Over 20 Minnesota Tech Startups Funded in the First Quarter of 2011

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Minnesota tech fundings

According to our quarterly analysis of the local entrepreneur/investor landscape, over 20 early-stage Minnesota tech firms received investment capital during the first three months of 2011.

At least $38m in total funding was procured by Minnesota’s high tech sector alone from January through March — largely skewed by Cima NanoTech’s $15m D round, 8thBridge’s $10m series B and RedBrick Health’s $5.7m raise. The remaining 18 startups raised just over $7m combined, for an average round of $388k.

Things are not as bad as the legacy media makes them out to be — but misery loves company and you are free to follow shallow opinion if it supports your prejudice.  Another recent, and slightly more useful attempt, paints an incomplete picture of what’s really happening within the industry.  Since most of the action is on the ground-level, our coverage extends beyond “VC” (definition please?) to include seed-stage funding on up.

A reported ten tech deals representing $3.3m were facilitated under the umbrella of the Minnesota Angel Investor Tax Credit (date=UNK).  The data does not factor off the record and undisclosed transactions; any relevant PWC MoneyTree data will be updated accordingly.

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Movie And Music Recommendation Startup Inveni Closes $483K Funding Round

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By Rip Empson, TechCrunch

“Minnesota-based startup Inveni announced today that it has closed a $483,333 seed funding round led by a group of Silicon Valley investors, who asked to have their identities remain confidential. Be that as it may, the latest round of funding brings Inveni’s total to $1.7 million.”

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Relatively old news for our audience, but great exposure to a much bigger one for Inveni!

Inveni Grabs More Cash

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inveniMinnetonka-based startup Inveni recently picked up an additional $283k, adding to the $200k from late 2010, according to SEC filings & co founder Aaron Weber.



In short, Inveni is a consumer web service for media that facilitates personalized discovery and empowers word-of-mouth. Users can discover new content, receive highly personalized recommendations based on a custom “taste profile” and share this information with friends in the online social setting.

Looking into the nuances, a total of four investors have gone in thus far on the $700k (target) first round.

From Aaron Weber’s previous roots with W3i, to being a 2010 Minnesota Cup high tech division finalist, through a name change and simultaneous TechCrunch/ midVentures launch — Inveni has to be one of Minnesota’s most widely known startups by now.

“We are excited about closing our seed round and about the relaunch scheduled for quarter two,” says Weber.

Over $60m Raised by Minnesota High Tech Ventures in 2010

by Zach Robins

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moneytreeDespite a year’s worth of articles bemoaning the condition of U.S. venture capital investing (see here and here and here), venture capital firms invested $21.8 billion nationally in 2010 (3,277 total investments), according to the National Venture Capital Association & PwC’s annual MoneyTree report.

This represents a 19% increase in dollars invested over 2009.

Minnesota’s 2010 story ends quite differently. Cross-sector startups raised a collective $140 million, marking a 48% drop from 2009, and the lowest Minnesota amount since the MoneyTree reporting began 15 years ago.

For 2010, TECHdotMN documents 42 unique high tech deals (IT, SaaS, web/mobile, digital media, hardware, telecom), totaling in excess of $60m invested in Minnesota-based technology companies throughout last year. Excluding Cymbet’s $31m round, 36 different ventures raised approximately $30m combined in 2010, or $857k per average round, according to the data.*

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A New Level for Minnedemo

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MinneDemo

Having previously featured 9/10 of last night’s Minnedemo presenters, today is less on what our audience already knows about these unique Minnesota startups (videos below) and more on cultural impact of last nights big event on Minnesota’s tech community.

Relatively few were paying attention in the beginning when a small group of enthusiasts would gather somewhere like the (then Franklin Ave) Acadia Cafe or Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant to share their budding projects with peers; based on a historical context of the past three alone, one thing is clear: Minnedemo is now on a whole new level.

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Updated: Presenters Added – MinneDemo is Back on January 13!

by Mike Bollinger

MinneDemo

The 9th production of MinnDemo will take place on Thursday, January 13, 6:00pm at St. Thomas’ Schulze Hall.

MinneDemo happens roughly 2-3 times per year to showcase real, working technology products made in Minnesota. In January, ten companies will give 7-minute demos of functional hardware and/or software. In addition to the Minnesota tech buzz, the event is known for facilitating some of the best startup networking in town.

Organizers Ben Edwards and Luke Francl have moved the event to St. Thomas from its previous location at Intermedia Arts in Uptown. “We’ve had such a huge level of interest in this event that we’ve needed to move it around as space has become an issue. We’re always looking for better venues,” said Ben. In the past the event has been held at Chang Mai Tai, Acadia Cafe (before it moved), O’Gara’s, and Intermedia Arts.

Updated 1/5/10 12:45 – The 10 demonstrations include:

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New Web Service Inveni Solves the What- to-Watch Conundrum

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By Jennifer Van Grove, Mashable

“Quick Pitch: Inveni is a discovery engine that gives highly personalized recommendations based on a user’s universal taste profile and recommendations from friends.

Genius Idea: What movie should we rent? What should we queue up on Netflix? Is that new television show worth watching? These are questions that plague singles, couples and families the world round. Newly launched startup Inveni exists to weave the interests we’ve expressed elsewhere on the web into a fabric of intelligent movie and television recommendations.”

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From San Francisco to Chicago, Inveni ready to unveil public beta

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Over a year in the making, Minnetonka-based startup Inveni will simultaneously launch its public beta today at San Francisco’s TechCrunch Disrupt (demopit/startup alley) and midVentures LAUNCH conference in Chicago.

The web service for media (movies and television) allows users to discover new content, receive highly personalized recommendations, and share with friends. In short, it’s all about finding you a show to watch tonight based on everything you already know you like or dislike.

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Updated – Dispatches from the RAIN Makers Conference

by Mike Bollinger

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RAIN Makers Conference

Over two non-stop days, a number of Minnesota tech entrepreneurs are commingling with accredited investors at the RAIN Maker’s Conference in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Hosted by RAIN Source Capital, the theme of this year’s 7th annual gathering is focus—where to expend capital and time to maximize future returns.  Richard Sudek, Chairman of Tech Coast Angels gave Thursday’s keynote and Keith Kegley from the XPrize Foundation delivered Friday’s closing remarks.  Five Minnesota technology start-ups are exhibiting at the event, in alphabetical order:

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