Top 10 Takeaways from Twin Cities Startup Week

Or Why I’m #LongMSP and You Should Be Too

Palace theatre St.Paul — Twin Cities Startup Week Awards night

After my jam packed 3 days at Twin Cities Startup Week here are my top 10 takeaways.

  1. “2017 marked 10x Growth in 4 years” 📈 — Ryan Broshar✌🏼 Having been in FL for the last 3.5 years I can attest to this and it really blew me away. I cannot wait to see what the next 4 years has in store with another 10x growth run!
  2. 100+ new connections 🤝 — As my good friend Marty Wetherall put it, Twin Cities Startup Week was like summer camp, and the best part was meeting all sorts of new people working on similar things. In just 3 days I spoke to 100 different people working in the space and had the opportunity to present to 75 more!
  3. Big Moves 🗺 ➡️ 🌃— The Techstars and Target retail demo day at First Avenue had the place rocking all night. But the two loudest cheers by far were when StoryXpress and Spot Crowd announced they would be moving their companies to Minneapolis.
  4. Big Baller 🏀 — Another startup announced the same thing last year coming out of Techstars Retail. That Startup? Branch Messenger. This year? Well they took home the inaugural Big Baller award at Friday nights Awards night. Hats off to Atif Siddiqi and team!
  5. On 2nd Thought 😴💥😳🤔 — My two favorite pitches from Techstars demo night? (Side note they were all great) That would be the two local companies in the mix, Upsie and LocalCrate. Hearing which sectors they are working in, the overly saturated meal kits and the device protection/warranty space, I was ready to give my brain a rest. Both founders though have extremely compelling pitches that convinced me not only of the opportunity in said spaces but that they were going to win. 👏
  6. Workshop Wonders 🖐 — Wednesday morning we tried something new. A live interactive Story Sprint workshop using two of the key exercises from the 1/2 day version. I wasn’t sure how it would go or what the reception would be. I’m happy to report it was a hit, with multiple people reporting back it was even their favorite session of the week. What made it special? By having local startups volunteer to go through the exercises in front of a group of 40–50 peers, the startups were able to get valuable unfiltered feedback on their messaging and story and everyone was pitching in to help them get better. It was a ton of fun and I can’t wait to get the next one on the schedule!
  7. Let’s Talk About It 🗣 — One sign of the growth in the Twin Cities Startup community? The important conversations are starting to get time on the main stage. Led by Aneela Kumar there was a great panel on mental health and how important it is for entrepreneurs and startup leaders to understand how to manage it. We need to continue to talk about this more.
  8. “Basements are the next Garages” ❄️ 🏡 ↘️— Loved this quote from startup and tech veteran Phil Soran who said Eden Prairie basements are our version of Silicon Valley’s garages. We’d use the garage too but then we’d die in the winter.
  9. “Who downloaded my brain?” 🤔⬇️ — That’s what I thought when I saw MangoConnects present at Minnedemo. Their new tool teaches you how to network better with guides, templates, and how-tos. As a connector it was brilliant stuff!
  10. We got next! 🤳🏼😜 — I’m excited after a whirlwind 4 days to be working with the talented team at Cubles. Look for Cubles to be everywhere very soon!

Overall it was an amazing week and everyone should be #LongMSP.

Hats off to Nels Pederson, the track leads, all the speakers, all the space hosts, and all of the volunteers who made the week so special. Can’t wait to get back up to MSP and for #TCSW18 next year!

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