Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Twin Cities Startup Week

That noticeable chill you’ve felt in the air recently signals that summertime is sadly and quickly coming to a close.  It will soon be time for the State FairLabor Day, kids returning to school, football, and of course, Twin Cities Startup Week.  For those who don’t know, Twin Cities Startup Week (running from Tuesday September 8th through Sunday, September 13th) is a series of informative, fun and networking based events focused on the Twin Cities startup community.

Events include Beta.MN, which is a showcase of local startups identified by the Beta.MN team. There are no formal pitches at Beta.MN, just startups exhibiting their products and services, kind of like the exhibitors at the State Fair.  At the end of the evening, the audience votes on their favorite startup, and the winner receives the famed “Golden Ipod.”  This event is being held from 5:00 to 8:00 pm on Tuesday night of Startup Week (the 8th) at Target Commons on Nicollet Mall.

The MN Cup final awards reception is being held on Wednesday night (the 9th) at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota campus.  We’ve posted about MN Cup many times on this blog (including, most recently, here), so not much else needs to be said.  However, if you haven’t attended the final awards reception before, it’s a great event for Minnesota entrepreneurs and supporters of the entrepreneurial community.  The event is well-attended and is a good opportunity to meet and network with leaders of the entrepreneurial community and learn about some exciting new companies.

MinneDemo, which is a demonstration showcase for seven companies, is on Thursday night (the 10th).  Each of the seven companies will have seven minutes to show their work.  These are real demos, not powerpoint presentations.

The week’s events culminate in Startup Weekend, which begins Friday night (the 11th) and continues through Sunday afternoon (the 13th).  On Friday night, any participant can pitch their idea for a startup.  Teams then organically form around the ideas they find most interesting.  The teams then spend the rest of the weekend creating a business plan and developing a product.  On Sunday evening, the teams give demos and pitches to a live audience.  Real companies have come out of Startup Weekend, including hidrate and QONQR.

There are several other events throughout the week, which can be seen on the schedule listed here.  I’ll give a quick pitch for my colleagues Doug Ramler and Kate Nilan, who will be hosting the first in a series of quarterly presentations on legal issues for tech companies.  This event will be from 8:00 to 9:30 Friday morning (the 11th) at our office in downtown Minneapolis.  At this event, Doug and Kate will be discussing how to launch a new tech venture, terms of use/privacy policies, and the top five tech law developments you should be aware of.  There will be lots of good information, checklists and sample documents, and an opportunity to connect with others in the tech community. 

It will be a great week for the entrepreneurial community in Minnesota.  I hope to see you at some of these events.

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