Entrepreneurship 101: Be The Change You Wish To See

http://blog.timesunion.com/opinion/files/2010/10/1008_WVimmunity.jpgRarely, if ever, do such cries come from real entrepreneurs:

“The lack of startup support structure is letting down an entire generation.”

“Minnesota could do more to encourage, nourish and retain new startups.”

“We don’t have to stay in Minnesota and be blasted with terrible advice and disparaging feedback.”

“The early stage startup community has nothing to give right now except for the promise of Minnesota’s future.”

These expectations…and implied entitlement…are cancerous to the heart and mind of entrepreneurship. Worse, toxic to a community. Just because you wannabe an entrepreneur — because you care and try — doesn’t mean that someone else owes you time, advice, or money.

What successful entrepreneur ever got to where they are with such a perverse view of how business works?

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St. Paul City Employees’ Emails Will Be Deleted Sooner

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By Frederick Melo, Pioneer Press

“Public watchdogs are raising questions about the transparency of a new St. Paul policy that deletes most city employee emails after six months.  In addition to the six-month policy, St. Paul employees have been notified that emails they move to “junk” or “trash” folders will disappear in two weeks.

“Don’t save messages that are no longer useful,” a new employee training manual states. “Delete as soon as their purpose is served. … Keep what you need to do your work.” The new records retention policy takes effect Aug. 1.”

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Community Manager at Industrious Minneapolis, MN United States

Two Minnesota Hardware + Software Startups Partner on Data Security

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“Minneapolis / Rochester, MN – In today’s world of vulnerabilities, leaks and data thefts, Secured2 Corporation and LiquidCool Solutions have partnered to develop an end-to-end unhackable, disaster-proof data security solution. By marrying Secured2’s proprietary data security software and its “shrink > shred > secure” methodology with LiquidCool Solutions’ Rugged Terrain (RT) liquid-cooled, high performance, ruggedized computing system, businesses can be protected from any form of catastrophe whether environmental or well-entrenched hacker groups.”

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Twin Cities Fertility-Tracker Startup Welltwigs Gets Into Healthbox Accelerator

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By Katharine Grayson, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal

“Twin Cities startup Welltwigs is among 10 companies accepted into Healthbox’s digital-health accelerator program.  Welltwigs has developed a sensor and accompanying smartphone app that lets women identify the days they’re most likely to get pregnant. CEO Murtaza Lakdawala launched the company this spring.”

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VC Backed HomeSpotter Makes Homebuying More Social

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Via News Release

“July 30, 2015 (Minneapolis, MN) –​ Proclaiming that “Every home search is a conversation,” HomeSpotter today released a new version of its mobile real estate app that seamlessly integrates chat messaging with home search. Collaboration between home searchers and agents lies at the heart of the real estate process. The new HomeSpotter app makes it fast, easy and fun.”

HomeSpotter saw that their users were copying, pasting, emailing and texting properties all over the place as they went through their home search. “The process was still really messy,” said Aaron Kardell, HomeSpotter’s founder and CEO. This didn’t make much sense. “There’s lots of communication during the home search process. Technology should reflect that reality, not get in its way.”

HomeSpotter decided to combine their mobile property search experience with a familiar text message­ like interface so that working and communicating with others through a home search app was simple. With HomeSpotter, users can now share property photo slideshows, not just links, have multiple conversations between friends and family and even facilitate chat between two agents that have full access to agent­only listing information. All of this take place in one place within the HomeSpotter user experience.

“We were ‘mobile first’ before that became a buzzword,” continues Kardell. “Since our founding in 2009 we have worked with real estate brokerage companies and MLSs across the country to create a mobile search experience that rivals that of the big online real estate companies while delivering fresher, better property listings data. That foundation has set the stage for innovations like this.”

About HomeSpotter – HomeSpotter provides beautiful mobile­first home search to more than 250,000 real estate agents throughout the U.S. and Canada. HomeSpotter makes collaboration fast, easy and fun for agents and their buyers.

Local Startup DIVI Launches ‘Swipe To Share’ Charitable App

DIVIThe company is called DIVI, the app is DIVI UP, and the big idea is a charitable twist to the realtime location-based mobile deals model.

Like Groupon and similar apps — DIVI UP enables users to save money at selected restaurants, retailers and businesses that have partnered up with DIVI. When a deal is unlocked, there’s a certain amount of time to reedem it at the business and capture savings while benefitting nonprofits.

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Data ‘Nerd’ Sues Bloomington To Keep It Transparent

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By Jon Tevlin, Star Tribune

Tony Webster has been called a nuisance, a harasser and “an apparent agent of Black Lives Matter,” among other things. He says he’s just a policy wonk with a desire for government transparency.

“I’ve called myself a data nerd, and I don’t mind the term nerd,” said Webster, 28.

Webster is the local guy who recently sued the city of Bloomington, accusing it of violating the Minnesota Data Practices Act by refusing to give him information about the December protest at the Mall of America, which he believes is public under the law.”

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Entrepreneur 2 Entrepreneur: Clarence Bethea on Team

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Clarence BetheaThank you to Split Rock Partners for underwriting the Entrepreneur 2 Entrepreneur Series.

Clarence Bethea is the founder & CEO of Upsie, a ‘new way to warranty’ using mobile as a gateway to insurance providers.

Bethea doesn’t just talk about team, he’s stacks it — recently landing some big names, including former Code42 CFO Jason Bristow and Best Buy veterans Stacy Webb + Brian Dunn.

Why is the team so important to you?

Our team is the lifeblood of our company. They build the product, service our customers, and their passion and ideas deem whether we are successful. The “startup life” is already tough, and finding people that you want to bring into battle with you is very important. In this startup phase especially, the people are the company. They are working in many different roles to keep things moving forward and gaining momentum.

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Latest Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award Goes To Thermoelectric Wrist Device

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Via News Release

“MAPLE PLAIN, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The creators and developers [Embr Labs] of a wearable bracelet that actively cools or heats one’s skin for comfort, have been presented with the latest Proto Labs Cool Idea! Award, a service grant given to innovative companies by quick-turn manufacturer Proto Labs, Inc. (NYSE: PRLB). “

“The market demand for wearable devices is growing,” says Proto Labs founder Larry Lukis. “Wristify fits well into this niche and should successfully ride the wearable device trend. I see Wristify taking a prominent place next to another wearable bracelet that’s utilitarian — the Fitbit.” That could happen soon. Developers say that Wristify should be on the market in the next year. Retail price has yet to be determined.

Wristify’s concept is that the thermoelectric bracelet can influence a person’s perception of how warm or cold a room feels, by sending hot or cold pulses to the wrist. This provides personalized thermal relief directly to the wearer, potentially resolving those situations in which some people think a room is too cold versus those who feel overheated.

For now, people will use the device for personal comfort, though Embr Labs developers say the ultimate aim is to reduce the energy consumption of buildings, by cooling and heating the individual, not the building.

Sam Shames, one of four co-founders of Embr Labs, says developers are using the Cool Idea! Award manufacturing grant for various custom prototype parts from Proto Labs such as CNC-machined aluminum enclosures and Santoprene bottom components. “The prototypes we have built out from Proto Labs’ manufactured parts have been the best prototypes used to date,” Shames says. “The parts have been greatly beneficial in the prototype phase and we’ve been really pleased with the general aesthetic and design, which have a sleek look and feel to them. Plus, the functionality of these parts has been great.”

Since 2011, the Cool Idea! Award has provided more than $1 million in Proto Labs prototyping and short-run production services to entrepreneurs developing new products in the United States and Europe. Unlike other awards that recognize products after they’re in mass production and on store shelves, the Cool Idea! Award is meant to help innovative ideas come to life. For more information about the Cool Idea! Award and to apply, visit protolabs.com/coolidea.

About Proto Labs

Proto Labs is the world’s fastest digital manufacturing source for custom prototypes and low-volume production parts. The technology-enabled company uses advanced 3D printing, CNC machining and injection molding technologies to produce parts within days. The result is an unprecedented speed-to-market value for product designers and engineers worldwide. Visit protolabs.com for more information.

About Embr Labs and Wristify

Embr Labs was founded in 2013 by four members of the MIT Department of Materials Science and Engineering Department: Matthew Smith, Ph.D. ’12, Sam Shames, SB ’14, Michael Gibson, SB ’13 and current Ph.D. candidate David Cohen-Tanugi, PhD ’15. All are passionate about developing technologies that improve people’s lives and the planet. The Embr Labs team has benefitted greatly from the mentorship and support they have received from the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and the MIT Venture Mentoring Service. Wristify won first prize at the 2013 MADMEC competition at MIT, participated in the 2014 Global Founders Skills Accelerator at MIT, and were finalists in the Intel Make It Wearable Competition. For more information, visit embrlabs.com.

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