1 Million Cups

Local Businesses Ambient Clinical Analytics and FAVR Inc. Share their Startup Stories at Latest 1 Million Cups Rochester

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Last week two local startups earned the spotlight at 1 Million Cups Rochester: Ambient Clinical Analytics and FAVR Inc. Ambient Clinical Analytics, led by CEO Al Berning, is a digital health startup delivering innovative bedside predicative analytics. FAVR, an app-based tech startup led by CEO Solomon Antoine, serves as a peer to peer platform allowing customers to request a task at their own set price.

Serial entrepreneur Berning has started four companies in the last twenty-five years including LiquidCool Solutions, a Rochester company developing cooling solutions for electronics, and Pemstar, an electronics manufacturing firm. Berning’s newest startup, Ambient Clinical Analytics, is based on Mayo Clinic technology, which was developed over the past ten years in the Mayo Clinic ICU and emergency departments. Ambient Clinical Analytics sells real time clinical decision-making support tools to reduce clinical staff decision rate time and to eliminate errors. The startup has been in operation for five years selling to hospitals and hospital systems across the globe. The company has raised $7M in funding to date and is in the process of closing a $1M convertible note bridge round. Ambient Clinical Analytics has four products on the market, all aimed to reduce information overload on clinical caregivers and to organize and present data to enable rapid and informed clinical decision making. 

FAVR Inc.’s iOS app connects users with freelance workers to perform on demand lawn care and home chores. The app solves the users’ need to complete these tasks without use of their limited time while allowing a younger demographic of freelancers to earn money in their spare time. FAVR fills a unique space, allowing users to request tasks at their own set price. The app currently has two hundred fifty users on the platform, including customers and freelancers, all based in Rochester. The startup plans to expand its reach into four communities with a strong college base including Minneapolis, Brookings, Winona, and Mankato.

1 Million Cups is an educational event for entrepreneurs that takes place in one hundred eighty-two communities across the United States. 1 Million Cups Rochester occurs the first Wednesday of every month at 9AM in the Bleu Duck Kitchen event space. Join the community at the next event on Wednesday June 5th to hear the stories of two more entrepreneurs in our ecosystem.

Bike Repair, Apps, and Improved Shared Decision Making: Here's What Happened at the Latest 1 Million Cups Rochester

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The community heard from two Rochester-based entrepreneurs at the past 1 Million Cups Rochester who are operating in very different spheres.

First up was Ken Zaiken with KZaiken Enterprises. Zaiken is developing a patient-oriented app to improve the process of Shared Decision Making (SDM) called EZSDM.

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SDM- the process where the physician and the patient work together to plan out tests and treatments based on the patient’s values- is a well-documented method. The problem is, the actual implementation of SDM into the clinic does not always happen. Poor communication between patients and physicians, Zaiken explained, is a large part of the issue. When talking to physicians, patients may be overwhelmed or completely zone out and fail to effectively communicate during these challenging moments.

Zaiken said there needs to be a better way to tap into the patient mindset and have their values and desires play a role in their own healthcare. He believes that his app, EZSDM, is a viable solution to this problem.

Zaiken is using his twenty-eight years of software and project management experience to develop this tool to break down communication barriers and take into account the value of five different factors to the patient: duration of treatment, pain, life expectancy, success rate, and cost. Zaiken envisions EZSDM as a modern tablet interface where the patient can rank the importance of these five values to their treatment. The patient can then share graphical output of these rankings with the physician to influence the treatment plan.

“The important thing is to have a meaningful discussion,” Zaiken explained.

So far, he’s received positive feedback on EZSDM from the medical community. Now, he’s looking for a physician flagbearer for the product, which he hopes will help to drive funding to fuel the creation of a beta version of his vision.

Next up at 1 Million Cups Rochester was Charly Tri, Founder of My Bike Guy. My Bike Guy is a mobile bike repair business that Tri runs out of a van. This emerging startup is built off of Tri’s twenty-five-year history of bike repair.

Tri, a self-described “go-getter,” began working in a bike repair shop in Rochester at age fifteen. He first conceptualized his business four or five years ago but put the idea on the backburner until his oldest child entered kindergarten. Tri built his business as conservatively as possible to save funds, designing the website, logo, and even the wrap for his van himself.

Tri’s mobile bike repair shop is nearly as well supplied as any brick and mortar facility. The best part is the convenience of Tri’s service; My Bike Guy comes to you to repair your bike, regardless of location.

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“You literally don’t have to get out of your pajamas,” Tri joked.

The biggest threat to My Bike Guy, Tri explained, is the establishment of other mobile bike repair businesses in Rochester. However, he’s not too concerned. Tri thinks that you should have at least ten years of bike repair experience before launching into a mobile endeavor. Bike sales are the biggest opportunity for his business that Tri sees right now. He’s done fairly well in this avenue so far and can currently source any type of bike to retail.

1 Million Cups is a free, national education program developed by the Kauffman Foundation. 1 Million Cups takes place every Wednesday at 9AM across 174 US communities to support and encourage entrepreneurs. The program is based on the idea that entrepreneurs connect and discover solutions over one million cups of coffee.

Join the community at the next 1 Million Cups Rochester on Wednesday April 4th.

One Year Anniversaries and Fat Sequestering Nutraceuticals: the Latest 1 Million Cups Rochester

Jake Orme of LipiQuester at February's 1 Million Cups Rochester.

Jake Orme of LipiQuester at February's 1 Million Cups Rochester.

This week at 1 Million Cups Rochester, the community celebrated the one-year anniversary of the program in this community. Jake Orme, a physician at Mayo Clinic, also presented his anti-obesity product, LipiQuester.

1 Million Cups has served as a “supportive, neutral place” to share stories of startup development for the past twelve months in Rochester. The program is industry agnostic; over twenty-two groups have presented their business in Rochester so far on this platform. This upcoming year, the 1 Million Cups Rochester organizers are working to refine and improve the vetting and coaching process for companies applying to the 1 Million Cups Rochester program. The organizers also look to provide better follow up with past presenters for the Rochester community.

Over the past year, 1 Million Cups Rochester has had diverse impact leading to: access to enterprise customers, job offers, sales leads, improvement for future presentations, company awareness in the community, pivots, and mentorship opportunities.

The program focused on one presenter this month, Dr. Jake Orme of LipiQuester.

Orme is developing a product that captures and sequesters fat from digested food within the gut, preventing fats from interacting with bacteria and causing negative side effects. 

Over one-third of American adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The first line of defense to treat obesity, Orme explained, is diet and exercise. However, this route is successfully sustained in only one out of ten people.

“Round two [of treatment] involves medications that aren’t that great,” he said.

This second line of defense includes drugs, like Orlistat, that prevent the body from breaking down fat. However, patients typically do not stay on these therapies for too long as they can lead to diarrhea, massive flatulence, and anal leakage.

Orme believes his product, LipiQuester, serves as a better solution than current drugs on the market to treat obesity. LipiQuester is a type of nutraceutical made of “thousands of tiny whiffle balls.” The outside matrix of these biodegradable, microscopic particles is similar to products like MiraLax, adding fiber to the diet. The inside of the matrix contains a hydrophobic resin that grabs and retains fats, eliminating them from the body.

LipiQuester has little taste and forms a suspension in water.

Orme’s team performed a small pilot study with the product in mice. LipiQuester prevented gains in body fat percentage in mice on high fat diets compared to animals that were not fed the product. The team is now looking to raise $10M to get LipiQuester onto the market, hopefully through the food additive pathway.

The next 1 Million Cups Rochester will take place on Wednesday, March 7th at 9 AM in the Bleu Duck Kitchen Event Space.

1 Million Cups is a free, national education program developed by the Kauffman Foundation. 1 Million Cups takes place every Wednesday at 9AM across 165 US communities to support and encourage entrepreneurs. The program is based on the idea that entrepreneurs connect and discover solutions over one million cups of coffee

Tracking Walker Use and Enhancing K-12 Science Education- the Latest 1 Million Cups Rochester

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Two early stage startups told their story at this month’s 1 Million Cups Rochester: Grand Forks, North Dakota company WalkSmart and Rochester-based startup MindTech.

 

About MindTech

This startup is led by Area 10 Labs lead engineer Chad Attlesey, software developer Pete Wall, and experience designer AJ Montpetit. The concept was originally developed by Area 10 engineer Adam Salmi.

“We want to inspire first person, personal experiences in education and learning. We want to inspire [kids] to want to learn,” explained Attlesey.

To achieve these goals, MindTech is developing a microscope for everyone, a personal learning tool they hope could be distributed to each K-12 student at the start of every school year. This rugged, high-powered microscope is highly portable, allowing kids to continue to learn outside of the classroom.

“[This microscope] is not a toy, but it’s designed to be used and abused,” Attlesey said.

The device is highly capable. It has data storage capacity and captures 1080p video. It is easily stacked and stored and can be color customized.

The MindTech team aims to get this first product into the hands of the 55M K-12 students in the U.S., a potential $5B market. They currently have microscopes in production and are partnering with the science education non-profit InSciEd Out, which has local and global reach.

The team aims to get the microscopes to a $100 price point with large volume production and sales.

About WalkSmart

WalkSmart, led by entrepreneur Peter Chamberlain, is developing a tool to foster “fitness, safety, and health for walker users.”

Falls cost the healthcare system about $34B each year and are the leading cause of fatal injury among older adults. Furthermore, adults who use walkers are four times more susceptible to falls than non-walker users, with seventy-five percent of these falls occurring when the person is not using their walker.

Currently, there are about 3M walker users in the U.S., said Chamberlain, which are evenly split between residing at home and in assisted living facilities.

His product, WalkSmart, aims to reduce falls, hospitalization, and healthcare costs with the first-ever smart walker attachment. WalkSmart discretely snaps onto the wheel of the walker and records data as it rotates. The data is fed into the cloud and can be accessed by mobile and web applications.

Multiple caregivers- who are typically family members- can link to each account to monitor fitness and receive safety alerts for their loved one. Caregivers can access WalkSmart data directly from an app to receive real time information, such as the last time their loved one walked with their walker and their historic walking data. Users can also obtain customized push notifications from the system, altering them if there is no morning activity from their loved one, for example.

Along with these alerts, WalkSmart also gives positive reinforcement messages to the user if they met daily fitness goals. Chamberlain is also developing a wearable device that goes directly on the user’s shoe and sends alerts if they are walking without their walker.

WalkSmart is currently available as a $15/month subscription model. Three healthcare facilities, two paying customers, and Chamberlain’s family testers are currently using the system.

 

About 1 Million Cups Rochester

1 Million Cups is a free, national education program that takes place in over 160 different communities across the United States to support entrepreneurship. 1 Million Cups Rochester occurs on the first Wednesday of every month at 9AM at the Bleu Duck Kitchen. The next 1 Million Cups Rochester will be held Wednesday, January 3rd.  

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.

Tech Startups GoRout and EverGreen to Present at Next 1 Million Cups Rochester

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Join the entrepreneurial community at the next 1 Million Cups Rochester on Wednesday, September 6th from 9-10AM in the Bleu Duck Kitchen Event Space. This month we have two entrepreneurs from the tech scene telling their story: Mike Rolih with GoRout and Louis Abramowski with EverGreen.

 

About GoRout

GoRout is a hardware and software tech startup based in Rochester, Minn. GoRout creates on-field wearable products to enhance communication between coaches and athletes during football practice at the high school, college, and professional level.

Launched in: 2014

Presenter: Mike Rolih

Industry: Information/Communication Tech

About EverGreen

EverGreen is developing a media marketing product to help small to medium sized businesses schedule Facebook and Twitter content.

Launched: 2016

Presenter: Louis Abramowski

Industry: Other/Technology

 

About 1 Million Cups

1 Million Cups is a free, national education program developed by the Kauffman Foundation. 1 Million Cups takes place every Wednesday at 9AM across 133 US communities to support and encourage entrepreneurs. The program is based on the idea that entrepreneurs connect and discover solutions over one million cups of coffee.

Five Reasons Why Your Startup should Present at 1 Million Cups Rochester

Derrick Chapman and Twisted Barrel Wood Fired Pizza.

Derrick Chapman and Twisted Barrel Wood Fired Pizza.

1 Million Cups is an educational program for entrepreneurs to share ideas, discover solutions, and engage the community. This national event was brought to Rochester, by the entrepreneurial community, this February. 1 Million Cups Rochester takes place the first Wednesday of every month in the Bleu Duck Kitchen. In addition to Rochester, we have nearby 1 Million Cups communities in Saint Paul, Willmar, Eau Claire, Fargo, Des Moines, Grand Forks, Sioux Falls, and Madison.

Tori Utley and Tinua.

Tori Utley and Tinua.

At this point, hopefully you have heard of 1 Million Cups Rochester before. Maybe you are on the fence about bringing your business front and center at this program.

Here are the top five reasons why your startup should present at 1 Million Cups Rochester.

 

Spark DJ's James Jones and John Boss.

Spark DJ's James Jones and John Boss.

1.     It focuses your thoughts about your business.

1 Million Cups presentations are six minutes long. That’s not a whole lot of time to tell your story and explain your business. Fine tuning a presentation into this short time frame helps to clarify thinking around your own business and practice delivering that message in a clear, concise manner. Prepping for a 1 Million Cups talk also helps to identify holes in your business plan.

 

2.     1 Million Cups is a friendly, community-oriented event.

Amanda Leightner and Rochester Rising.

Amanda Leightner and Rochester Rising.

1 Million Cups is not a pitch event. Entrepreneurs are not selling their business or promoting their products through a presentation. This is not the cut-throat world of Shark Tank. At its very roots, 1 Million Cups is an educational program. It’s not a networking group. It’s not a mechanism to gain sales. It is an opportunity to present your business concept to a community of people, mostly entrepreneurs themselves, who are just there to help you think about and develop your business. No one is there to cut a new entrepreneur down or criticize their business model. It’s a time to tell your story as an emerging business.

 

Nadia Wood with The Hybrids.

Nadia Wood with The Hybrids.

3.     It’s an opportunity to make connections.

1 Million Cups is all about leveraging the power and expertise of the community. At the end of the presentation each entrepreneur is asked, “What can this community do for you?” This gives entrepreneurs the chance to bring forward a very specific, direct ask for the community to solve.

 

4.     It’s great exposure and experience for your business.

Jocelyn Raymundo and Rochester Home Infusion.

Jocelyn Raymundo and Rochester Home Infusion.

1 Million Cups offers free exposure for your business to the people in that room (and those connected through the 1 Million Cups Rochester Facebook live feed, live tweets, and Instagram account), which immediately extends the reach of your startup. The main stream television and newspaper companies have covered 1 Million Cups Rochester during its early stages. There will always be coverage of 1 Million Cups Rochester, and in-depth stories of presenting Rochester entrepreneurs, on Rochester Rising. But more importantly, 1 Million Cups offers a time to practice talking about your startup and telling your story in a low key, minimum pressure setting. It is a time investment to prepare a six-minute talk, but it’s worth the effort. And if you’re up-to-date on your business plan, the information is already in place.

 

Frank Spaeth at Med City FC.

Frank Spaeth at Med City FC.

5.     You enjoy the benefits of participating in a national program.

1 Million Cups just celebrated its five-year anniversary in April and now takes place in 116 different communities across the United States, always at 9AM local time. Each 1 Million Cups is locally organized by entrepreneurs. 1 Million Cups was developed by the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation, a non-profit that supports and educates entrepreneurs. The 1 Million Cups program aims to “educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs in their own community, gathering over cups of coffee.” 1 Million Cups offers connections to not only the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, but to the 116 different 1 Million Cups communities as well.

 

Our startup and entrepreneurial community here in Rochester may be young, but it is strong and continues to grow every day. 1 Million Cups is an opportunity for emerging entrepreneurs- people taking risks and starting something in the community- to come forward and share their story to help us learn and grow together.

The 1 Million Cups Rochester organizing team is always willing to speak with entrepreneurs who want to hear more about the program and see if it is a good fit for their startup.

To learn more about 1 Million Cups Rochester, follow the community on the 1 Million Cups Rochester page or through their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts. Startups can apply to present directly through the 1 Million Cups Rochester page.

The Hybrids and MyBarJar to Present at Next 1 Million Cups Rochester

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Join the entrepreneurial and small business community at the next 1 Million Cups Rochester on Wednesday June 7th from 9-10AM. This month we’ll hear from two emerging startups, the Rochester-based The Hybrids and Twin Cities-based software company MyBarJar.

 

About The Hybrids

The Hybrids provides “digital solutions that empower the community” through their Community Care Connections (C3) platform. C3 provides services like program management, participant tracking, and reporting for healthcare and non-healthcare providers. C3 enables the creation of regional hubs for well-care and supports implementation of evidence-based health programs within the community.

Launched in: 2015

Founder: Nadia Wood

Industry: Information/Communication Tech

 

About MyBarJar

MyBarJar is an app that allows for easy gifting and receiving of drinks through BarJar credits to make any celebration better.

Launched: 2016

Founder: Mondo Davison

Industry: Other

 

About 1 Million Cups

1 Million Cups is a free, national education program developed by the Kauffman Foundation. 1 Million Cups takes place every Wednesday at 9AM across 114 US communities to support and encourage entrepreneurs. The program is based on the idea that entrepreneurs connect and discover solutions over one million cups of coffee.

Rochester Home Infusion and Med City Football Club to Present at Next 1 Million Cups Rochester

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Join the entrepreneurial and small business community at the next 1 Million Cups Rochester on Wednesday May 3rd from 9-10AM. This month we’ll hear from two unique Rochester based businesses: Rochester Home Infusion and Med City Football Club.

 

About Rochester Home Infusion

Rochester Home Infusion (RHI) provides intravenous (IV) medications to patients in the comfort of their own home, allowing patients to take back control of their lives. RHI is the only home infusion provider in Southern Minnesota.

Launched in: 2013

Founder: Joselyn Raymundo

Industry: Healthcare

 

About Med City Football Club LLC

Med City FC is an expansion franchise in the National Premier Soccer League. Med City FC competes in the highest tier of amateur soccer. Med City FC’s first game is May 13th right here in Rochester.

 Launched: 2017

Industry: Sports

 

About 1 Million Cups

1 Million Cups is a free, national education program developed by the Kauffman Foundation. 1 Million Cups takes place every Wednesday at 9AM across 114 US communities to support and encourage entrepreneurs. The program is based on the idea that entrepreneurs connect and discover solutions over one million cups of coffee.

Rochester Rising and RAEDI to Present at Next 1 Million Cups Rochester

Join the entrepreneurial and small business community at the next 1 Million Cups Rochester on Wednesday April 5th from 9-10AM. This month, one Rochester based business will speak. We’ll also hear about an economic development fund that’s been fueling business growth in the city.

About Rochester Rising

Rochester Rising is an online news site that tells the stories of Rochester entrepreneurs through original, insightful articles and podcasts. Rochester Rising was launched to fill a hole in local media coverage and provide a voice to the city’s emerging entrepreneurial community.

Launched in: 2016

Founder: Amanda Leightner

 

About Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. (RAEDI)

RAEDI assists new and existing companies in Rochester obtain funding for business growth. Xavier Frigola, Director of the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, will speak about the Rochester Economic Development Fund, which RAEDI utilizes to make investments up to $250,000 to assist in business development, diversify the local economy, create jobs, and generate property tax revenue.

About 1 Million Cups

1 Million Cups is a free, national education program developed by the Kauffman Foundation. 1 Million Cups takes place every Wednesday at 9AM across 114 US communities to support and encourage entrepreneurs. The program is based on the idea that entrepreneurs connect and discover solutions over one million cups of coffee.

Find more information and register for the event here.

How to Babysit and Spark DJ to Present at Next 1 Million Cups Rochester

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The second edition of 1 Million Cups Rochester will be held Wednesday March 1st at 9AM. Two southeast Minnesota based startups, How To Babysit and Spark DJ, will share their stories.

1 Million Cups is a free, educational event for entrepreneurs, based on the idea that entrepreneurs connect and network over one million cups of coffee. 1 Million Cups takes place Wednesday mornings at exactly 9AM- local time- in over 110 communities across the US. At each event, two different early stage startups tell their story to a collected group of peers.

1 Million Cups Rochester is held the first Wednesday of each month in the Bleu Duck Kitchen Event Space (14 4th Street SW). Parking is in the 3rd Street Ramp. The 1 Million Cups Rochester organizing team is currently accepting applications from innovative, southeast Minnesota based startups to present.

This Wednesday the local startups How To Babysit and Spark DJ will be featured.

Advertisement.

Advertisement.

How To Babysit

  • Industry: Information/Communication Technology
  • Founded: 2016
  • Cofounders: Erin Wagner and Brad Harvey

How To Babysit is creating an app and online training tools for babysitters. The startup teaches babysitting and business management skills through workshops and online tutorials. The team is also developing an app that allows teen sitters to input their available times and connect and schedule babysitting jobs with prospective parent clients.

 

Spark DJ

  • Industry: Music
  • Founded: 2016
  • Cofounders: James Jones and John Boss

Spark DJ is a mobile app that uses machine learning, live feedback, and automation to provide an extremely personalized DJ experience. The technology has the potential to disrupt the way music entertainment takes place, allowing live-music curation from guests and seamless music transition to take DJing to the next level.

1 Million Cups Seeking Innovative Startups for New Entrepreneurial Program in Rochester

1 Million Cups- a free, educational program for entrepreneurs- launches in Rochester on February 1st. The 1 Million Cups Rochester organizing team is seeking innovative startups and new businesses to present at this monthly, recurring event.

1 Million Cups was developed by the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City and has spread to over seventy communities in thirty-five states over the past four years.

1 Million Cups takes place at 9AM, local time, in each 1 Million Cups community every Wednesday. At each 1 Million Cups event, two startups speak in front of an audience of their peers, potential investors and customers, and interested community members for six minutes, followed by a twenty-minute Q&A session with the audience. These businesses are typically less than three years of age and are usually in the revenue generating phase. 1 Million Cups presentations are not pitches. The focus is more on telling the story of the business.

Why should new startups and businesses want to participate in 1 Million Cups?

1 Million Cups is great exposure for your company. Participating businesses will raise brand awareness not only in the audience, but also through the 1 Million Cups Rochester social media. Rochester Rising will also be covering the events. Additionally, 1 Million Cups is a supportive environment. Presenters receive constructive feedback and new ways to view their business from the audience. It’s not a place to criticize business plans. 1 Million Cups is about leveraging the power of the community to support entrepreneurship. At its very core, 1 Million Cups is an educational program. Participating teams receive guidance on their presentation through informational videos from the Kauffman Founders School and by personalized coaching from the 1 Million Cups Rochester Community Organizing team.

The very first 1 Million Cups Rochester will take place Wednesday February 1st from 9-10AM at 14 4th Street SW. 1 Million Cups Rochester will be a monthly event held the first Wednesday of each month.

Stay informed by following 1 Million Cups Rochester on the 1 Million Cups website, or on Facebook or Twitter. Startups can apply to present directly on the 1 Million Cups Rochester website.   

Learn more by attending a 1 Million Cups Rochester information session Wednesday January 10th from 6-8PM. 

1 Million Cups Begins in Rochester February 2017

I'm extremely excited to announce that Rochester has been granted our own 1 Million Cups!  

1 Million Cups is a free, national program designed to educate, engage, and connect entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, 1MC is based on the notion that entrepreneurs discover solutions and network over a million cups of coffee.

I have attended 1 Million Cups at various locations around the US and have always felt that Rochester needed an event like this to bring the entrepreneurial community of our Southeast Minnesota region together to hear from and assist local entrepreneurs.  

A monthly 1MC will start in Rochester on February 1st, 2017.  

Thanks to everyone that has worked on this effort over the last two years.  I especially want to thank the organizers of SHOUT 2.0 who proved that interest in a monthly gathering of entrepreneurs was a reality in Rochester.

Check out some recent Rochester Rising articles about 1 Million Cups:

  1. Lessons Learned from One Millions Cups Kansas City
  2. Can We Bring 1 Million Cups to Rochester?

1 Million Cups Information Video from the Kauffman Foundation:

Recent video of a presentation at 1 Million Cups Saint Paul:

Can We Bring 1 Million Cups to Rochester?

Maybe you have heard about 1 Million Cups before. This completely free, weekly event was developed by the Kauffman Foundation with the self-described goal to caffeinate an entrepreneurial nation. As of January 2016, 1 Million Cups was in 77 communities across the country in over 35 different states.

The Kauffman Foundation, the so-to-speak mother of 1 Million Cups, was developed in Kansas City by local entrepreneur and humanitarian Ewing Marion Kauffman in the mid-1960s. The mission: to grow and establish programs for entrepreneurial advancement and education. If you ever find yourself in Kansas City, take some time to visit the Kauffman Foundation. It’s like a playground for entrepreneurs.

1 Million Cups takes place at 9AM, local time, every Wednesday in each of these communities across the United States. You can be sitting in Saint Paul or Madison or Fargo and know that another 1 Million Cups community is gathering at the same time to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.

In its most simplistic form, 1 Million Cups is a business pitch event. Each week, two early stage startups talk about their business for six minutes. This pitch is followed by twenty minutes of questions and answers with a gathered audience of peers, potential mentors, support providers, leaders, and community advocates. So yes, 1 Million Cups is about giving a business pitch. But it has the potential to offer so much more.

One of the main goals of 1 Million Cups is to leverage the shared experience of the gathered community to encourage entrepreneurs and provide constructive feedback on their business model. It’s about supporting entrepreneurs through the collective knowledge and power of the community. The first question asked during the Q&A session is always, “What can this community do for you?” to set the tone.

We have an established 1 Million Cups community right in Saint Paul (@1MillionCupsSPL) that we have strong ties to. There is also a new, emerging 1 Million Cups community in Willmar (@1MillionCupsWMR).

Several steps have been taken in the community to bring 1 Million Cups to Rochester, hopefully in the very near future.

What can 1 Million Cups do for the Rochester entrepreneurial and small business community? This event addresses many of the concerns made at the Collider Community event a few weeks ago.

1 Million Cups in Rochester could:

  1. Engage the community with a dedicated event. The local spearheads for this project are seeking out a monthly option for 1 Million Cups, instead of the more traditional weekly option. This event would bring exposure to two emerging entrepreneurs, who are developing real businesses and taking real risks, each month.  
  2. Open up the conversation around entrepreneurship, risk taking, and failure.
  3. Identify the next entrepreneurs.
  4. Help to establish mentorship roles in the community.
  5. Connect and engage with entrepreneurs and mentors in southeast Minnesota as a whole.

I encourage all of our entrepreneurs to head to Saint Paul and Willmar and connect with these communities and see what would could also bring to Rochester and the surrounding area.

If you want to get a sneak peak of what 1 Million Cups could look like in our community, be sure to stay updated on Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in Rochester. GEW takes place November 14th through the 18th. We hope to put on a 1 Million Cups-like event Wednesday November 16th.  

Lessons Learned from 1 Million Cups Kansas City

Last week I had the chance to visit the burgeoning entrepreneurial community of Kansas City.  It was a great opportunity to see what other entrepreneurs are doing and sample the flavor of innovation communities outside of Minnesota.

Kansas City has a lot to offer the emerging entrepreneur.  The city houses an entrepreneur-led community, called Startup Village, where a dense network of startups organically grew up along some newly laid Google fiber.  The Techstars Sprint Accelerator, an intensive three-month business development program, is located in Kansas City.

And of course Kansas City is home to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

The Kauffman Foundation was founded in the 1960s by Kansas City entrepreneur and humanitarian Ewing Marion Kauffman to “give back to society”.  The organization established programs to support and educate entrepreneurs, which Kauffman believed was the best way to bolster individual success, propel the local economy, and establish entrepreneurship as a key part of the immediate ecosystem. 

Kauffman himself helped to shape Kansas City.  In 1950, he built his own pharmaceutical business out of a basement in the city, called Marion Laboratories, Inc.  The company was sold to Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals forty years later, after it had reached over $1 billion in sales.  Kauffman also purchased the local major league baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, in in 1968 and transformed the team into the model for sports franchisement.  Just in case you’re wondering why the Royals play at something called Kauffman Stadium.

The Kauffman Foundation has deep roots in education and entrepreneurship and launched several signature programs just for entrepreneurs, including the online Founders School, FastTrac, and the national program 1 Million Cups.

1 Million Cups in theory is something very simple.  Every week, two different entrepreneurs stand up in front of their peers, industry leaders, and the community and pitch their business idea.  The entrepreneurs each receive six minutes to entice the audience with their concept, story, and business model.  Then the founders field questions for twenty minutes from the attendees.

Simple in theory.  But the amazing part is that this exact sequence of events happens in ninety-three different 1 Million Cups communities across the United States at exactly 9AM every Wednesday morning.  You can be sitting in Kansas City or Saint Paul or Boulder or Charlotte and experience the exact same flow of events at the exact same time.  You can almost sink back in your chair and feel the buzz and vibrations emanating from these other innovation hubs.  Even if you’re not that imaginative, just pop onto Twitter and take a look at the live feeds streaming in from the other 1 Million Cups communities.    

The bread and butter of 1 Million Cups is the same in each community, but the intricacies in each group is very different.

I have attended 1 Million Cups in Saint Paul on several occasions and saw many similarities between the Saint Paul and Kansas City communities.  The 6-minute pitch and 20-minute Q&A structure was exactly the same.

“What can we as a community do for you?” is always the final question asked to the entrepreneurs in any of the 1 Million Cups communities, underlying the real purpose of this event to leverage the power and abilities that we can have as a whole.

And of course coffee is a staple component of 1 Million Cups.  The whole idea centers around the concept that entrepreneurs network and build themselves over a million cups of coffee.  Remember to write that one into your budget.

However, 1 Million Cups was born in Kansas City, so they have a thing or two figured out about the whole process.

First off, the room was packed.  It was amazing to see that dense of an entrepreneurial community.  There was even a group of visiting Chinese students studying entrepreneurship at the closely located University of Kansas for the summer.

The 1 Million Cups Kansas City organizers also crafted beautiful handouts for the attendees that included the official event Twitter handle and hashtag- it actually is amazingly easy to use the wrong handle with all the different 1 Million Cups- short bios of the presenting companies with their Twitter handles, a space for notes, a list of community events and announcements for the week, and pictures and Twitter handles for the 1 Million Cups Kansas City community organizers.  This was just such a simple and brilliant way to facilitate interaction with the event and keep everyone, literally, on the same page.

Unlike my experience with the Saint Paul community, the Q&A session in Kansas City was begun with questions from an expert panel.  Last week, this included local businessmen Steve Woods, Managing Director at Boom Ideanet, and Ben Kittrell, Founder of Doodle Kit.

Guerrilla Signs team with the gorilla mascot.

Guerrilla Signs team with the gorilla mascot.

The first startup to pitch at this particular 1 Million Cups Kansas City event was Guerrilla Signs from Springfield, Missouri.  This team built the Ninja Sign, a 4 x 4 foot collapsible, highly portable sign that can be assembled by a single person in under three minutes without any additional tools.  The group is still figuring out the target customer, but these high quality signs could greatly impact the real estate and commercial market.

Bric Founder Grant Stanley.

Bric Founder Grant Stanley.

The second startup to pitch, Bric, offers a solution to workforce management issues.  This team from Omaha, Nebraska uses machine learning and data analytics to build out project plans and track the actual time required to complete jobs for creatives and creative agencies.  Their target customer likely uses fixed billing, such as advertising and design agencies.

The questions posed to these entrepreneurs, whether in Kansas City or elsewhere, is always similar.  What is the marketing strategy?  Who are the target customers?  What is the value added?  Solid business development doesn’t really change geographically.

It was such a cool experience to engage with a different 1 Million Cups community and see how they do the same things just a little bit differently.

We have a fantastic, welcoming 1 Million Cups right here in Saint Paul.  This group meets every Wednesday at 9AM, of course, at the James J. Hill Reference Library.  Hopefully, we can initiate our own 1 Million Cups in Rochester in the near future.  But for now we have this amazing community with great organizers just a little over an hour away.  1 Million Cups Saint Paul provides an opportunity for Rochester companies to spread brand awareness to our greater entrepreneurial and startup community.