Postcards from the cutting edge

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By Wendy Lee, Star Tribune

Entrepreneur Zack Steven says when he’s on business trips, mailing postcards can be a hassle.

First, he must find a store that carries them. Then he has to write them out, stamp them and mail them.

“If I actually want to do this, it’s kind of complicated,” Steven said.

Steven is aiming to make all that easier with his new business, St. Paul-based Zyngram.”

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Education technology firms take center stage at Minnesota forum

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By Wendy Lee, Star Tribune

“Minnesota has the potential to become a center for education technology, organizers at the EduTech Showcase and Forum said on Wednesday.

The event, aimed at bringing together entrepreneurs, investors and educators, drew more than 100 people, ranging from teachers, students, entrepreneurs and investors. Minnesota has more than 30 educational technology companies that provide products to schools and the general public.”

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U of M’s CSE launches entrepreneurial workshops for students

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By Wendy Lee, Star Tribune

“The University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering is launching a series of new workshops to give their students entrepreneurial and business skills.

The free workshops, which fall under the college’s Gemini Project, range from how to self-promote oneself, understanding office dynamics to hearing how others have developed ideas into businesses.”

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On a related note, the CSE is hosting a Open House & Technology Forum on October 14th.

Paypongo explains why it dropped out of Project Skyway

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By Wendy Lee, Star Tribune

Tony Williamson, CEO of mobile payment business Paypongo, said he just couldn’t bring himself to sign local tech accelerator Project Skyway’s contract last week.

His lawyer was out of the country and the amount of equity Project Skyway would get out of the company was concerning, Williamson said.”

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Changes to the state’s angel tax credit program

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By Wendy Lee, Star Tribune

“A Minnesota program that offers tax credits to angel investors has made its requirements more flexible, due to changes recently approved by the governor and the state legislature.

The program gives qualified individuals a 25 percent tax break on their investments of $10,000 or more in Minnesota start-ups. There are three major changes to the program, said Monte Hanson, spokesman for the Department of Employment and Economic Development.”

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Minneapolis imaging software firm joins GE Healthcare

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By Wendy Lee, Star Tribune

“A Minneapolis company that specializes in MRI technology, Steady State Imaging, is being acquired by GE Healthcare. Steady State Imaging sells software for installation on existing MRI machines to detect tendons, ligaments and other tissues that can’t be seen in conventional scans.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CEO Danny Cunagin said the sale to GE Healthcare will help the company commercialize the technology, which is licensed from the University of Minnesota. “It was really the strategy from day one, to cross this bridge to get to where we are,” Cunagin said.”

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Their business plan: World Qonquest

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By Wendy Lee, Star Tribune

“…What if that same technology could be turned into a game — perhaps one that allows players to command and conquer various cities around the world?

That was the vision local software developer Justin Peck brought to the table at Twin Cities Start-Up Weekend, a competition that challenges entrepreneurs to build a business and prototype it in just 48 hours. Peck’s team [QONQR] ended up winning the September contest and plans to launch the game on its website this month.”

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Curation Station: Managing the Internet Message

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By Wendy Lee, Star Tribune

“The Internet can be a daunting challenge for advertising firms. There are hundreds of blogs filled with praises and rants, widgets on websites bustling with tweets and mobile videos that can cloud a consumer’s perceptions about a company.

How does a business take back control of its own marketing message? Minneapolis- based Curation Station aims to address this problem.”

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Project Skyway: A leg up for tech start-ups

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By Wendy Lee, Star Tribune

“When former hotel manager Cem Erdem launched his first business 16 years ago, he had little help and few ideas on how to start.  He’d seen a lot of people in suits walking along the Minneapolis skyway. So, looking to sell Internet services, he decided to pass out postcards to successful-looking people as they walked past.

For the most part, he said, it didn’t work.  Now, the CEO of Golden Valley-based software firm Augusoft Inc. is setting up a business accelerator program to help aspiring software entrepreneurs avoid his mistakes. He calls it Project Skyway.”

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Intertech’s software aims for swift justice

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By Wendy Lee, Star Tribune

“Officials say that perhaps as far back as statehood, charging someone has required signatures of approval from a county attorney, police officer and a judge before the charges become public. The process of transporting the paper complaint from office to office can take days, wasting time and money in a budget-tight era.

Enter Eagan-based software and consulting firm Intertech. The company won a contract from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to revamp the system.”

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