FIRST Tech Challenge Takes Place in Rochester for the First Time

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By Olivia York, ABC6 News

“For the first time, Rochester hosted the FIRST Tech Challenge competition.  Teams of 7th through 12th graders across Minnesota met at the Mayo High School to compete for a chance at the state championship of the Robotics Tournament. The FIRST Tech Challenge in Minnesota is part of the international robotics program that holds competitions globally.”

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Minnesota Drone Distributor Leading Edge Technologies Is Raising $1.2m For Precision Ag

leading-edge-technologiesWinnebago, Minnesota-based Leading Edge Technologies is raising $1.2m in a convertible note, with $300k committed according to SEC disclosure.

Leaving no stone unmapped, drones are taking crops by storm with their ability to provide small farmers with affordable precision ag capabilities.

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ReconRobotics Investors Agree To Reorganization

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By Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune

“Shareholders of struggling ReconRobotics have approved a reorganization the CEO said was necessary to avert liquidation in bankruptcy court.

A group of Twin Cities financiers, led by investment banker Tony Christianson of Cherry Tree Associates, previously bought a $300,000 Recon bank loan and will invest another $300,000 in exchange for 60 percent of the common stock.”

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Code42 Lays Off 30 Employees

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By Katharine Grayson, Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal

Code42 laid off about 30 people in the weeks after closing on an $85 million round of venture funding, but plans to hire dozens more workers.

Code42 CEO Joe Payne said the employees weren’t a good fit for the Minneapolis-based software company’s culture and new growth strategy. The cuts were across the company and didn’t center on any particular department or product.”

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Stratasys Subsidiary MakerBot Slashes Workforce Again

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By Sam Schaust, Twin Cities Business

“Eden Prairie-based Stratasys’ June 2013 acquisition for 3D printing competitor MakerBot seemed like a match made in heaven. Stratasys, with its dominance in commercial sales of 3D printers, and MakerBot, with its focus toward desktop 3D printing, complemented one another and were poised to be a force to be reckoned with.

But the 3D printing industry has been in a jam with sluggish sales, especially amongst consumers, which led MakerBot on Thursday to slash 20 percent of its workforce — the second such layoff by the Stratasys subsidiary this year.”

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ReconRobotics Tries to Right The Ship After A Big Fail

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By Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune

“By 2012, the confident executives of ReconRobotics had positioned the company, surging thanks to government contracts, as the poster child of a new Upper Midwest trade group, “Robotics Alley,” and the emerging industry of all things drones and robotics.

The future remains bright for the industry. However, ReconRobotics is broke.”

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Like to make stuff? Minneapolis/St. Paul Mini Maker Faire is for you

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By Richard Chin, St. Paul Pioneer Press

“A massive show-and-tell for an eclectic collection of DIYers, geeks, gear heads and others who just like making stuff will hit the Minnesota State Fairgrounds this spring.

Called the Minneapolis/St. Paul Mini Maker Faire, the May 29-30 event will feature more than 200 local and regional “makers.” Among them: “tinkerers, coders, woodworkers, crafters, farm hackers, artists, students, designers, chemists, roboticists, entrepreneurs, scientists, food inventors, metalworkers, educators, green technology creators, inventors, corporate designers and bicycle builders.”

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