Mike Bollinger is stepping down from TECHdotMN

by Mike Bollinger

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Dear Minnesota Tech Community,

Today is my last day at TECHdotMN.  After careful consideration over the past 12 months, I am stepping down from my position as co-founder.  I have invested deeply in this company, but not having editorial control over the content published on our platform has helped me come to the decision that now is the time for me to move on.

<span style=”font-weight: 400;”>Nearly nine years ago—on January 1, 2010—we launched with a mission to increase the awareness of what is happening in Minnesota tech, with an emphasis on the startup culture. Over the past decade, we have tirelessly told the stories of entrepreneurs in this state.  I co-founded TECHdotMN to celebrate, lift up, and support entrepreneurs through content and events that made a positive impact on the trajectory of technology in this region. My hope is, and has always been, that this labor of love would be a catalyst for promoting and encouraging the next generation of Minnesota do-ers, risk-takers, and those bold enough to try this thing called entrepreneurship.

Since 2010, TECHdotMN has

  • interviewed thousands of companies and founders.
  • raised over $50,000 via our BRIDGEdotMN program to serve underprivileged youth with a computer, internet access, and training.
  • donated profit from our events to CodeSavvy, supporting kids and teens entering technology.
  • hosted over 40 events including our flagship investor conference Midwest Capital Call, CTO dinners, Startup Schools, and many others.
  • organized 9 Startup Weekends, where local entrepreneurs jump started amazing companies like HabitAware, Hidrate, QONQR, Docalytics, and more.
  • helped match local talent with over 3,500 Minnesota tech and design jobs on our jobs board.
  • tracked and reported almost $2 billion of capital raised by Minnesota tech companies
  • helped launch Twin Cities Startup Week as a founding organizer and partner.

We did all this as entrepreneurs, running TECHdotMN as a sustainable, profitable business, just like the entrepreneurs we tell stories about.

TECHdotMN will continue to operate after my departure; my former business partner Jeff Pesek will fully own all aspects of the business.

A word of thanks

First, thank you to our audience and the broader community.  Thank you for supporting me, and us, along the way. We couldn’t have done it without our sponsors, nor without our readers and the people who make up this community.

Second, even more importantly, thank you to the entrepreneurs in this community—those who are in the daily grind of making it happen and putting Minnesota, and themselves, on the map.

Since 2010, we have witnessed a sea change in Minnesota tech startups.  We are positioned better than we have ever been to make Minnesota a more vibrant, more active, more diverse, more respected, and more respectful place to start a company and succeed as an entrepreneur.  Entrepreneurs lead entrepreneurial communities, so hats off to those who are leading authentically.

We still have a long way to go as a community, but I believe more than I ever have that we are a thriving ecosystem, and we still have so much potential for improvement and growth.  I choose to see Minnesota tech startups, the Minnesota tech community, and the potential we all have as individuals—and as a collection of individuals working to lift each other up—through the lens of optimism, generosity, and abundance.  I hope that you do too.

Finally, thank you to Jeff, my business partner of 9 years. His energy and dedication are what made launching and building TECHdotMN possible in the first place.

A word on what’s next

Although the TECHdotMN chapter of my life is coming to a close, I intend to stay as active in the community as I ever was.

First and foremost, I’ll continue to run Livefront as founder & CEO, right alongside the entrepreneurs in this community I’ve been cheering on for the past 9 years.  

But beyond that, I—and the team at Livefront—will continue to contribute in the same way we always have: as advisors to numerous Minnesota startups; as mentors for startup accelerators like  Target Techstars Retail and Gener8tor; as investors in the Matchstick Fund and Great North capital funds; as sponsors and partners in the Beta.MN Bridge program where we facilitate connections between startups and large corporations; as leaders of Mobilize MN, a community meet up for digital product managers; as hosts and co-founders of TC Hack, a monthly hack night for seasoned developers and those just getting started; as co-founders of Smart Factory, a community collaboration and classroom space; as collectors and curators of FinalPass, a lab of mobile devices we offer to the community for use in testing digital products; as a lead sponsor of Minnestar, Beta.MN, Twin Cities Startup Week, and many other organizations strengthening our local  tech ecosystem; and as supporters of Technovation, donating our office space to their cause of helping young women learn skills necessary to become tech entrepreneurs and leaders.

I hope my contributions—and our contributions—thus far have left you in a better space, and Minnesota in a stronger place. Here’s to moving forward, together.

Gratefully yours,

Mike


Contact me at mike [at] livefront [dot] com

 

Comments

  • http://tech.mn Jeff Pesek

    Mike – I can accept that now is the time for you to change because our interests have diverged to the point where it doesn’t make sense for you continue.

    I’m glad that we found each other when we did and managed to make it last through so many of the ups and downs. We were partners for almost a decade. It’s remarkable that we stayed together for so long, what a life lesson in business marriage. Congrats on your exit.

    You did so much with what you could and for that I am eternally grateful. You are an incredible human for the positive impact you’ve had on the Minnesota Tech community so far. May you continue to find success with what you do and bring happiness to those you touch.

    Thank you for being there while you were :)

  • Grady

    Mike you’re a cool guy and a very good designer from all I hear, and your presence in the MN start up scene is foundational. Keep doing what you’re doing I’m confident that you’ll have many more opportunities to benefit the MN community. What an impressive list of accomplishments so far!

  • Zach Robins

    Thx for all your great work, Mike.

  • http://thebigidea.com/ TheLittleDuke

    Mike thank you so much for your service to the community over the years! Through your own work with LiveFront you’ve certainly shown that success is not only possible, but PROBABLE when you show up everyday, do the work and maintain a humble sense of self without compromising your integrity. It’s been said that “Every exit is an entrance into someplace else” and that Lao Tzu tells us that when we let go of what we are, we become what we might be. I’m certain that where you go from here will be a path worth following.

    Cheers!

    -dvd

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