Minnesota’s Angel Investor Tax Credit Is Dead — And Why That’s A Good Thing

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As you read the words that form this opinion, know that we have a vested interest in the success of Minnesota’s technology entrepreneurs and the startup community at large. It’s formed with only the longest and strongest views in mind — extending beyond blind, blanket support in any form just for the sake of it.  Not all support is created equal as some methods have unintended consequences, moral or practical trade-offs to consider.

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Digi-Key Sees Secretive Welfare Handout Amidst New State Budget

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Minnesota’s $1.5 billion dollar/year electronics e-commerce distributor Digi-Key first announced the potential for a Thief River Falls expansion of operations back in March, 2017.

The pending one million square foot facility, possibly constructed adjacent to current headquarters, could cost between $200m to $300m and might employ up to 1,000 people within ten years. Maybe?

The uncertainty in this expansion comes down to the contingencies, as the lobbyist aptly noted, based on money from the public (accounts of the many) transferred to the private owners (accounts of the few) at Digi-Key, it was reported:

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Welfare Watch: April 2017

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Screen-Shot-2017-02-04-at-9.19.04-AM-300x239Welfare Watch is a monthly column for individuals, nonprofit and private companies in Minnesota’s tech industry that receive government (read: taxpayer) financial support—whether directly or indirectly.

This corporate welfare includes: tax incentives/abatement, grants/loans, reimbursements, subsidy, sponsorship, special favors, etc.

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Andamio Games Receives $728k SBIR Grant

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Via News Release

Screen Shot 2017-03-28 at 3.10.33 PM“Minneapolis, Minnesota: Educational technology innovator Andamio Games has been awarded a $728,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation to support the development of collaborative games and a virtual lab environment for mobile devices that will help high school students learn difficult-to-teach STEM subjects.”

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A Tale Of Two [BIG] Minnesota Tech Companies: Code42 vs. Digi-Key

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code42-crashplan“Though well aware of the available options, Code42 chose not take advantage of grants, tax breaks or incentives from city and state governments. Fortunately Code42 is a well-funded, private company  experiencing the type of growth that required extending its space in earnest. As a result, Code42 has been able to support that expansion with a fabulous space and great place to work.” (source)

VS.

logo_dk“Although Digi-Key is considering other locations for expansion, Thief River Falls remains its “preferred location,” said Rick Trontvet, Digi-Key’s vice president of administration and human resources. Digi-Key will give the city and state a chance to put together an incentives package before expanding the search to other sites.” (source)

DEED Doles Out $34 Million For Rural Broadband

by Admin

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Via News Release

“ST. PAUL, MN – Lt. Governor Tina Smith and the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) today announced grants totaling $34 million for 42 broadband infrastructure projects that will provide 16,627 households, 2,240 businesses, and 71 community institutions across Minnesota access to reliable, affordable high-speed internet. The new state funding will help level the playing field for households and businesses in Greater Minnesota by providing them access the same opportunities available to urban area residents. Governor Dayton and Lt. Governor Smith secured the $34 million to expand high-speed internet access during the 2016 Legislative Session, after first proposing a $100 million investment.”

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ASTER Labs In Shoreview Is Developing IoT For The Elderly

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By Richard Chin, St. Paul Pioneer Press

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-2-16-37-pm“Here are a few gadgets we might see in the near future: A where-did-I-put-my-teeth smartphone app to locate dentures equipped with special antennas. A hands-free car wash for your teeth. A robotic toenail trimmer.

It sounds like fodder for late-night infomercials.  But research on these devices is being conducted by scientists in a Shoreview company [Aster Labs] who typically work on aerospace projects.”

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