Multiple MN Tech Leaders Are 2016 EY Upper Midwest Entrepreneurs Of The Year Finalists


Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 6.14.06 AMTwenty-four individuals from the state of Minnesota were named Entrepreneurs of the Year finalists for the Upper Midwest by EY, recognizing those “Who demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.”

Of those 24, five are Minnesota tech industry leaders:

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Multiple Minnesota Tech Leaders Named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Finalists



Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 12.28.55 PMErnst & Young has named the leaders of 20 Minnesota companies as finalists for its annual Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015 – Upper Midwest division.

“Each of the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015 finalists fulfilled a dream by turning a visionary idea into a successful enterprise. Now its time to recognize them for their achievements and see who will take home top honors,” says the global professional services firm.

In the technology sector, we’ve identified six from Minnesota competing for a top spot in the Midwest and ultimately US:

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Minneapolis dev firm MentorMate is spinning out a mobile startup


mentormate-logo1What started as a custom mobile development project inside Uptown-based MentorMate has grown into a standalone startup company.

BevEngine is the result of a collaboration between France 44 owner Rick Anderson and MentorMate CEO Bjorn Stansvik.

As a veteran liquor retailer, Anderson had initially hired MentorMate for a “purpose-fit loyalty app to deepen the relationship with customers.”

The results were so positive that the duo have decided to form a joint venture and scale it out.

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MentorMate ramps up hiring



By Katharine Grayson, Minneapolis-St.Paul Business Journal

Björn Stansvik got the idea for his first mobile application in 1999, when he was struggling to learn Chinese and wanted to carry language-learning software in his pocket.

The idea didn’t catch on as quickly as he’d hoped. But Stansvik’s early bet on mobile technology has more than paid off in recent years as the tech company he founded, MentorMate, has grown rapidly.

Minneapolis-based MentorMate will soon more than double the size of its headquarters with a move to about 11,000 square feet at 3036 Hennepin Ave.”

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MIDART Raising $750k for Three Screen Content Delivery – Television, Internet and Mobile


MIDART CommunicationsAn interesting startup called MIDART Communications recently closed on $270k of a $750k round, according to an SEC disclosure.

Based in the Twin Cities and founded in 2009, MIDART is an acronym for Mobile, Internet, Digital, Authentication, Retransmission and Timing.

“The company’s unique multi platform approach for distribution includes not only television but also station websites and viewer’s mobile devices,” the website vaguely describes. Low on specifics and high on promises — the venture isn’t shy about its ambitions:

“MIDART was formed to acquire and operate television stations that are under-valued or over-leveraged and create duopolies and triopolies when possible. The company targets stations in medium to large designated market areas in the United States, ultimately reaching 10% of the U.S. market, creating economies of scale.”

What makes this startup even more intriguing is the cast of names, which includes the likes of: meteorologist and serial weather tech entrepreneur Paul Douglas, MentorMate Founder and CEO Bjorn Stansvik and Digital River vet Todd Frostad.

An inquiry into the mechanics of MIDART has been sent and this post will be updated accordingly…

Once ahead of the curve, MentorMate’s iQpakk finds its sweet spot on the iPad


MentorMate iQpakkMinneapolis-based MentorMate commenced the development of a mobile e-learning system called iQpakk in 2000, patented the technology in 2001 and launched in 2002 on the Pocket PC, Palm and Symbian platforms. Built around Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning objective classifications, the mobile technology would revolve around three core components: the manager, the generator and the learner.

Recent Swedish immigrant CEO Bjorn Stansvik conceived an initial go-to-market plan in the advanced placement learning space and everything was in place.

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