Meet this years Minnesota Cup High Tech Semifinalists…and then some

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MNC10LogoBrownMinnesota Cup announced today the semifinalists for their 10th annual statewide business plan & venture competition.

Chosen from over 1,200 entries this year — 70 teams from seven divisions are moving forward for their shot at some of the $300k prize money, professional services and recognition.   While the ‘High Tech’ division winners are most relevant with our audience, there’s some software + hardware sprinkled throughout all of the divisions, once again.

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18 Minnesota tech startups raised over $31m in Q3 2013

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At least 18 different Minnesota tech startups raised in excess of $31m during the third quarter of this year, according to information collected and analyzed from the period of July 1 – September 30th, 2013.

The data includes on the record activity compiled from multiple sources, while actual numbers are estimated to be higher by investors who are not inclined to disclose their activity. While imperfect, it’s a solid proxy of current local funding activity and trends — consider it a worse case scenario.

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St. Paul startup Drive Power is raising $750k- $1m

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Drive PowerSt. Paul startup Drive Power is raising equity financing in the target range of 750k – $1m, according a recent SEC disclosure filing. $141k of which is reported as sold thus far.

The inspiration for and technology behind Drive Power’s mobile safe driving product DriveScribe stems from U of M IP, as it was spun out in late 2011 / early 2012 by then CEO Will England.

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Minnesota’s tech startup funding hits record highs – Q2 2013 Cap Review

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pile-of-moneySixty-one different local tech ventures raised over $65m during the second quarter of this year, according to verifiable information collected and analyzed from the period of April 1 through June 31, 2013.

Both the number of unique firms that received capital and the cumulative funding amount are the highest on record for Minnesota.

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St. Paul startup Drive Power names new CEO

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Drive PowerEarlier this year, St. Paul startup Drive Power changed hands from former CEO Will England to Augeo Marketing, who has been steering course since January.

Drive Power announced today that a new CEO, Mike Moen, has grabbed the wheel and will “accelerate national strategy.” Moen has been a strategic advisor to Drive Power for the past year and brings over 15 years of private and public sector business experience.

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Driver Power changes hands

by Mike Bollinger

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There is a new driver in place for Minneapolis-based startup Drive Power. Will England, the company’s former CEO and seed investor, is stepping aside and handing the wheel over to Augeo, one of the venture’s founding shareholders.

Drive Power was spun-out of the University of Minnesota’s Office for Technology and Commercialization in January of 2012 with intellectual property invented inside the University of Minnesota’s Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute.

The firm subsequently raised over $1 million in investment capital, including an 815k angel round in May 2012. Drive Power’s flagship product, DriveScribe, enjoyed national attention and press over the past year for its software platform that monitors, coaches, and encourages safe driving habits, with a focus on teenage drivers.

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This App Turns Smartphones Into Safe Driving Tools

sourced

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By Kate Freeman, Mashable

“We know that cellphones and driving don’t mix. Despite the accidents and known risks, 89% of teens say they reply to a text message or email within five minutes, driving or not. So can the technology responsible for distracting many drivers, also serve to prevent roadway collisions and close-calls?

A new app called DriveScribe turns your phone into a “driving coach.” Aimed in particular at helping those new drivers learn the rules-of-the-road, the app monitors speed, and blocks all texts, updates and calls while the car is in motion. It uses GPS, social media, real-time voice feedback and a jamming function to block texts and calls. The app will tell drivers to slow down if they’re going too fast.”

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Over 37 Minnesota tech ventures raised investment capital in Q2 2012

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At least 37 early-stage Minnesota tech companies raised a cumulative $28m in financing during the months of April, May and June according to information collected and analyzed for the second quarter 2012 Capital Review.

The data set represents a proxy of local investment activity into IT/High Tech: Saas, web/mobile, hardware and robotics systems.  It is imperfect, considering that there will always be undisclosed transactions and those which are off the record.

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Drive Power navigates to $815k angel round

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Drive PowerMinneapolis-based startup Drive Power has closed an $815k angel investment round through a combination of equity and convertible debt, according to CEO Will England.

Spun-out of the University of Minnesota in January, the venture is merging mobile, SaaS, and data into DriveScribe, which is slated to launch next month with “some of the largest insurance carriers and fleet operators both nationally and internationally,” England says. DriveScribe will aim to monitor and coach driving habits — while a data byproduct, The Safe Driver Score (SDS), will be “The FICO of safe driving.”

“Now the real hard work starts,” he says, noting that proceeds will be used for ongoing technical development and continuing to grow the team of statisticians and developers. Accordingly, the company is hiring for a Ruby on Rails lead and also an iOS engineer.
KC Associates

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