The Innovation Ecosystem
At Great North Labs, we work to cultivate the next generation of leading tech companies across the upper Midwest. As a venture fund, this means deploying capital, providing startup intelligence, and utilizing our network to support and grow early-stage tech startups. We also provide low-cost training through our Startup School, in areas that we perceive an educational need, such as our Lean Startup Bootcamp currently running in St. Cloud.
This sort of development can’t occur through a singular entity, however, so Great North Labs supports a variety of impactful elements that are key to developing the tech community and innovation ecosystem. SingularityU, with 156 global chapters in 68 countries, is one of those organizations that we believe can be valuable to developing a transformative, globally competitive innovation ecosystem here in our region.
Great North Labs Managing Partner Ryan Weber is an alumnus of the SingularityU Executive Program, and regularly speaks throughout the region on exponential technology. He is a founding board member and Co-Ambassador of the SingularityU Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter (SU-MSP).
The chapter is holding its Kickoff this Tuesday, June 4th, from 5:30-8:30 at the Carlson School of Management. The event is to kick off greater collaboration and discussion around the use of exponential technologies for social good with local businesses, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Tickets are free and open to the public.
- Ryan Weber, Managing Partner of Great North Labs
- Mark Ritchie, President of Global Minnesota, and President & CEO of Expo 2027 (Minnesota’s World’s Fair bid)
- Cora Leibig, CEO & Founder of Chromatic 3D Materials
- David Williams, Chief Innovation Officer of Elements Group
MN DEED policy update
Speaking of innovation ecosystems, Google/YouTube alum Steve Grove is actively working to develop Minnesota’s. MN DEED will hold a legislative session wrap-up to talk about new initiatives coming with the new MN state budget. The wrap-up will be in a Facebook Live session on this Friday at noon:
-Angel Tax Credit is back
-New program “Launch Minnesota” to grow startups
-$40M in Broadband grants
–@SciTechMN Internships & robotics programs
-Regional startup centers”
June 4th– SingularityU Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapter (SU-MSP) Kickoff. This event will kick off collaboration and discussion around the use of exponential technologies for the greater good with local businesses, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Great North Labs Managing Partner Ryan Weber also serves as the Co-Ambassador of the SU-MSP chapter, and will emcee the event.
June 6th– Polsky Innovation Showcase. Part of UChicago Innovation Fest, this event is the culmination of the New Venture Challenge at the University of Chicago, one of the top college startup accelerator programs in the country. Great North Labs Analyst Mike Schulte will be at the event and available for meetings.
June 10-11th– 2019 Upper Midwest ACG Capital Connection. This gathering in Minneapolis is for middle market professionals involved in corporate growth and M&A.
June 19th– OnRamp Healthcare Conference. Put on by gener8tor, this conference is focused on healthcare innovation, and will be at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI.
June 20th– Initiative Foundation Lunch and Learn. Ryan Weber will be presenting on disruption and innovation in the nonprofit sector at this community event in St. Cloud, MN.
June 21-23– ConnectUp!. “ConnectUP! MN is a two-day, culturally grounded gathering of curated underestimated entrepreneurs and investors that: learn and share with each other, engage in relationship-building, provide best and next practices from the field, as well as engage in active problem solving to build thriving, diverse, and sustainable enterprises and co-design an ecosystem that prioritizes equitable access to resources, capital and networks.” It is held in St. Paul.
PrintWithMe is new to the Great North labs portfolio. PrintWithMe is mobile-first kiosk printing for coffee shops, residential buildings, co-working spaces and anywhere pay-to-print printers are offered. This user-friendly service simplifies printing for customers, and makes providing a printer amenity easy for businesses.
Three Great North Labs advisors are new to the team!
Carson Kipfer is the Principal Designer and co-founder at SportsEngine. He is also the Co-Commissioner of the US Pond Hockey Championships.
Andy Johnson is the former CEO of NativeX. Before that, he was the President of Fingerhut’s Ecommerce division.
Patrick Riley is a film producer, and the former CEO and co-founder of Modern Survey Inc., and the former CEO and founder of Cyber Works Inc.
Our advisor, Julie Novack, had her startup PartySlate featured in Newsweek recently.
Dispatch is hiring all over the country (26 cities!) for Field Sales Representatives and Drivers. In Bloomington MN, they are hiring Software Engineers, Biz Dev, and a marketing intern.
TeamGenius is hiring a part-time Customer Success Associate in Minneapolis.
FactoryFix is hiring a Software Engineer in Madison, WI, and a Business Development Specialist and an Account Managers in Chicago.
Misty Robotics is hiring a Manufacturing and Repair Engineer and a Robot Repair Technician II to IV, in Boulder, CO.
pepr is hiring for Biz Dev – Outbound Sales in Minneapolis.
2ndKitchen is hiring a City Lead and a Full-Stack Developer in Brooklyn.
PrintWithMe is hiring a Business Development Executive, a Customer Success Manager, a Strategy Intern, and a Marketing and Operations Intern
Entrepreneurship is a proven capital-efficient way to build economic value and transform regions. Great North Labs believes that venture investment guided by a policy framework is the most efficient way to develop regional economies across Minnesota and the upper Midwest. Locally employing tech natives entering the workforce, and retraining the current workforce into tech roles with on-the-job training, is the most durable and sustainable way to build the economies in the region. We are hoping to invest at least 10% of our investments in opportunities that can deliver high returns and serve social criteria. Let us know if you know of a high-return, high-impact startup we should look at.