Having previously featured 9/10 of last night’s Minnedemo presenters, today is less on what our audience already knows about these unique Minnesota startups (videos below) and more on cultural impact of last nights big event on Minnesota’s tech community.
Relatively few were paying attention in the beginning when a small group of enthusiasts would gather somewhere like the (then Franklin Ave) Acadia Cafe or Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant to share their budding projects with peers; based on a historical context of the past three alone, one thing is clear: Minnedemo is now on a whole new level.
First and foremost, the collective caliber of the technology is noticeably improving event to event. An obvious indication would be that 7 out of 10 of last night’s startups have already received investment capital to one degree or another (some of which are still actively raising). In comparison to last years reels, this round of demos-turned-pitches was much more refined and deliberate. With the exception of one, perhaps the raddest and most talked about of them all, these are legitimate startups that have earned the chance to get in front of such a captive audience of Minnesota tech movers and shakers.
Although a part of me misses the thrill of standing on the top rung of a 1980’s aluminum roll-out bleacher that’s double its weight limit (bonus points for interwoven electrical cables), last night’s venue was top notch! And while geeks don’t really care where they are, one important piece of the Minnesota tech ecosystem does: investors. The decision to host the event downtown at UST’s state-of-the-art auditorium was key and more investors came out than ever before. Beyond capacity and comfort, it carried a professional aura which does appeal to a certain audience, make no mistake about it.
Now considered a non-profit, the dynamics of the Minne* organization have changed in a way that will only set the stage for bigger and better things to come. Alongside the Edwards, Francl, Peirce trio, official Minne* board members now include Kevin Spreng, Jamie Thingelstad and Rob Weber — in addition to a (more formalized) informal board of advisors. The entity is taking shape in a way that will allow the catalysts to do what they do best with an infrastructure of support to fuel exponential Minne* growth, should that be desired.
Regardless of whether or not legacy media considers the movement newsworthy is irrelevant by now, as the community increasingly knows where to turn. Organically matured to a tipping point where enough of the right people have become engaged, the Minnedemo story speaks for itself, further perpetuating momentum. The inherent value of participating in Minnesota’s premier startup event combined with this reverberating buzz means that entrepreneurs stand to gain more relevant exposure than ever before — throughout Minnesota, across the country and around the world.
If the raw energy, massive attendance (300+) and multitude of new faces means anything, then Minnedemo’s awareness has alone has reached a new level, but I think there’s more to it than that…
Minnedemo Winter 2011 presentations:
Minnesota Hockey Hub / TST Media