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Twin Cities Business: StartupLawyers.mn are 'business lawyers for geeks'

Dana Severson talks with Aaron Street of StartupLawyers.mn in his Feb. 22 Start Me Up blog for Twin Cities Business.

Street and Sam Glover are the attorneys behind the St. Anthony Main-based practice--self-dubbed "business lawyers for geeks."

The firm offers to entrepreneurs legal services packages ranging from $199 to $1,999 per month, rather than at an hourly rate, Street points out in the Q&A.

They also publish the law practice blog Lawyerist.com through their company Lawyerist Media.

Minneapolis one of three cities to get �America�s Next Great Restaurant�

Minneapolis, Hollywood and New York City will be the three locations of the winning restaurant concept to emerge from the upcoming reality TV series, "America's Next Great Restaurant," a Pioneer Press story reports.
The series, which airs on March 6 on NBC, will start out with 21 contestants who will compete for the financial support to make their ideas a reality.

Celebrity chefs Bobby Flay from "Iron Chef America," Curtis Stone from "The Biggest Loser," Steve Ells, the founder and CEO of Chipotle, and Lorena Garcia, a Miami restaurateur, will act as sponsors and mentors.

Minneapolis log data startup Rapid.IO raises $1.1 million

Minneapolis-based entrepreneur Thomas Grabowski has ridden the tech startup train from his Minneapolis basement to the West Coast and back again, according to TECHdotMN's Jeff Pesek.

Grabowski, who helped start LogLogic in 2002, has left the company and returned to Minneapolis to team up with Jason Destefano and Peter Jordan to launch Rapid.IO with the recent help of $1.1 million in equity, including investment from Vestbridge Partners and El Dorado Ventures.

Rapid.IO is a log analytics company that develops technology that helps businesses better utilize log data. The founders' vision is that "everyone should be able to understand their application data and � produce fast, good-looking, everyday reporting on their application's log data," according to the Rapid.IO website.

"� the complexity and volume of log data needed its own data structure," state the Rapid.IO folks. They advertise a new approach with a simple concept. "Indexing works great for Google and web pages, but not for information contained in log data."

You can find as much (if not more) information about Rapid.IO on the Rapid.IO TECHdotMN page.

Fast Company Feature: Hot Mama plans 50 stores by 2014

Locally based mom-and-tot boutique Hot Mama has ambitious plans for 50 nationwide stores by the year 2014, reports Stephanie Schomer in the February issue of Fast Company.

2010 revenue reached over $15 million, a 62 percent increase over 2009, and CEO Megan Tamte expects it to crest $20 million this year.

The company is headquartered at the site of its first store, opened in 2004 at 50th and France on the border of Edina and Minneapolis. Its website lists 18 current locations--11 in other Midwestern states.

Minnesota venture capital investments hit new low in 2010

The Business Journal's Katharine Grayson, who has been tracking venture capital investments in Minnesota, reports on the latest MoneyTree Report.

It's not good news: Venture capital investments in 2010 were the lowest on record since MoneyTree started compiling the report 15 years ago.

Nationally, venture capital investments were up 19 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. However, they were down 9 percent for medical devices, and Minnesota's concentration in that sector may help explain the drop here.

More at Grayson's In Private blog.

The Year in Minnesota Startups/Innovation

MOJO/Minnesota agitator Ernest Grumbles III has compiled a look back at the year in startup/innovation news in Minnesota. They include the debut of the state's angel investor tax credit, the creation of the Minnesota Science and Technology Authority, as well as the launch/growth of new media sources covering the state's startup/innovation scene (including us!). Read Ernest's full rundown and summaries on his Star Tribune YourVoices blog.

Should Twin Cities tech startups look to Chicago for inspiration?

Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reporter Katharine Grayson writes that no Minnesota technology startup raised venture capital in the third quarter. That sounds very bad, but Grayson notes that it's not surprising and, depending on who you ask, not all that important. The cost of building tech startups has fallen so much in recent years that some argue venture firms aren't needed in the equation any more.

But Michael Gorman, a partner at of Split Rock Partners, argued at a recent venture finance conference that tech startups still need venture funding in order to scale. He pointed to Chicago-based Groupon as an example. The privately held company has thousands of employees and projected revenue that could top $500 million this year. Is that type of success do-able without venture capital? Discuss over at Grayson's In Private blog.

Kelliher: Minnesota has opportunity to build on history of innovation, creativity

TECH.mn's Lauren Melcher spoke with the Minnesota High Tech Association's incoming president and CEO, Margaret Anderson Kelliher. The onetime candidate for governor will finish her term as Speaker of the House in December and officially begin her job with the association in January.

"We have a great history of innovation in this state, as well as the ability to sell that creative environment," Kelliher tells Tech.mn. "We also have quite strong link to the beginning of the computer industry, and we have the opportunity to both build off of that and go farther than we have in the past."

Other topics covered in the Q&A interview: startups, the digital divide, STEM education, and the gender imbalance in those career fields.

Can meet-ups, competitions and "unconferences" respark the state's innovation culture?

Minneapolis-St. Paul is witnessing a proliferation of D.I.Y. organizing around technology and innovation issues, The Line's Dan Haugen writes in this month's Twin Cities Business magazine.

From meetups and happy hours to competitions and unconferences, a new generation of institutions is rising up to support entrepreneurs and innovators in the Twin Cities. Enabled by social networking, these new efforts reflect the sensibilities of a generation that's grown up using the web to share and create. They're informal, usually free or inexpensive, and more about conversation than lectures.

Read the entire story here.

PBS takes on Twin Cities Public Television's pioneering 'Next Avenue' media concept

An idea developed by Twin Cities Public Television is set to be sprung on the nation next year via PBS. "Next Avenue" targets baby boomers first online then through television programming, the New York Times reports:

"The core of the project, called Next Avenue, will be a Web site with original and aggregated content from public and nonprofit partners--organized around health and wellness; money and financial security; and a category called living and learning--that is expected to start April 1.

"Some existing public television shows will be bundled together under the Next Avenue banner, but original television programming is not planned until the third year. Community events coordinated by local public television stations will also be part of the package.

"The initiative, which is based at Twin Cities Public Television, the public station in Minneapolis-St. Paul, has some deep-pocketed foundations backing its development with $5 million in grants, which is a fairly typical public broadcasting approach. But to make Next Avenue self-sustaining once it starts up, organizers are forming a new sponsorship approach for public television, which is often a difficult sell to marketers used to buying commercial time on more ratings-driven networks. ...

"Next Avenue grew out of Twin Cities Public Television's 2004 award-winning documentary for PBS called 'The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's,' and its series, 'Life (Part 2),' also on PBS, about the generation's fresh approach to aging."

Read the full article here.

Minnesota Cup grand prize goes to EarthClean's nontoxic firefighting gel

EarthClean Corp. is the winner of the 2010 Minnesota Cup.

The Minneapolis startup, which we wrote about last month, makes a nontoxic, biodegradable alternative to conventional firefighting foams.

The product, TetraKO, is a patented dry-mix product that, when mixed with water, forms a non-toxic gel that sticks to surfaces and suppresses flames.

The Star Tribune's Patent Pending blog notes that the company will receive an additional $20,000 in prize money in addition to the $20,000 it won early this month for winning the clean tech division.

CEO Doug Ruth tells the Star Tribune's Patent Pending blog that he plans to use the money for sales and marketing.

Itizen gets attached to story in the New York Times

This week's Consumed column in the New York Times Magazine takes a look at how people are using new web services to attach stories to their things.

One of the services is by a St. Paul startup called Itizen, which launched in beta in June. Users can affix a tag to any item, and when someone enters the tag's code on its website, it displays a story or anecdote about the item.

Co-founder Dori Graff tells the magazine that they were interested in how brands were using new forms of bar codes, and also noticed they were doing more swapping of clothes and other items in their personal lives. "Our big superlofty goal would be to influence a shift in how people view their possessions," Graff told the magazine.

State has awarded $573,000 in angel investor tax credits during first month

MedCityNews' Thomas Lee concludes that Minnesota's angel investor tax credit is performing "exceedingly well" through its first month. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development awarded $573,000 in the past month. That puts the state on pace to award about $6 million over 12 months--less than the $11 million allocated for the credit this year but encouraging considering the climate.

DoApp founder takes experience at Google, makes whoopie cushion app

Minneapolis-based DoApp is included in a Mashable list of startups by former Google employees. Joe Sriver was Google's first user interface designer before he founded DoApp, which, as the blog notes, is the creator of the Whoopie Cushion App, among others. The company has also developed a product to help news organizations create custom mobile apps.

Startup Weekend organizer reveals speaker list for Sept. 17-19 event

Jeff Pesek at Tech.mn checked in with Shane Reiser, who is organizing Startup Weekend in the Twin Cities Sept. 17-19. The event challenges up to 100 participants to build a startup in 54 hours.

Speakers confirmed so far include Geek Squad founder Robert Stephens, Jon Dahl, co-founder of Zencoder, and MixMobi co-founder Lisa Foote (whom we checked in with a few weeks ago.)

Reiser tells Tech.mn that he's seeing more early interest in Startup Weekend in the Twin Cities than any other city where he's organized the events, including New York City.

More details over at Tech.mn.
73 Entrepreneurship Articles | Page: | Show All
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