Vugo Wins The 2016 Minnesota Cup High Tech Division

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Local rideshare adtech startup Vugo was just named the high tech division winner in this years Minnesota Cup competition. Cofounders Rob Flessner are Michael Dillon are happy.

It came down to 10 semifinalists in June, followed by three finalists announced earlier this month. Today, judges chose their favorite, which matched up with the majority of some 1,000+ votes our readers cast over the weekend.

As a result, they Vugo wins $30k in no strings attached cash money, bragging rights, and a shot at thousands more on stage at the finals awards event during Twin Cities Startup Week. Runner up Sezzle will receive $5k cash.

Comments

  • http://www.GoVugo.com James Bellefeuille

    It takes a strong community to build great startups that become great companies. The Vugonauts are excited about the opportunity to build a profitable high growth business based in Minnesota, and winning the MN Cup High Tech division is one more step towards that goal. Thanks go out to the many who have helped us along the way. Go Vugo!

    • Cat Cordero

      Are you really congratulating this company? Did you know that one of the investors, Zalmi Duchman, very recently owned a company called The Fresh Diet. He repurchased the Fresh Diet in March 2016, he had a big sale in April 2016, he waited just over 60 days, the amount of time most credit card companies give people to dispute charges, then he closed the company without notice to the employees or customers. He then filed for the Florida equivalent of bankruptcy. Worst of all, he set up the bankruptcy so the proceeds of the sale of the company and the assets would go to paying his own personal condo, not the employees, customers or other creditors. Now, inexplicably, they have won $30,000.00- presumably so they can ruin more lives!!!! But, maybe if you are really lucky, you won’t have the same thing happen to you.

  • http://www.ciceron.com/ Andrew Eklund

    This is a great company that I (and Ciceron) have been honored to work with. They’ve got a vision, a great product, and a sizzling market. Plus, let’s be honest, they’re just really good guys. Let’s see them go all the way!

    • http://www.GoVugo.com James Bellefeuille

      Andrew – Thank you. We appreciate the support and knowledge gained from the advertising industry experts at Ciceron, especially Ashley Evenson and look forward to doing more great things together.

      P.S. The team is still looking forward to your infamous pancake breakfast!

      • http://www.ciceron.com/ Andrew Eklund

        This pancake breakfast has been an ongoing topic of conversation on the Ciceron Slack channel. Let’s schedule it!

    • Cat Cordero

      Are you really congratulating this company? Did you know that one of the investors, Zalmi Duchman, very recently owned a company called The Fresh Diet. He repurchased the Fresh Diet in March 2016, he had a big sale in April 2016, he waited just over 60 days, the amount of time most credit card companies give people to dispute charges, then he closed the company without notice to the employees or customers. He then filed for the Florida equivalent of bankruptcy. Worst of all, he set up the bankruptcy so the proceeds of the sale of the company and the assets would go to paying his own personal condo, not the employees, customers or other creditors. Now, inexplicably, they have won $30,000.00- presumably so they can ruin more lives!!!! But, maybe if you are lucky, you won’t have the same thing happen to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kelly Kuhn-Wallace

    Congratulations on the Win, Team Vugo!

    Fellow Minnesotans, are we excited about the potential here? I am. Here’s just a small part of why:

    Remember when airports didn’t have advertising for anything except for….the airport’s own amenities? Airports-as-ad-platform sprung to highly profitable life at shocking pace. Vugo has a similar but much more significant opportunity to drive (sorry) an entirely new platform into the advertising arena. They’re in a position to own the channel if they stay nimble over the upcoming year and think inclusively about revenue streams. This, friends, this could be big.

    • http://www.GoVugo.com James Bellefeuille

      Hi Kelly,

      Thank you for showing your support for Vugo, you’re an honorary Vugonaut.

      The good news is that you’re not alone in thinking that Vugo’s Mobility Media™ technology has the potential to be HUGE. Vugo is the leader in the leader in the Rideshare Advertising space, I should know because I invented the term and have spent the last two years building Vugo with my co-founders, so I might be a little bias.

      However, According to a McKinsey & Co. study, data driven services like Vugo’s TripIntent advertising analytics technology will add 1.5 Trillion Dollars to the automotive industry by 2030. Vugo solves the challenge presented in the Bloomberg article; how will passengers of self-driving cars occupy their time when no longer driving? Our answer is turning shared for-hire driverless cars into mobile entertainment rooms allowing people to do more with their time in cars, from watching educational programs with your kids to catching up on the latest hot television series.

      We are actively collecting data as a leader in the rideshare advertising space today, and will implement our learnings and proprietary technology with self-driving cars tomorrow.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-04/ride-sharing-seen-helping-boost-world-auto-revenue-30-by-2030

    • Cat Cordero

      Are you really congratulating this company? Did you know that one of the investors, Zalmi Duchman, very recently owned a company called The Fresh Diet. He repurchased the Fresh Diet in March 2016, he had a big sale in April 2016, he waited just over 60 days, the amount of time most credit card companies give people to dispute charges, then he closed the company without notice to the employees or customers. He then filed for the Florida equivalent of bankruptcy. Worst of all, he set up the bankruptcy so the proceeds of the sale of the company and the assets would go to paying his own personal condo, not the employees, customers or other creditors. Now, inexplicably, they have won $30,000.00- presumably so they can ruin more lives!!!! But, maybe if you are lucky, the same thing won’t happen to you!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/casey__allen Casey Allen

    When people say “I wish more Minnesota companies had founders with huge, audacious visions” then they can shut up because Vugo has now entered the room.

    This will be a true, uphill execution play. But potential payoff is huge. Excited to see this play out. Congrats and good luck guys!

    • http://www.GoVugo.com James Bellefeuille

      @caseyallen:disqus – Thanks for the support. Vugo wants to be the company that turns Minnesota into the next Boston, we have some of the most talented and educated people in the world in our state, and already naturally pull from Wisconsin, Iowa, and The Dakotas.

      We have comparable wealth of accredited investors to both Colorado and Massachusetts, but lack the organizations and interested individuals to facilitate investment in high-growth startups. (Source:http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2014/01/minnesota-land-of-millionaires/)

      % of Households Earning $200K+: 3.8%
      Total households: 2,062,681
      Households earning $200K+: 77,772
      Median income: $55,956
      (Source:http://www.cnbc.com/2010/12/14/Where-The-$200,000+-Crowd-Lives.html?slide=2)

      As you said, The North needs more examples of bold and audacious entrepreneurs and startups coming out of Minnesota, Entrepreneur’s like myself coming back home from places like Chicago, California and NYC to start their companies in the Miracle City of Minneapolis – but we also need bold investors to support growth of new companies and our overall ecosystem.

      Few if any of Minnesota’s largest employers or GDP producers have been started in the last 50 years, Best Buy being a notable exception. Yet we have lost huge companies like Wells Fargo, Nash Finch and St. Paul Travelers among others. We need to encourage growth of valuable jobs for the college graduates we produce in Minnesota, otherwise we will have bigger problems as our state population continues to decrease.

      Vugo wants to be the first example of a high-growth, high-tech, technology company to come out of Minnesota in a long time, and hopefully making the infrastructure, capital, and confidence available to other Northern Entrepreneurs and investors to start building great companies.

      • Cat Cordero

        Are you really congratulating this company? Did you know that one of the investors, Zalmi Duchman, very recently owned a company called The Fresh Diet. He repurchased the Fresh Diet in March 2016, he had a big sale in April 2016, he waited just over 60 days, the amount of time most credit card companies give people to dispute charges, then he closed the company without notice to the employees or customers. He then filed for the Florida equivalent of bankruptcy. Worst of all, he set up the bankruptcy so the proceeds of the sale of the company and the assets would go to paying his own personal condo, not the employees, customers or other creditors. Now, inexplicably, they have won $30,000.00- presumably so they can ruin more lives!!!! But, maybe if you are lucky, the same thing won’t happen to you.

        • http://www.ciceron.com/ Andrew Eklund

          Congratulations for your cut and paste abilities. So, let me guess, were you part of Fresh Diet?

  • Cat Cordero

    Are you really congratulating this company? Did you know that one of the investors, Zalmi Duchman, very recently owned a company called The Fresh Diet. He repurchased the Fresh Diet in March 2016, he had a big sale in April 2016, he waited just over 60 days, the amount of time most credit card companies give people to dispute charges, then he closed the company without notice to the employees or customers. He then filed for the Florida equivalent of bankruptcy. Worst of all, he set up the bankruptcy so the proceeds of the sale of the company and the assets would go to paying his own personal condo, not the employees, customers or other creditors. Now, inexplicably, they have won $30,000.00- presumably so they can ruin more lives!!!!

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