BETA — a Twin Cities non-profit that both heads up Twin Cities Startup Week and runs its BETA Cohort, which helps startups grow their businesses — has long lived on the front lines of the Minnesota startup community. tech.mn, a content hub for all things innovation, meanwhile, has forever existed to share the thrilling stories behind some of Minnesota’s most exciting and innovative new companies.
Now, in an exciting move to further amplify awareness around innovation in the Minnesota startup community, the two companies have joined forces: BETA recently announced they’ve officially acquired tech.mn.
According to BETA’s Executive Director Casey Shultz, in acquiring tech.mn, BETA is now positioned to spread awareness of the developments within the Minnesota startup community at a much-larger scale. “At BETA we’ve always been focusing on accelerating the success of Minnesota startups,” Shultz says, “and one of the components of our impact that was missing was our ability to tell the story on a larger scale of all the great things that are happening in our ecosystem.”
“Bringing on tech.mn is in direct support of part of our mission which is, how do we tell more stories about the goings-on in the Minnesota startup community?” Shultz continues. “Our goal at BETA is to create the next Fortune 500 companies by investing in our startup community. So we need to be making sure we’re bringing in the next Medtronic, the next Best Buy, the next Target. And we see tech.mn as an extension of that work via telling inspiring stories.”
Where tech.mn had long centered its coverage primarily on tech-related startups, Alex Skjong, Content Manager at tech.mn, strongly believes that via its new partnership with BETA they can now greatly broaden the scope of their coverage. “While we’ll continue covering tech startups and tech companies across Minnesota, I would like to now broaden coverage to any type of company that calls itself a startup,” Skjong explains. “Whether it’s a paper company or something in the culinary vertical, it’s all fair game now.”
At its core then, the merger allows the Minnesota startup community to expand the scope of an already-premier storytelling platform. As Shultz sees it, tech.mn has been and always will be an essential resource for those already fluent in the happenings of the Minnesota startup community but it’s especially key asset for those first being introduced to it.
“When you’re thinking of a person who is new to the community or new to entrepreneurship or new to innovation and they don’t know where to go, we want tech.mn to be the first stop,” Shultz says.
This merger also directly points to the benefit of collaboration within the startup community — two companies, now under one umbrella, who can each expand the scope of the other’s work. In assessing the Minnesota startup community, Skjong, the tech.mn content creator says, “I think we’re all getting way better at recognizing that we can all do our own thing while also helping one another. I hope we can use this platform as more of an amplification tool to get out to a larger group and a larger community. Because ultimately, the more people we can welcome into the startup and tech community, even if they’re not actively participating in terms of being founders themselves, it’s just going to make for an overall healthier ecosystem and more people that can support more companies.”
Prior to the recent acquisition, tech.mn was owned by SureSwift Capital, a SaaS-focused holding company that principally acquires SaaS businesses from independent founders and takes them to the next stage of growth. SureSwift’s CEO, Kevin McArdle, admits tech.mn was always a bit of an outlier in his company’s portfolio of primarily software companies. To that end, he’s thrilled to have found a new partner in BETA to help breathe new life into it.
“I didn’t want this wonderful asset to be an outsider in this portfolio,” McArdle notes of tech.mn. Now however, “BETA has every incentive to give it the attention it deserves,” says McArdle, who recently accepted an invitation to join BETA’s board of directors. “It’s just a better fit inside their company.”
“It was an obvious business fit where the two businesses compliment each other and don’t compete with one another,” McArdle continues of the BETA and tech.mn partnership.
What this acquisition also represents is the ability for someone within the Minnesota startup community to have a truly full-circle experience.
Amplifying tech.mn is, at its core, “an opportunity to get people plugged in,” Shultz says. “And then hopefully through tech.mn they’re hearing about Twin Cities Startup Week and want to participate. Then, when they decide to start a company, they will know that BETA is a great place to go and do a cohort or a startup accelerator.”
Shultz smiles and adds, “It then becomes this full life cycle from inspiration to action.”