Launch Minnesota has released a recap of a, well, let’s call it “tumultuous” year. Even ignoring all of the pandemic-related roadblocks Minnesota entrepreneurs have faced (as hard as it would be), a source of operational funds was also plopped on the chopping block — funding for Launch Minnesota was in serious question as it faced troubled governmental waters in the Minnesota Senate. Thankfully, Launch Minnesota was fully funded, paving the way for more Innovation Grants to find the pockets of founders across the state.

But that’s just one of the many stories that came from the Launch Minnesota camp in 2021. A new incubator, a new program specialist (who will be featured on The tech.mn Podcast soon!), tons of grants, a new “Build What Matters” initiative, and more.

Take a look at the full recap, and check out some highlights in the release below. We’re excited to see what 2022 and 2023 bring for Launch Minnesota.

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[ST. PAUL, MN] – Today Launch Minnesota released a 2021 recap that outlines the growth sparked by the state’s efforts to advance Minnesota’s startup ecosystem. The numbers tied to bolstering Minnesota’s innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem – including connecting startups to capital; supporting entrepreneurs statewide through the collaborative Launch MN Network; and expanding entrepreneurial expertise.

The data shows both a strong return on investment and promising trajectories for the startups who received grants and other supports through Launch Minnesota.

“The startup economy in Minnesota is growing and thriving, strongly supported by Launch Minnesota,” said Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Commissioner Steve Grove. “We’ll never take our foot off the gas in terms of supporting entrepreneurs, businesses, and the economy, but based on Launch Minnesota’s 2021 results, we have made great strides in supporting innovative startups, focusing on equity, and creating jobs.”

The startups supported by Launch Minnesota are creating jobs, winning awards, using Launch Minnesota grants to secure private matching dollars, and obtaining federal funding and angel tax credit investments. Key successes include:

Survey data from 47 grantees that fully used their funds since 2020:

  • Hired at least 37 full time employees
  • 49% secured private investment

PitchBook data: Grantees collectively raised $35M, representing a $9 return for every Launch MN dollar invested and a $40 return for startups that secured private investment

Overall stats for 2021:

100% of Launch Minnesota grantees said grant propelled their business forward

54 startups received almost $1.5M in grants matched with private dollars

Targeted founders received 67% of grants

$13M federal funding infused with the help of MN SBIR/STTR Accelerator

Issued $10M in angel tax credits to help 80+ MN companies raise $40M+ of private capital

Additionally, Launch Minnesota contributed to a connected ecosystem that benefits entrepreneurs and helps them expand their expertise:

200+ individuals joined the new Minnesota Exchange, powered by Kinetic, a local startup and Launch MN innovation grantee.

Lean Startup Education: Nearly 500 individuals trained through UMN Venture Builders and ILT Studios.

Discovery Launch Pad MN opened the incubator to 10 Launch Minnesota grantees – this was the first time they’ve served startups outside the University of Minnesota system.

6 of the 9 MN Cup division winners were Launch Minnesota grantees.

Late last year, DEED introduced a new initiative – called Build What Matters – to demonstrate the benefits of living, working, and launching a business in Minnesota. Businesses started in Minnesota contribute to communities across the state and country in addition to shaping the global economy. The results coming out of Launch Minnesota demonstrate precisely how Minnesotans are starting and growing businesses that matter in Minnesota.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website, the JoinUsMn.com website, or follow us on Twitter.