5 Minnesota Based Tech Services that Entrepreneurs Need to Know About (And Should Use)

by Casey Allen


Welcome to MinnesotaEventBrite dominates the market for all online-managed events that matter. Why use anything else? What else is there? For starters, in our backyard there’s a perfectly good alternative, and if using services made from fellow Minnesotan entrepreneurs is something that makes the inner geek in you happy — then this list is for you!

I’ve searched, probed and tested local technologies that entrepreneurs can use to grow their business and have found 5 to consider ditching the big name services for. Best of all?  You can buy the developer a shot of espresso without booking a flight.


Use instead of: VisualCV, Card.ly, LinkedIn (sort of).

The explosion of social networks has led to an explosion of online identity aggregators — a single URL that captures your entire online soul. Services have almost become dime a dozen. But since we all need to have an email signature and all entrepreneurs get googled weekly by prospective partners, employees, and investors, it’d be nice to have a service that actually does work for us. Something that doesn’t just sit there and link to the default LinkedIn and Twitter, but actually does something.

Business Card 2BusinessCard2 is a Minneapolis crew of 11 founded by Lief Larson which is shooting to be the business card of the web. The company feels walled gardens, like LI and FB, aren’t of much help to starters because you’re only as  strong as your immediate relationships. In addition to getting your own url, users can put the widget-like card anywhere. Think a banner ad + live chat portal + vCard that is advertising the most important thing in the world…you. Once you’re a card carrying member you’re officially part of their directory, which means you’re open for business, searchable to those looking to hire someone like you, and able to flaunt ratings from people you’ve done business with in the past.


Use instead of: Basecamp, SalesForce, IdeaExchange, FogBugz

As your team works on projects both on the business and development side, MileMarker helps you keep priorities straight at both the high levels and detailed levels. Ben Edwards, one of the developers, lays it out succinctly: “MileMarker streamlines getting from the idea to the action.”MileMarker

What I like about this SaaS product (just out of beta this week) is that creating groups is  straightforward which allows the CEO to manage multiple projects that he’s sharing with separate team members, no matter how small the team. It’s also the perfect tool for the one-man CEO to keep his personal roadmap on–crucial if you’re juggling multiple things on both the feature level and the project level which often compete in your time in unproductive ways.

MileMarker, based in Minneapolis, is a collaboration of Kirei LLC and Refactr.


Use it instead of: Dropbox, Mozy, Mesh, OfficeLive, Google Docs

WonderfileWonderfile, started by David Carnes of Minneapolis, is Google Docs on steroids.  If keeping documents (any documents) starts becoming hairy, Wonderfile’s tagging system makes libraries become quick-search depositories. He’s signed up the likes of the American Society of International Law as clients which use his service to help site  visitors find what they need, and has an open API to allow developers to pimp out the service to meet their needs.

What makes the service clutch is the use of tags. David’s obsession to quick retrieval makes working with over a hundred documents actually tolerable, something the     competition still lags on, allowing a rapidly growing company to either use it on the customer side, internally, or both.

Clove App

Use it instead of: Seesmic, SocialBlaze, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck

With Hootsuite, you must be online. With Seesmic, you can’t synchronize across devices or computers. Tweetdeck lacks an SDK. All of them require the software  company’s respective mobile app to read on the go. Welcome to Clove App who’s challenging all of that for both the reader and the publisher.Clove App

Headquartered next to Open Book on Washington Ave, Craig Condon, Tim Erickson, and Kim Garretson are aptly iterating on a wide-open ecosystem that will soon make up Clove App,  In Craig’s words, “…most of the time was spent building the architecture versus building a competing product against Seesmic, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite”.

Start using Clove App today and soon readers will soon be able to subscribe to your branded “scene” which allows you, the publisher, to bundle feeds together that will     be pushed to your audience.


Use it instead of: SignMeUp.com, EventBrite.com

ZapEventZapEvent is an online registration system designed to simplify the process of collecting data and credit card transactions. Our main focus is on the needs of endurance/athletic events but the flexibility of our tool is also utilized by conferences”, says Jeff Wedren, Minneapolis native and CEO of this five person, bootstrapped venture.

Since the bottom line is important to most organizers it’s worth noting that ZapEvent charges .6% less than EventBrite per registrant, which would equal $60 extra to the Summit beer fund for an event of 200 people at $50 per head.  Although the service works fine for charging for your business/social events I should add that their niche will remain with sporting events and that Jeff has no dreams of trying to be an EventBrite-killer.

What other local technologies should MN entrepreneurs be aware of and test drive?


  • http://linkup.com/ Eric Caron

    How about this one for the list:
    Use it instead of: Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, Dice.com

    LinkUp.com pushes companies to make sure that all of their job openings are on their company website – and that's all the company needs to do. Taking it from there, LinkUp maintains an active search engine for jobseekers to find jobs and then sends them straight the company's site. With iPhone and Android apps, a Facebook app used by companies like Microsoft, Intuit, USA Today and Hardrock Cafe, and the obligatory automatic tweeting, LinkUp simplifies the hiring process (all while pleasing your in-house SEO person since the only content you're creating stays on your site).

    Based in St Louis Park, and sister-company to the JobDig employment newspaper, LinkUp's revenue comes from an AdWords-esque system where employers can use CPC bidding to place their jobs in the “Sponsored Jobs” box at the top of the search results for relevant matches. LinkUp.com differentiates itself from other job boards because, like Google, you can't post to it – it only pulls jobs from legitimate company websites, giving jobseekers only active job openings without any duplicates or scams.

  • http://twitter.com/alttext Ben Edwards


    Use it instead of: Mozy, Cabonite

    It is a great service that lets individuals backup to their own computers or their friends' computers for free. Works on all platforms and has enterprise editions that are in use by Google, Apple, etc.

    Based in new offices in Saint Anthony right on the River in NE Minneapolis. Creators of CrashPlan, Code42 bootstrapped their way to success, never needed, or taking outside investments.

  • Dana Larson

    Here's another Minnesota-Based Tech Services company for the list

    Use it instead of: Basecamp, Central Desktop, Yammer, HootSuite

    OnePlace is a detailed team collaboration and business organization solution that allows all teams – from startup businesses to enterprise organizations – to effectively collaborate on their projects. OnePlace connects members of a team within its web-based system and provides them with features for professional collaboration and communication so the work completed is the best quality work possible.

    OnePlace is based in Shakopee, MN and has been on the market since 2008. OnePlace will continue to be the go-to business collaboration solution for entrepreneurs and startup businesses in the Midwest and beyond.