Join in and be Inspired at Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017

This story is brought to you by Rochester Global Entrepreneurship Week 2017:

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Plug in and be inspired to innovate during Rochester’s Global Entrepreneurship Week. Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is the largest celebration of innovation and community in the world, which occurs in 170 countries and touches 10M people. GEW 2017 will take place November 13th through November 17th.

Rochester GEW will involve a full of week of events and programming, allowing community members to come together to celebrate the entrepreneurship and innovation that this city has to offer. Rochester GEW is an opportunity to leverage connections and engage all levels of the startup, entrepreneurial, and innovation ecosystem, from the solopreneur to the seasoned business leader.

“This is our fifth GEW celebration in Rochester.  As our entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to prosper, we need to celebrate our risk takers and inspire the next generation of local entrepreneurs,” said Jamie Sundsbak, Rochester GEW organizer.

Most importantly, GEW is a time to be inspired. It’s a platform not only for entrepreneurs to connect with each other, it’s an opportunity for all community members to explore their potential as innovators and to connect with like-minded individuals who are just looking to start something in this city.

The theme of this year’s Rochester GEW is honoring the past and embracing the future. It’s a time to explore and celebrate our entrepreneurial roots and engage in what the future of innovation could look like in our community.

GEW Rochester will include a wide range of events to engage and connect the innovation ecosystem of Rochester and the surrounding communities. Programming will include a student showcase, displaying innovations and prototypes developed by students in southeast Minnesota. The team from DoApp, a Rochester mobile application business, will also tell their story and walk through their successful acquisition last year. Events will also include a Women’s Entrepreneurial Happy Hour and a panel discussing business from the media perspective. The week will wrap up with the RAVE (Rochester Area Values Entrepreneurship) capstone event- hosted by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. and Journey to Growth- to celebrate and honor local entrepreneurs.

The Rochester GEW organizing team is still seeking potential sponsors for the week. If your organization is interested in sponsorship opportunities or could donate space for programming, please contact Jamie Sundsbak at Jamie@collider.mn.

The organizing team encourages members of the community to spread the word about this week, to invite their friends, and to attend as many events as possible to celebrate, engage with, and learn about Rochester’s startup culture.

Keep up with the latest news about GEW Rochester by subscribing to their newsletter. You can also link up by liking the GEW Rochester Facebook page and by following the Twitter hashtags #gewroch and #gew2017.

#Emerge Episode 9 with Amanda Leightner and Jamie Sundsbak

This week in the #Emerge video series, we sit down with local entrepreneur Jamie Sundsbak and talk about career change, the value of good timing, dealing with fear and uncertainty, and entrepreneurial perserverance.

“I think timing is a huge thing. If I had tried to do something even two or three years earlier, it would have failed drastically and immediately.” –Jamie Sundsbak

Seasoned Innovators Talk Biotech Startup Funding at DMC Panel Discussion

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This week, Destination Medical Center held their latest Investors and Innovators Forum, blending together Rochester’s entrepreneurs with potential stakeholders for a day of connection.

Programming for the event featured an “Experienced Innovator’s Panel,” discussing pitfalls and roadblocks in startup development. The panel included Lee Jones- Founder, President, and CEO of the biotech company Rebiotix- and serial entrepreneur and CEO of Vergent Bioscience and ApoGen Biotechnologies, John Santini. The panel was moderated by Ann Ladd of Fredrickson and Byron.

Rebiotix, Jones explained, was founded “somewhat by accident.” While spending time at the University of Minnesota’s (UMN) Office of Technology Transfer, she became aware of a process called fecal transplant, where feces are taken from one person and placed into another to treat disease.

“I thought it was the most ridiculous idea I’d ever heard of in my life,” Jones joked.

Fecal transplant works by replacing dysfunctional microbiota- the collection of microbes that live within the human body- with functional microbiota to restore an individual’s health. Rebiotix utilizes a process called Microbiota Restorative Therapy to deliver live microbes into the intestinal tract.

To date, Rebiotix has raised $39M in capital. They’ve completed three Phase II clinical trials and are now in a Phase III trial with their first drug product. The company is expected to launch the very first commercial microbiota-based drug and is further along, clinically, than any of their competitors.

Vergent Bioscience sells reagents to life science companies. Currently, the company is developing a near infrared probe for use in oncology. The probe is injected prior to surgery and binds to proteases- enzymes that degrade other proteins- within the tumor microenvironment. Probe usage allows surgeons to remove residual cancer cells, improving margins and patient survival. Vergent Bioscience was originally funded by an angel investor. Currently, the team is developing strategic partnerships with medical device companies.

Santini founded ApoGen Biotechnologies with two colleagues from the UMN, Drs. Reuben Harris and Daniel Harki. The company is developing a suite of therapeutics targeting APOBEC3B, a protein that’s upregulated in two-thirds of all solid tumors. Last November, ApoGen raised $7M in capital from venture firms and major pharmaceutical companies.

Although all three companies had distinct funding paths, both Santini and Jones said relationship building was key to drive in early capital. Rebiotix participated in Minnesota Cup, the largest state-wide business plan competition, and took third place in its division. But Jones said most of the company’s funding came from investors with whom she had previous relationships. Santini did not enter Vergent Bioscience or ApoGen Biotechnologies in any business pitch competitions, although he did participate in these events with some of his earlier companies.

“It was a good experience to meet people, to test out the hypothesis, to test out the story,” he explained.

For Santini, however, there was no direct link between participation in these competitions and raising early stage capital. Like Jones, his funding was all about relationships.

“A really important box that [investors] need to check is, do they trust the management team? Do they trust the founders?” he explained.

The best way to raise capital for himself was to make that personal connection with investors, even if it meant flying across the country to take a face-to-face meeting.

Santini said that all pools of funding have their value and purpose. Very early, flexible funding from friends and family is useful for immediate capital, although it puts personal relationships at risk. With angel investing, he said, the “pots get bigger” with more money available, although this process takes longer and is highly variable.

When taking venture capital investments, the stakes become really elevated, he explained. Founders must realize that they “have to give up something to get something.” He said when founders prepare to take venture capital, they should have clear expectations of what they want from their business and realize they give up some degree of control and decision-making power by bringing more voices into the conversation.

Both Santini and Jones said they spend about fifty percent of their time engaging with potential investors and strategic partners.

“If you’re afraid of getting turned down [when seeking funding], you might as well leave right now,” Santini laughed.

Personally, Santini’s found that only ten percent of interactions potentially lead to funding, and of those only five percent may convert into capital for his business. For the investor, about “fifty different variables” go into the decision-making process besides what you’re selling, such as the timing of their fund and if they recently invested in a similar business.

“Timing is everything,” he explained.

Even if an investor said “no” a few months prior, Jones said the market changes and a “no” could become a “yes” under the right circumstances.

“You’re just working for that one time that you get the money in hand,” she said.

Jones admitted that it’s difficult to attract funding for a biotech firm headquartered in the Midwest. To circumvent this issue, she spends time on the coasts and hires people from these areas of the country to gain connections.

“For anything in biotech or biopharma here in the Midwest, it’s tougher [to attract capital] than if you were in Boston or San Francisco,” Santini agreed.

However, he remains hopeful that we can grow a local ecosystem and create a “critical core” to drive more investment into the region.

It takes perseverance and determination to build a biotech startup in Minnesota, but it is possible.

“If you think you have an idea, go out and try it,” Jones advised. “The worst thing you can do is not try.”

Student Entrepreneurs: Apply to Demo your Product or Service during Rochester's Global Entrepreneurship Week

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Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and Rochester Rising are organizing the first ever Student Entrepreneurial Showcase during this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week in Rochester. The event will be held on Thursday November 16th from 6-8PM at Saint Mary’s Cascade Meadow Wetlands & Environmental Science Center.

This event will be a live demo night, featuring products and services created by students in Southeast Minnesota. At the event, student teams will have the opportunity to showcase how their product or service works to solve a specific problem to a gathered community of peers, entrepreneurs, and engaged members of the Southeast Minnesota startup community. Products or services will be chosen for the event based on their ability to create an engaging, live demonstration and the likelihood that the product or service will be functional by November 16, 2017. Application is not limited to science or tech products or services. Products or services can also be web-based.

A cash prize will be available.

All applicants must be a current primary, middle, or high school student or be enrolled in a college, university, or higher education program. Priority will be given to students in Southeast Minnesota.

Interested student teams should fill out this short application to apply. The application will close on November 2, 2017.

#Emerge Episode 8 with Nate Nordstrom

This week on #Emerge we speak with local entrepreneur Nate Nordstrom. Nate is the Founder of BrandHoot, a Rochester-based company that builds customized websites and mobile applications. On the video today, we talk about BrandHoot’s recent advancement as a finalist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Dream Big Awards, the next directions for BrandHoot as they grow as a small company, the role of failure in business development, and why entrepreneurship is important in the Rochester community right now.

“I don’t want fear of failure to ever control our company because that’s how every major company ends up failing.” –Nate Nordstrom, BrandHoot

Hallmarks of Contemporary Leadership Brought into Focus at Recent Young Professional Development Panel

Last week The Commission, a non-profit organization for young professionals in Rochester, held their second Professional Development Panel, providing an in-depth, open discussion surrounding leadership.

The panel included three long-time Rochester residents and established young leaders themselves: Becca Stiles-Nogosek, Development Events and Volunteer Coordinator at Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester; Angela Mattson, Nurse Administrator for the Division of Integrated Behavioral Health at Mayo Clinic; and Nick Pompeian, commercial real estate broker and owner of Realty Growth Incorporated.

Here are the highlights from the panel discussion, addressing the definition of leadership and what it takes to be a leader in today’s professional environment.

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Rochester Native Returns Home to Produce Latest Film

Photo courtesy of Project Gaslight.

Photo courtesy of Project Gaslight.

After spending the last decade in L.A., Rochester native, visual effects specialist, and film producer Jon Julsrud has moved back to the city to create his latest film Project Gaslight. Currently, Julsrud and his team are participating in a national crowdfunding campaign to gain support for the film, which is set to begin shooting in Rochester next summer.

Julsrud and the team behind Project Gaslight have strong ties to Minnesota, especially the Rochester area. Julsrud himself graduated from Mayo High School in 2000. Afterwards, he attended nearby St. Olaf College, pursuing degrees in Psychology and Asian Studies. Julsrud later obtained a degree in visual effects from the Art Institutes of Minnesota, but could not find much work in that area within the state.

Instead, he set out to cut his teeth where it all happens in the film industry, Los Angeles. He spent the last decade as a compositor and visual effects specialist for films like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 and Captain America: The First Avenger. After a brief stint in Montreal, Julsrud returned home to Rochester to visit family and friends over a year ago and has remained in the city ever since.

“My goal has always been to come back here and make movies,” he explained.

After re-landing in Rochester, Julsrud launched a new company, called Box Office, just this May to assist in the marketing and distribution of independent films, which Julsrud explained is an “even bigger problem now than it was ten, fifteen years ago.” Box Office is also partnering with the company Brandwood Global to integrate brands and products into films, allowing the filmmaker to get paid for the provided exposure (think Reese’s Pieces in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial).

Box Office will present Julsrud’s latest project, a psychological thriller with the working name Project Gaslight. This film centers around the concept of gaslighting, which Julsrud explains is “essentially emotional abuse, psychological abuse that you systematically undermine someone in order to make them think they’re losing their grip on reality.” The film will center around two couples and aims to highlight “a common but often misunderstood form of emotional abuse.”

The cast and crew behind Project Gaslight is Minnesota-based, split between Rochester and the Twin Cities. The Director, Will Cox, has been a business partner of Julsrud’s for seven years; the pair opened their own boutique film production business in 2014. The film’s Screenwriter, Elyse Forbes, is based out of the Twin Cities, as is the Director of Photography, Ben Enke.

Alex Kauffman, one half of the Twin Cities’ hip-hop/electronica group Dichotomy, is creating the soundtrack and score for the film. Kauffman and Julsrud were childhood friends, growing up on the same block in Rochester. One of the female actresses, Emily Tremaine, also grew up in the same Rochester neighborhood. Quite a success story herself, Tremaine recently landed a role as Kevin Bacon’s daughter in the new Syfy series Tremors, a reboot of the 1990s cult classic.

Julsrud plans to shoot most the Project Gaslight scenes in Rochester, largely at his parents’ home on the outskirts of the city. He said the film was written with that location in mind.

Now, Project Gaslight is in the final stages of a crowdfunding campaign as part of Seed & Spark’s Hometown Heroes Rally to help bring the project to life. Seed & Spark is similar to other crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but is focused solely on film and television production work. The Hometown Heroes Rally runs for one month and will end on Friday, October 13th as participating films vie for financial supporters and followers.

The Project Gaslight team aims to raise about $11K from this campaign, which amounts to 15% of the total budget for the film. Julsrud said the project will still happen if they don’t raise these funds, but the team will have to “be a little more creative with our overall budget.”

About eighty films are participating in the Rally, including two other projects from Minnesota: Minneapolis the Movie and Gleahan & the Naves of Industry.

The top ten performing campaigns- based on the number of followers- have the unique chance to be executive produced by Mark and Jay Duplass- actor, director and production brothers who have produced films like Safety Not Guaranteed. Julsrud said landing the Duplass brothers “would mean a whole lot” to his film. Besides potentially providing some funding for the project, the siblings would supply knowledge, experience, and a multitude of connections.

Ultimately, Julsrud hopes this project helps to spur more movie production in the Rochester and southeastern Minnesota area, which he says will provide a boost to both the local economy and tourism. As a passion project, he’s working to bring a regional tax credit to southeast Minnesota to attract and enable more filmmaking in this portion of the state.

Diverge Part 2.3: What Drives Rosei Skipper

"So I've thought a lot about what I wanted to do with my time before I actually made the change. It was hard to be patient, but you have to spend a certain amount of time, I think, just contemplating and investigating your options."- Rosei Skipper, Owner of Rosei Skipper Yoga and Wellness

Thumbnail photo credit: M Brandt Photography

Diverge Part 2.1: The M.D. Turned Yoga and Meditation Instructor

Welcome to the second installment of our brand new “Diverge” series, where we tell the stories of four Rochester entrepreneurs who left long careers to pursue their passions. 

 This next portion of the series shares the journey of yoga, barre, and meditation teacher Rosei Skipper of Rosei Skipper Yoga and Wellness.

This series was made possible by Rochester Home Infusionthe only in-home infusion provider in Southern Minnesota.

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“When it came down to the day to day job, it wasn’t the kind of work that I wanted to be doing,” explained Rosei Skipper, a trained medical doctor, yoga, barre, and meditation instructor in Rochester, Minn.

Rosei spent four years obtaining her medical degree at the University of Alabama School of Medicine and then completed a five-year residency program at Mayo Clinic in Child and Adult Psychiatry. However, for someone with a lifelong interest in physical activity, she was spending most of her time in front of a computer or on the phone.

“I loved my patients. I love the relationships that I had with them. But sometimes I didn’t feel like, in my day to day life, I was helping people in all of the ways that I wanted to,” she explained.

By the time her residency ended, Rosei felt it was time for a drastic change in her career. Initially, she laid out one year for herself to just try out a new path and see what took shape. No matter the outcome, she knew she would always have her medical degree and training.

Her path since that point has continuously evolved but has centered around yoga, wellness, and meditation. She began this journey teaching barre- a ballet-inspired workout- at a small studio in downtown Rochester. Afterwards, she pursued a nine-month yoga instructor training program.

“And then, over time, other things just came out of that,” she explained.

Soon, she began running social media for a barre fitness and yoga studio in Rochester, which she said has been a nice side gig to supplement her instruction. Very recently, she started offering private and group yoga and meditation classes through her own business, Rosei Skipper Yoga and Wellness.

Before stepping away from medicine, Rosei said she mulled over the potential next steps for a lengthy time.

“It was hard to be patient, but you have to spend a certain amount of time, I think, just contemplating and investigating your options,” she explained.

In addition to her BarreAmped Certification and yoga teacher training courses, Rosei’s constantly refining her teaching and social media skills by consuming and absorbing as much information as possible through reading, podcasts, and videos.

“Anything that I do, I’m going to try and do it as well as I can,” she explained.

Uncertainty is a new challenge she’s had to face throughout this new phase in her career. During her time in medical school, she explained, her path and expectations were clearly defined.

“When you’re doing your own thing, of course, it’s really different. Every day things change a little bit for me. And some things work out, and other things, not so much,” she explained. As a result, she’s become increasingly more comfortable not knowing what her path will look like another year down the road.

Rosei said she was lucky to be able to make this change in her life, which she acknowledged is not the case for everyone unhappy with their current situation. At times, she still experiences days seeped in frustration.

“Those days get fewer and further in-between, thank goodness. But there are still moments when I’m like, what am I doing? Why am I not just sitting in an office right now, doing the normal thing?” she explained.

For others looking to make an adjustment in their lives, Rosei said you don’t necessarily have to make a big change to begin moving in a different direction. She advises learning more and more about what you want to do, and then to start practicing it. And if people around you say that you can’t follow your desired path or that it’s not practical, she said to surround yourself with different people who can help you grow.

“Because it’s your life. You can do anything that you want,” she explained.

Entrepreneurial Program 1 Million Cups Plans for Massive 2018

Photo courtesy of Jamie Sundsbak.

Photo courtesy of Jamie Sundsbak.

1 Million Cups- the free, national education program for entrepreneurs- has a lofty goal. The organization aims to grow from 146 to 500 local chapters by the end of 2018. Plans for this expansion were unveiled at the 1 Million Cups Organizers Summit held last month in Kansas City, the birthplace of the program.

1 Million Cups occurs at 9AM every Wednesday in volunteer-run chapters all over the country. The local contingent, 1 Million Cups Rochester, launched this February and takes place the first Wednesday of every month. (The next one will be held this upcoming Wednesday October 4th.)

Photo courtesty of Jamie Sundsbak.

Photo courtesty of Jamie Sundsbak.

The goal of the program is to “connect, inspire, educate, and empower our communities.” At each 1 Million Cups event, two entrepreneurs get up in front of a gathering of peers to tell their story and- most importantly- ask for help from the community.

The 1 Million Cups Organizers Summit served as a unique way to meet other chapters- 96% of all 1 Million Cups were represented- to better understand what worked and what failed in these communities. 1 Million Cups Rochester volunteer Jamie Sundsbak represented the Rochester community at the event.

Although standard 1 Million Cups communities have programming every week, an increasing number of chapters hold only one event per month, providing a lower barrier to entry, Sundsbak explained. Many communities, Sundsbak said, have strayed away from the traditional 1 Million Cups model and have explored structures that work best for their community.

These alternatives include limiting the presentation to only one entrepreneurial speaker and dedicating the rest of the event to networking. Some communities have held quarterly recruitment events, where interested startups use the time to apply to become 1 Million Cups presenters.

[Interested in trying out a new format at 1 Million Cups Rochester? Fill out this survey to let the organizers know what you want.]

Sundsbak said that Kansas City is an amazing place to be an entrepreneur. He often looks toward the city as “a place [Rochester] could be very, very far down the road.”

Kansas City has the mission to become the most entrepreneurial city in the country, which, Sundsbak said, drives decision making on all levels. The inclusive, entrepreneur-led community runs on a “give first, get later” mentality.

“It’s been amazing, how aligned everybody has been, which I think is something that is very different from what we experience [in Rochester],” he explained.

Kansas City is built for the entrepreneur. The community has 12 business accelerators, 5 business incubators, 15 coworking facilities, and 7 maker spaces. Twenty-three startup support organizations are in the city, including the Kauffman Foundation, a private organization with the goal to “foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success.”

Here’s an inside look at four of the coworking spaces that house Kansas City’s entrepreneurs.

Plexpod: a 180,000-square foot space that previously was a middle school.

Think Big Coworking: four floors of coworking dedicated to community and promoting entrepreneurship.

Sprint Accelerator: a corporate accelerator with a dedicated portion for free coworking and conference rooms named after Kansas City innovations.

WeWork: The 7th largest unicorn- or private company valued at or over $1B- according to CrunchBase. WeWork is in twenty-three U.S. cities with a location opening soon in Minneapolis.

Press Release: SMIF Helps Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund Reach Funding Milestone

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Rochester, MN – The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) is the latest group to invest in the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund, raising commitments to the fund to $1 million.  The fund, created by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI), and spearheaded by Journey to Growth (J2G), is funded by a group of angel investors who will help support the growing number of startup companies in the medical and technology fields who have the potential to deliver significant returns. While not geographically limited, the primary investment focus of the fund will be the southeast Minnesota region.

“It is an honor to announce that SMIF has joined the investors in the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund. We are also thrilled that their investment is putting the fund over the $1M mark,” said Xavier Frigola of RAEDI and Secretary/Treasurer of the Fund.

SMIF, through their existing seed and equity funds, has been a partner to numerous southeast Minnesota-based companies. By investing in the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund, SMIF will now be able to expand their impact on the region and the fund will have access to SMIF’s expertise and opportunity pipeline.

“SMIF has long seen the need for additional equity dollars to help new businesses start and grow here in our region and that is why we created our own equity fund a couple years ago. We are pleased to now contribute to the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund and look forward to future opportunities to partner on equity investments,” said Tim Penny, President and CEO of SMIF.

 

About Journey To Growth (J2G)

The Journey To Growth Partnership is a 501c3. J2G is a comprehensive five-year strategy coordinated by Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) and the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce to effectively grow and diversify the economy of the southeast region consisting of the following counties without borders: Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Steele, Wabasha and Winona. For more information on the Journey To Growth Partnership visit www.j2gmn.com and J2G Facebook.

 

About Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (www.raedi.com)

Incorporated in 1985 and headquartered in downtown Rochester, Minnesota, Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc., (RAEDI) works to encourage local business expansion and new business locations in the Rochester area.  RAEDI’s primary goal is to attract, retain and assist the growth and expansion of base business within the Rochester region. Some of the services provided include financial packaging, business planning, site/location support and business/community advocacy. The 504 Corporation was incorporated under RAEDI in 1990 to provide better access to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA’s) 504 Loan Program. For more information on RAEDI and 504 Corporation visit www.raedi.com , LinkedIn , Facebook , Twitter and www.504corporation.com

 

About Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation

Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF), a donor-supported foundation, invests for economic growth in the 20 counties of south central and southeastern Minnesota. The Foundation has provided more than $106 million in grants, loans and programming within the region during the past 31 years. SMIF's key interests include early childhood, community and economic development. To learn more about our work and mission, visit www.smifoundation.org.

#Emerge Episode 7 with Garrett Lieffring

This week on #Emerge we talk with local entrepreneur Garrett Lieffring. Garret helped to start The Entrepreneurship Club at Winona State University. In the video today we talk about the purpose of the club, it's impact on the student population, and the role of entrepreneurship in college education.

Call to Action: Eligible MN Tech Startups, Apply to Participate in SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event

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Minnesota startups are highly encouraged to apply to showcase their emerging tech product or service at the 2018 South By Southwest (SXSW) Accelerator Pitch Event. Participation in this event is a unique opportunity to improve your pitch, build product awareness, network, and attract venture capital. The event takes place March 10th-11th in Austin, Texas. The registration deadline is Friday November 10th at 11:59PM CST.

The SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event features fifty tech companies across ten different categories: Augmented & Virtual Reality, Enterprise & Smart Data, Entertainment & Content, Health & Wearable, Hyper-Connected Communities, Payment & FinTech, Security & Privacy, Social & Culture, Sports & Performance Data, and Transportation.

At the event, early stage companies pitch their tech product or service to a live audience and a panel of expert judges. Past judges have included Laurie Segall of CNN, Guy Kawasaki of Alltop, and Tim Draper of DFJ.

This is the tenth annual SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event to showcase early stage technology to industry experts, venture capitalists, and high profile media.

Since the event inception in 2009, 70% of the 403 alumni companies have a combined funding near $4.63B. Sixteen percent of these businesses have been acquired.

To be eligible for participation in the 2018 SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event, the product or service must have launched or be launched between March 10, 2016 and June 10, 2018. Each company can only enter one product or service into the pitch event and cannot have raised over $10M in combined funding.

The SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event is part of the SXSW Startup & Tech Sectors Track Conference taking place March 9th-15th.

SXSW was founded in 1987 to help creatives achieve their goals. SXSW is most noted for their festivals and conferences, which “celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries.”

Eligible Minnesota tech companies are encouraged to apply to participate in the SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event to promote their story, raise awareness of their product or service, and help to tell the story of the budding Minnesota entrepreneurial ecosystem.

For more specifics about the SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event, click here