Afton family makes business out of robotics education

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By Avery Cropp, Stillwater Gazzette

“An Afton family’s obsession has grown into a new business in the form of Robot Adventures, LLC. Jeannie Badger and her family are about to embark on a new business venture to share their love of robotics with students in the area.

Jeannie Badger got involved in robotics and the competitive Lego robotics program called [MN FIRST] Lego League when her oldest son signed up for a Lego League team at Afton-Lakeland Elementary in fifth grade. She’s coached multiple teams over the past six years.”

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Customer-interaction tech firm Workface moves to bigger HQ

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By Katharine Grayson, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal

“Software company Workface Inc. has moved into larger digs and ramped up hiring following a round of funding.

The business recently moved into about 5,400 square feet of space in the Colonial Warehouse Building at 212 Third Ave N. in Minneapolis’ warehouse district. It relocated from about 800 square feet in Northeast Minneapolis.”

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A new CEO for Minneapolis enterprise SaaS firm Verify Brand

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Via News Release

“MINNEAPOLIS – April 14, 2014 – Verify Corporation, a Minneapolis-based software technology company, has named Michael Howe as its new chief executive officer effective immediately.

Howe was selected to lead Verify Corporation and its two main business lines, Verify Brand and Verify Engage, as a result of his extensive experience leading Fortune 100 companies and deep knowledge of digital solutions, software and marketing.”

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On the record with Accelerate MSP CEO Pam York

by Jeff Pesek

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PamYorkAccelerateMSPAccelerateMSP has lingered in the shadows for over two years since their Ohio precursor JumpStart failed at introducing a public-private venture development organization (VDO) in Minnesota.

After a year long CEO seach, the wife of an original AccelerateMSP board member was chosen to be the leadership face. The plan of directly investing into startups was scrapped in favor of a $750k annual budget for a “roll-up-your-sleeves approach to mentoring seed-stage companies.”

Local legacy media has attempted to provide insight around AccelerateMSP’s intentions [1][2][3], however absent of any real questions. We sat down with CEO Pam York for an on the record conversation:

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Movers & Shakers: Kelly Heikkila, Kinetic Data

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By Tim Nelson, Star Tribune

Kelly Heikkila is helping to strengthen customer focus in his return to Kinetic Data as vice president of products for the St. Paul-based enterprise management software system developer.

Heikkila rejoined Kinetic after it acquired his company, Minneapolis-based Coderow, which developed mobile and desktop Web applications and hardware-connected mobile applications.”

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Meet Minnestar’s newest board member: Alex Ryan

by Jeff Pesek

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AlexRyanMinnestar is known for some of the state’s largest and longest standing technology events, namely Minnebar and MinneDemo.

The organization has organically flourished since early 2000′s, moving from a grassroots initiative to an official non-profit.  As the scope and audience has grown, so has the demand for committed resources.

It was announced today that Alex Ryan has joined the board of Minnestar and we took the chance to learn more about her:

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Overnight Website Challenge Helps Non-profits Boost Online Presence

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By Cassie Hart, KSTP.com

“A good website can make or break a business sometimes. Dozens of Minnesota non-profits are getting a boost to their online presence, for free this weekend. Mark Malmberg with the Nerdery, an online design company in Bloomington, said the self-described “nerds” form teams of 10 web pros that show up not knowing what non-profit they’ll serve. Eighteen Minnesota non-profits are participating in the Overnight Website Challenge.”

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Edina-based ReconRobotics suffering from insolvency

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By Katharine Grayson, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal

“Creditors who say ReconRobotics Inc. owes them $9.5 million have asked a federal court to put the robotics firm into Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.  Edina-based ReconRobotics’ creditors include Winona-based RiverStar Inc. and Rushford-based RiverBend, affiliated companies both listing Stephen Craney as president.”

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St. Paul Students Qualify for National Robotics Competition

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Via KSTP.com

“It’s a first for the St. Paul School District, as a new robotics team not only made it to the regional competition, but now they’ve won the chance to advance to the national event.

The team called the MinuteBots has only been building robots for two years. Most of the kids are new to this, and they never thought they’d get this far.”

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Gopher Angels backs edutech Startup Naiku with $1m

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NaikuGopher Angels, lead by member Atlas Capital, has funded local edutech startup Naiku with $1,010,000 of a $1,020,000 round.

Naiku provides k-12 mobile assessment solutions that help teachers re-claim time spent creating, administering, and grading tests by automating the entire process.

“Naiku has made tremendous progress over the last 12 months and GA is confident that the management team’s strong background in the education field will lend success to Naiku’s EduTech platform,” said Gopher Angel’s managing partner David Russick.

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