Startup Successes

Monday, December 18, 2017

Did you know: Minnesota is no. 16 in venture capital dollars

Minnesota startups have found great success in Minnesota over the last few years, despite challenges like raising capital (we’re no. 16 in venture capital dollars, according to keynoter Andrew Downey, PriceWaterhouseCoopers), hiring talent that’s a cultural fit, and attracting customers.

Just ask Clay Collins, Lou DiLorenzo, Lee Jones, and Matt Masui, panelists who shared their startup success stories with DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy, acting as panel moderator, during the Minnesota Venture Conference.

What is it About Minnesota?

Collins is the founder of Leadpages, a company that sells software businesses use to build website landing pages. “One strength of Minnesota is the ability to raise money at Silicon Valley valuations,” he said. Minnesota is competitive on culture and a higher level of talent brought into the startup through recruiters.

“There’s power in the ecosystem working together here,” said DiLorenzo, chief operating office for health insurance startup Bright Health. The concentration of talent is a Minnesota advantage, he said.

Matsui is senior vice president for Calabrio, fast-growing customer-engagement software company. “I love Minneapolis-St. Paul and the technical-analytic talent available,” he said. Calabrio was among the 2017 Tekne Award-winning organizations from the Minnesota High Tech Association.

Jones, self-described master of working remotely – her 35 employees are networked in other geographies -- is founder, president and CEO of biotech startup Rebiotix. “Minnesota was an easy choice,” she said. “I grew up here.” Minnesota’s angel investor groups do a good job, she said. The Minnesota Angel Tax Credit program helped Rebiotix get off the ground, and the Roseville company was a MN Cup finalist in 2011.

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