovation Showcase. Part of UChicago Innovation Fest, this event is the culmination of the New Venture Challenge at the University of Chicago, one of the top college startup accelerator programs in the country. Great North Labs Analyst Mike Schulte will be at the event and available for meetings.
June 10-11th– 2019 Upper Midwest ACG Capital Connection. This gathering in Minneapolis is for middle market professionals involved in corporate growth and M&A.
June 19th– OnRamp Healthcare Conference. Put on by gener8tor, this conference is focused on healthcare innovation, and will be at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI.
June 20th– Initiative Foundation Lunch and Learn. Ryan Weber will be presenting on disruption and innovation in the nonprofit sector at this community event in St. Cloud, MN.
June 21-23– ConnectUp!. “ConnectUP! MN is a two-day, culturally grounded gathering of curated underestimated entrepreneurs and investors that: learn and share with each other, engage in relationship-building, provide best and next practices from the field, as well as engage in active problem solving to build thriving, diverse, and sustainable enterprises and co-design an ecosystem that prioritizes equitable access to resources, capital and networks.” It is held in St. Paul.
PrintWithMe is new to the Great North labs portfolio. PrintWithMe is mobile-first kiosk printing for coffee shops, residential buildings, co-working spaces and anywhere pay-to-print printers are offered. This user-friendly service simplifies printing for customers, and makes providing a printer amenity easy for businesses.
Three Great North Labs advisors are new to the team!
Carson Kipfer is the Principal Designer and co-founder at SportsEngine. He is also the Co-Commissioner of the US Pond Hockey Championships.
Andy Johnson is the former CEO of NativeX. Before that, he was the President of Fingerhut’s Ecommerce division.
Patrick Riley is a film producer, and the former CEO and co-founder of Modern Survey Inc., and the former CEO and founder of Cyber Works Inc.
Our advisor, Julie Novack, had her startup PartySlate featured in Newsweek recently.
Dispatch is hiring all over the country (26 cities!) for Field Sales Representatives and Drivers. In Bloomington MN, they are hiring Software Engineers, Biz Dev, and a marketing intern.
TeamGenius is hiring a part-time Customer Success Associate in Minneapolis.
FactoryFix is hiring a Software Engineer in Madison, WI, and a Business Development Specialist and an Account Managers in Chicago.
Misty Robotics is hiring a Manufacturing and Repair Engineer and a Robot Repair Technician II to IV, in Boulder, CO.
pepr is hiring for Biz Dev – Outbound Sales in Minneapolis.
2ndKitchen is hiring a City Lead and a Full-Stack Developer in Brooklyn.
PrintWithMe is hiring a Business Development Executive, a Customer Success Manager, a Strategy Intern, and a Marketing and Operations Intern
Entrepreneurship is a proven capital-efficient way to build economic value and transform regions. Great North Labs believes that venture investment guided by a policy framework is the most efficient way to develop regional economies across Minnesota and the upper Midwest. Locally employing tech natives entering the workforce, and retraining the current workforce into tech roles with on-the-job training, is the most durable and sustainable way to build the economies in the region. We are hoping to invest at least 10% of our investments in opportunities that can deliver high returns and serve social criteria. Let us know if you know of a high-return, high-impact startup we should look at.