Updated: Three Minnesota tech startups to compete at midVenturesLAUNCH

by Mike Bollinger


Minnesota-based startups Inveni, Itizen, Workface, and now Qonqr have been announced as participants in the midVenturesLAUNCH conference to happen September 27-28 in Chicago, IL. midVenturesLAUNCH is currently the largest startup conference in the midwest, and it showcases the newest startup companies in web, mobile, cleantech/greentech and consumer products. Many of the companies accepted into the conference were notified yesterday, although participating startups are being announced on a rolling basis.

The midVenturesLAUNCH event attracts over 150 new companies on three tracks:

  • COMPETE: a startup competition with over $100,000 in cash and prizes;
  • mVDEMO: an area for early-stage startups to gain exposure; and
  • LAUNCH: later-stage VC- or angel-backed startups and established brands launching new products and services on the main stage.

Inveni, Itizen and Workface were selected to be a part of the COMPETE program. The startups will be judged during the conference by a panel that includes founders of Groupon, OpenTable, OKCupid, TheNextWeb and prominent venture capitalists. Then, the top 5 startups will be given 3 minutes on stage to pitch their company in front of over 3,000 attendees with a chance to win $100,000 in cash and prizes.

“We’re excited about this event,” said Aaron Weber, CEO of Inveni. “We’ve been gaining a lot of momentum and excitement from users lately as we gear up to launch our public beta. This event will be a great place to further our message and compete against some really great start-up companies.”

To be eligible for the event, each company applying had to be less than 3 years old and have less than $2 million in funding. The companies representing Minnesota are as follows:

Workface, which recently acquired Card.ly, is the company behind BusinessCard2. BusinessCard2 is working to be your business card for the internet. They want to empower businesspeople to create, promote, and broadcast their unique professional persona throughout the internet.

Itizen is an online service that provides a way to tell, share, and follow the “life stories” of unique and meaningful objects. Users place Itizen TRACKit Tags on anything that has an intriguing story. The tags connect the physical objects to their user-generated online stories that are co-authored by the people who make them, the people who own them, or anyone connected to them.

Inveni (formerly Open Preferences) was recently a finalist in the MN Cup competition. Inveni is a consumer web service for media (starting with movies and television) that allows users to discover new content, receive highly personalized recommendations (based on their custom taste profile), and share with friends.

As the winner of Startup Weekend Twin Cities, Qonqr has been awarded a position in the mvDEMO area. Qonqr is a location-based, Risk-like, mobile game played out over the face of the earth! Players are operatives who must capture geographic zones by deploying nanobots to help their army defeat the opposing armies and qonquer the world. Successful deployments, recruiting, and squadron coordination result in experience points that, over time, promote the operative through higher and higher ranks, providing more powerful nanobot options. Twitter Facebook

*Updated 11/21/10: Qonqr was added to the list

Disclosure: Inveni is a client of Livefront, a company I own.