MSP On Deck Podcast #15: Loup Ventures 1st Fund, Amazon HQ2 Top 20 Rant, CoCo Pitch Night And Fueled Collective And Non Minnesota VC’s Investing In MN Tech And Startups

 

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We have an awkward beginning to this episode of MSP On Deck. Specifically… Casey and I, mostly me, could not get it together and focus. Kathy says, “OK, 3 seconds” and we’re supposed to be quiet so Casey can add the intro music before he publishes an episode. Except Casey and I, mostly me, could not accomplish this task.

I thought it was hilarious.

I was the only one to think so.

We start this episode talking about Loup Venture closing their first fund. What it means locally and nationally and what being a researched focused VC firm means.

A transition to Amazon HQ2 Top 20 and that Minneapolis/St Paul is not on the list. Which… is something I was hoping we would be on. I didn’t think we would be the home of HQ2 but I did say months ago and still do today that for perception sake we needed to be a “finalist”. As I mention on the podcast I really would like to see what the “restrained” bid looked like. We talk a bit about other finalists and cities in the Midwest. Thanks (again) to Kathy and Casey for tolerating… letting me ramble a bit.

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Minnesota Morning: CoCo Launches Fueled Collective, MinneDemo #28 Presenters And Minnesota IT Jobs

 

Prime Digital Academy, UX Bootcamp Graduates, phData, Sarah Schoolcraft, Mickeli Bedore, Minnesota Headhunter, Minnesota Recruiter A fun day last Friday… working at CoCo Downtown Minneapolis sourcing and recruiting DevOps Engineers and Python Developers. At one point I bumped into Mickeli Bedore of Bedore Business Group and had a chat about building sales teams, recruiting, podcasts and of course a mention or three about #LakeLife. I do wonder… which one of us logs more cell phone minutes?

I then saw Sarah Schoolcraft who is the new Employee Experience Advocate at phData. We caught up bit and I look forward to our future conversation about company cultures, hiring teams, onboarding and more.

I ended the day upstairs from CoCo where Prime Digital Academy is. It was graduation day for the UX cohort and it was fun to see them relaxed (for a moment) and meet their friends and families, If you are hiring a junior UX pro I gladly help you with introductions.

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Minnesota Morning: CoCo Pitch Night, Prime Digital Academy Graduates And Super Bowl “Help Wanted”


The Super Bowl is 6 days away and if you have been in Downtown Minneapolis you are fully aware of the impact. Last week with the snow storm and Super Bowl preparations parking became a pain and traffic patterns interrupted. Not a big deal as long as one plans ahead.

Areas near US Bank Stadium and Nicollet Mall were seeing final touches on venues Friday and I took a walk down the Nicollet Mall to get some photos.

Super Bowl In Minneapolis, Super Bowl LII

Good news is last weeks snow storm dropped a blanket of fresh snow. More good news it was warmer than average so workers doing prep work enjoyed warmer than average temperatures . The forecast for Super Bowl weekend will leave a number of people shivering. If you are from out of town and looking forward to winter… we have it.

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MSP On Deck Podcast #14: Andy Slavitt, Minnesota Venture Capital Firms And Are Developer Jobs The Best Jobs


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Here we go… MSP On Deck  Podcast #14

I learned a lot during this episode.

We started by talking about Andy Slavitt (@ASlavitt) who is new to me. For starters he has 189,000+ Twitter followers where his bio is:

Ran Medicare, Medicaid & ACA for President Obama. @usatoday, Columnist. Launching a health care initiative for the next decade in 2018.

It’s that last part which is why we were talking about him. Kathy wrote about it here (subscription)

High-profile Obamacare champion and Edina resident Andy Slavitt launching startup-investing firm

Casey drops a nugget, from back in the day, that the author of Android for Dummies was a dev from Minnesota. A second time in the episode I felt like I was horribly put of the loop.

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MSP On Deck Podcast #13: Maria Ploessl, Executive Director Of MinneStar, TechStars Farm To Fork And Minnesota Tech Hiring

 
MSP On Deck, Minnesota Tech Podcast, Minnesota Startup Podcast, Minneapolis Tech Podcast, Minneapolis Startup Podcast

Here we are with MSP On Deck Podcast #13 and with this… I am caught up. That’s right, this is our latest podcast and going forward I will posting them here as soon as they are available.

This episode we are chatting with Maria Ploessl, Executive Director of Minnestar. Maria starts with what Minnestar does including Minnedemo and Minnebar. Over the years Minnestar has hosted 50 some events and had 22,000+ attendees and been run by a volunteer board. Maria is the first person in this role.

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MSP On Deck Podcast #12: A Review Of 2017 And Predictions For 2018

 
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In the next to last episode of 2017 (recorded December 6th) we do a wrap up of 2017 and make some predictions for 2018. Why an episode early you may be asking… #12 we have a guest joining us, Maria Ploessl the new Executive Director of MinneStar.

We start with Kathy Grayson, Senior Reporter at Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal (click LinkedIn | @mspbjGrayson) going through the most read 2017 online tech and startup stories at the MSP Business Journal. Casey Allen (click EnterpriseRising | LinkedIn | @casey__allen) jumps in and we start to go through them a bit including Bright Health, Foodsby and my thought that it seemed like Minneapolis and St Paul had a good year with companies and funding.

We then do predictions… Casey has a number of Minnesota tech and startup groups who could be in line for an IPO or acquisition and how to find signs it may happen. I talk about what I think is going to happen with Minnesota IT Job creation and loss and give a few data points. Kathy predicts a mostly unknown or unexpected company will raise a large round of funding.

Some news items: WeWork announcing their new location in Uptown and why our podcast seems to always be talking about coworking spaces. From that a tangent about companies and tech founders that were here and moved somewhere else and the launch of Optum Ventures.

We close as we do with dares… I talk about self care and taking care of oneself, Casey mentions the iOS app Moment and for Android Quality Time to track time spent on all phone apps and Kathy dares us to gift to someone a news subscription for a year and see if they like it.

And yes… I do own the @Gophers account.

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Survey: Minneapolis #6 City For Tech Hiring In 2018

 

Minneapolis IT Jobs, Minnesota IT Jobs

A few weeks ago on the MSP on Deck Podcast 12 - The most popular tech news stories of 2017 + what big things are in the pipe for 2018? we made predictions for 2018 and one of mine is that Minneapolis and St Paul will see more IT job growth and a greater number of layoffs than 2017.

Yes… I am predicting both.

Let me start with the “bad news” first. As 2017 went on there were a number of unannounced layoffs at many large companies… usually in the 10’s, 20’s and 50’s range of jobs. It seemed like some large companies were doing this so not to have to file a notice with the State of Minnesota.

That’s speculation on my part and I stand by it. Add up all the numbers and they would have had to file a notice. These layoffs were generally part of restructuring staff, maybe over hired in a group, becoming more efficient, etc. And they were in all skill sets from marketing, sales, customer service and yes, IT.

Startups and small tech groups are a part of this too. A customer is lost, a MVP does not work, investors worry about the burn rate, etc. Layoffs are in the 2’s, 5’s and 10’s.

And that’s my basis for more tech layoffs in 2018 than 2017… it will continue. It happens and it’s a normal thing in a growing economy. Many companies have hired hard and fast the past 18 months and some may have gone a bit too far.

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MSP On Deck Podcast #10: Rob Weber Of Great North Labs Venture Fund And Startup School

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Our guest for this episode is Rob Weber.

Rob starts with a quick overview of the evolution of Freeze, W3i and NativeX and their (his brothers Ryan and Aaron) angel investing through 32 Degrees over 10 years. Which gets them to their new ventures (with a brief 1 month vacation)… Great North Labs and Startup School.

We then get further into his time at NativeX and what they learned about building a team and how that experience sparked the Startup School idea.

I’ve been a fan of Rob’s for a long time and am really happy that they’re activities are staying focused on growing the Minnesota and the Midwest tech scene.

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Minnesota Morning | Q4 2017 Minnesota Startup And Tech News Roundup


Minnesota Blogger Interns, Feel Like You're Being Watched?

Have you been working at home and get the sense that something is not right, a bit weird? That’s the photo above.

Raise your hand if you woke up one of the past days wondering how it is that we are in the last two weeks of the year. I was in control of the calendar until mid November… then lost it. Now I am in  “oh heck” mode.

Catching up a bit…

There’s been a bunch of Minnesota startup and tech news this quarter (Q4 2017). Some of which I will highlight with some commentary and others just links (in no particular order):

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MSP On Deck Podcast #9 And #10: Tesla, Techstars, MN Tech Companies You Don’t Know, Amazon HQ2 Substitutes And What A Google Would Do For Minnesota Hiring


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Another 2 for 1 podcast post and this one gets us all caught up on our episodes. And good timing as we recorded #11 yesterday and release it next week.

#9 begins with Casey Allen (click EnterpriseRising | LinkedIn | @casey__allen) breaking news on a new Techstars program coming to Minneapolis. Kathy Grayson, Senior Reporter at Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal (click LinkedIn | @mspbjGrayson) jumps in as we talk about which tech company we would like to see come to town assuming Amazon and HQ2 does not. And why that would be a good thing for our Minneapolis/St Paul tech scene. I then give a recap of Twin Cities Startup Week.

#10 has us jumping into where is it best for a Minnesota tech employer to be located. Is it Downtown Minneapolis, North Loop, Northeast, Eden Prairie or St Paul? This conversation was brought on by the announcement from Calabrio that they are growing their tech team and moving into a new building in the North Loop. I talk a bit about what the most difficult roles for a startup to fill are starting with tech recruiter then product manager, UX/UI and developers. We also talk about scaling a recruiting and HR team with a nod to a Patrick Meenan, Arthur Ventures VC, blog post. We then talk about Tesla acquiring a Minneapolis company and Casey finishes up by talking about tech companies doing interesting things that many have not heard of.

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