Become a Supporting Member of Rochester Rising!

During the past ~2 years that Rochester Rising has existed, we’ve told the stories of over 143 different entrepreneurs, startups, and innovation initiatives in Rochester and the surrounding communities. Many of these stories were in biotech and healthtech. However, we’ve shared the journey of many other entrepreneurs, including those operating in retail, food and beverage, fitness, tech, and social entrepreneurship.

We feel that it’s important to tell the stories of people taking risks, taking chances with no safety net, innovating, creating, and not following the expected route. These stories are valuable tools to inspire others, showcase the creativity that is already occurring here, and build up the entrepreneurial community piece by piece.

Supporting Memberships help to keep this platform running and help us to run events around the community. Additionally, our Supporting Members receive a range of perks, including access to online, supporting member only content and deeply discounted advertisement packages.

We run our Supporting Membership through an online platform called Patreon, where our Supporting Members, or “Patrons,” can give anything from $1 to $25 each month. Unlike many other membership drives, our Supporting Members get new rewards each year, which they receive as long as they stay a Supporting Member. Head to our Patreon page to learn more and to become a Supporting Member today:

Rochester Rising Launches Second Annual Fall Supporting Member Drive

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It’s time again for the Rochester Rising Fall Supporting Member drive! If you enjoy reading our articles, listening in the podcasts, and watching our video content about the emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem in Rochester, Minnesota and our surrounding communities, considering become a Supporting Member of Rochester Rising to help keep this platform going.

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And most importantly, I want to say a big thank you to the many Supporting Members who have been here since the start. Your support was instrumental to make this news platform operational.

Rochester Rising was launched in July 2016 to tell stories of Rochester-based innovation that would otherwise remain untold. Today, we still remain the only entrepreneurially-focused news site in the community.

During the past ~2 years that Rochester Rising has existed, we’ve told the stories of over 143 different entrepreneurs, startups, and innovation initiatives in Rochester and the surrounding communities. Many of these stories were in biotech and healthtech. However, we’ve shared the journey of many other entrepreneurs, including those operating in retail, food and beverage, fitness, tech, and social entrepreneurship. 

We feel that it’s important to tell the stories of people taking risks, taking chances with no safety net, innovating, creating, and not following the expected route. These stories are valuable tools to inspire others, showcase the creativity that is already occurring here, and build up the entrepreneurial community piece by piece.

With more activity in our community than we ever seen before, now is the exact time for something like Rochester Rising to exist to document and begin to record the rise of entrepreneurship in Rochester. We do have a small and young entrepreneurial community, but it’s growing daily. We feel that it’s essential to tell this story. As an entrepreneurial myself, Rochester Rising is has the most advantageous vantage point to amplify this content.

Rochester Rising has had steady impact in the community. The articles, podcasts, and videos that we generate allow people to see the faces and hear the voices of our local creators. 

Starting in this year, we’ve also begun launching some women-focused entrepreneurial events to connect and engage the entrepreneurial community, with our partners at The Commission. We have also begun to produce educational materials to help people understand and connect to the community. This includes our “Roadmap to the Rochester Entrepreneurial Community”, which is updated yearly as well as self-published print and online magazines to share these stories in a different way. This past year we've also launched an ongoing #Emerge series to showcase the faces and voices of Rochester's entrepreneurial community, a “Strong Women Creating Value” series to showcase local female leaders, and a “Minnesota Innovation Hub” series to demonstrate the multiple entrepreneurial hubs across Minnesota.

This whole process has involved an immense amount of learning, failing, and growing. 

Why do we need to have Supporting Members and why should you consider becoming one?

Well foremost, Supporting Memberships help to keep this platform running and help us to run events around the community. Additionally, our Supporting Members receive a range of perks, including access to online, supporting member only content and deeply discounted advertisement packages.

We run our Supporting Membership through an online platform called Patreon, where our Supporting Members, or “Patrons,” can give anything from $1 to $25 each month. Unlike many other membership drives, our Supporting Members get new rewards each year, which they receive as long as they stay a Supporting Member.

If you’re not ready or interested in a monthly contribution, one time donations are also highly appreciated. 

If you think Rochester Rising is something that should continue to exist in this community, please consider becoming a sustaining member. You can find out more information on our Patreon page

Six Startups from across U.S. Aim to Improve Patient Care through Devices, Software, and Care Management in gBETA Medtech Fall 2018 Cohort

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 Minneapolis, MN – gBETA Medtech, a program of the nationally ranked accelerator gener8tor, has selected six startups for its Fall 2018 cohort from an international applicant pool. gBETA Medtech is funded by Boston Scientific with additional support from Mayo Clinic, the University of Minnesota and Medical Alley Association. 

“gBETA Medtech’s success this year is a testimony to the demand for even greater collaboration between early-stage ventures, influential institutions and corporate leaders,” said Dave Knapp, vice president, Corporate Research at Boston Scientific. “As we build more and closer relationships across this ecosystem, we move closer to our ultimate goal: an even greater impact on patient care, lives changed and lives saved.” 

 gBETA Medtech is a free, seven-week accelerator that works with medical device, healthcare-related software, biotech, and diagnostics startups for no fees and no equity. Each gBETA program is capped at six companies to ensure meaningful engagement with sponsors and other resources. Participants receive intensive and individualized coaching and access to physicians, researchers, successful entrepreneurs, angel investors, venture capitalists, and industry experts. The program is designed to help startups gain early customer traction on their product or idea, and establish metrics that can make them competitive applicants for full-time, equity-based accelerators or seed investment. 

“Demand for programs like ours is only growing in the wake of our first two cohorts’ success. We believe that the solutions these companies offer to address diverse clinical needs have the potential to be truly disruptive, and we can’t wait to integrate these companies into Medical Alley,” said Adam Choe, director of gBETA Medtech. 

 The gBETA Medtech Fall 2018 cohort includes: 

CorInnova (Houston, Texas) designs and develops a revolutionary soft robotic non-blood contacting biventricular cardiac assist device for the treatment of heart failure (HF) that would eliminate 40% of the adverse events associated with existing cardiac assist devices. 

CEO: William Altman | | 

Drug Free Therapeutix (Indianapolis, Indiana) designs and develops an intelligent, networked non-invasive closed-loop vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) technology that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to treat a variety of pain and gastrointestinal disorders. 

CEO: Stephen Hourigan | |  

HabitAware (Minneapolis, Minnesota) makes Keen, a smart bracelet that helps people manage compulsive behaviors including trichotillomania (hair pulling), skin picking, nail biting and more. 

CEO: Sameer Kumar | | 

Nutrimedy (Boston, Massachusetts) improves the outdated care delivery model for clinical nutrition connecting patients with expert registered dietitians to provide education, support, and counseling for over 50 conditions through a web platform and mobile app.

CEO: Karolina Starczak | | 

Phraze (San Francisco, California) automates physician electronic medical record (EMR) data entry and documentation requirements utilizing an AI scribe. 

Co-Founder: Brandon McCutcheon | | 

Vital Health Links (Woodbury, Minnesota) specializes in helping medical practices and healthcare organizations realize new revenue and improve quality metrics through Medicare’s Chronic Care Management program. 

CEO: Saurin Patel | | 

Startups interested in learning more should contact gBETA Medtech Director Adam Choe ( For more information on the program and ways to get involved, please visit 

Allianz Life and Securian Financial Team up with gener8tor to Invest in, Accelerate Insurance Innovation

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New “OnRamp Insurance Accelerator” invests in tech startups, and annual “OnRamp Insurance Conference” coming to Twin Cities.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--To invest in the next generation of insurance technology and innovation, Allianz Life Ventures, part of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, and Securian Financial have joined forces with nationally ranked startup accelerator, gener8tor, to establish the OnRamp Insurance Accelerator. 

Each year, five startups will be accepted into the three-month, concierge accelerator program in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Each will receive a cash investment of $100,000, office space and access to gener8tor’s global network of mentors and investors. Applications are now open for the first OnRamp Insurance Accelerator cohort. Startups may apply at 

“We are pleased to partner with gener8tor to support the insurance tech startups that are developing the tools and technology for tomorrow’s insurance industry,” said Walter White, president and chief executive officer of Allianz Life. “We have a common vision of the potential of new technologies, and a commitment to finding new, innovative and efficient ways to serve our contract and policyholders both today and for years to come.” 

The creation of the OnRamp Insurance Accelerator builds off the success of the industry-leading OnRamp Insurance Conference. As part of the new Allianz Life Ventures, Securian Financial and gener8tor relationship, the annual OnRamp Insurance Conference will be held in Minneapolis-St. Paul. The 2019 OnRamp Insurance Conference will take place on April 11, 2019 at Target Center. 

Started by gener8tor in 2016, the OnRamp Insurance Conference brings together the insurance industry’s leading corporations, investors and startups. The event specifically focuses on connecting insurance startups and investors with insurance executives in corporate venture capital, innovation, M&A and strategy. The conference highlights innovations disrupting the insurance industry, the leaders making such innovations possible and how new technologies and business models will reinvent the industry. The one-day event, which always takes place in a sports stadium, includes a full day of programming. 

“The OnRamp Insurance Conference will bring thousands of insurance executives, investors and startups to the Twin Cities. To build off of those relationships, we are thrilled to team up with two of the best carriers in the business to invest in the best insurtech startups via the OnRamp
Insurance Accelerator,” said Troy Vosseller, co-founder of gener8tor.

About Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America 

Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America, one of FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For® in 2018, has been keeping its promises since 1896. Today, it carries on that tradition, helping Americans achieve their retirement income and protection goals with a variety of annuities and life insurance products. In 2017, Allianz Life provided a total of $2.7 billion in benefit payments that supported policyholders’ financial objectives. As a leading provider of fixed index annuities, Allianz Life is part of Allianz SE, a global leader in the financial services industry with 142,000 employees in more than 70 countries worldwide. More than 85 million private and corporate customers rely on Allianz knowledge, global reach, and capital strength to help them make the most of financial opportunities. 

About Allianz Life Ventures 

Allianz Life Ventures, part of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life), makes investments in North American companies with potential market traction and a demonstrated ability to drive innovation. Allianz Life Ventures is uniquely positioned to leverage the financial strength and in-house expertise of Allianz Life to help our partners succeed. Active in all investment stages from seed and early stage to growth, current partners include: Core Innovation Capital, blooom, tomorrow, LifeYield, Gainfully, Vestwell, Ladder, and Covr. 

About Securian Financial 

At Securian Financial, we’re here for family. And we’re here because of it. We’re guided by our purpose: helping customers build secure tomorrows. Since 1880, we’ve been building a uniquely diversified company that has outlasted economic ups and downs while staying true to our customers. We’re committed to the markets we serve, providing insurance, investment and retirement solutions that give families the confidence to focus on what’s truly valuable: banking memories with those who matter most. 

About OnRamp Insurance Accelerator 

Each year, the OnRamp Insurance Accelerator, with Allianz Life and Securian Financial, invests in five insurtech startups who participate in a three-month, concierge accelerator program in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Each startup receives a cash investment of $100,000, office space and access to gener8tor’s global network of mentors and investors. 

About OnRamp Insurance Conference 

The OnRamp Insurance Conference brings together the insurance industry’s leading corporations, investors and startups. The event specifically focuses on connecting insurance startups and investors with insurance executives in corporate venture capital, innovation, M&A and strategy. The conference highlights innovations disrupting the insurance industry, the leaders making such innovations possible and how new technologies and business models will reinvent the industry. 

About gener8tor 

gener8tor is a turnkey platform for the creative economy that connects startups, entrepreneurs, artists, investors, universities and corporations. The gener8tor platform includes pre-accelerators, accelerators, corporate programming, conferences and fellowships focused on entrepreneurs, artists and musicians. gener8tor is a nationally ranked, GOLD-tier accelerator in the U.S. as ranked by the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project. 

All Major Sectors in Medical Alley Break $100 million Raised for First Time

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Medical Alley’s third quarter ended with new industry records and new milestones set across the board. 27 Medical Alley-based companies raised $176,089,457 in Q3, the second-best Q3 in the last five years.

“Medical Alley's portfolio of growing companies across the healthcare spectrum continues to demonstrate that this region is the best place to solve healthcare's biggest challenges, regardless of what sector you are in.” said Shaye Mandle, President and CEO, Medical Alley Association.

Medical Alley device companies raised $90 million this quarter, continuing a steady growth trend that began in 2009. Biotech companies also set new milestones in Medical Alley, breaking $100 million in capital raised in a year for the first time in Medical Alley history. Digital Health investment continued its strong run with $32 million raised in the third quarter for a year-to-date total of $116 million.

Most noteworthy in Q3 is that all major sectors in Medical Alley broke $100 million in year-to-date funds raised for the first time.

The top-raising companies included Recombinetics with $34M in Series A funding, Urotronic Inc. with $20M in Series B funding, 4C Medical Technologies with $17M in Series A funding, and Vireo Health LLC and Cardialen each raising $16M.

To see the full report click here.

About The Medical Alley Association

Founded in 1984, the Medical Alley Association supports and advances the global leadership of Medical Alley’s healthcare industry, and its connectivity around the world. MAA delivers the collective influence, intelligence and interactions that support Medical Alley.

Press Release: DMC Hosts Design Workshops: Ideas to Solutions in 90 Minutes As Prep for the Upcoming Assistive Tech Challenge

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Destination Medical Center Economic Development Agency will be hosting three design workshops September 27 – 28, 2018, to help address challenges faced by individuals with disabilities as part of the Assistive Tech Challenge. 

The workshops will be facilitated by the civic design nonprofit Our City in partnership with the Assistive Tech Challenge. 

Participants in these workshops will learn the art of design thinking to address problems and create solutions in just 90 minutes. 

Ideas that emerge from the workshops will prepare participants to submit ideas to the Assistive Tech Challenge pitch competition on November 3 at the Assistive Technology Expo. 

Two design workshops are scheduled in Rochester on Thursday, September 27 and one workshop is scheduled in Minneapolis on Friday, September 28. 

Workshops are FREE to attend. Registration is required for each workshop at

 Workshop #1: Assistive Tech and the Caregiver Experience 

Thursday, September 27, 2018, 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Mayo Civic Center, 30 Civic Center Dr. SE, Rochester, MN 55904 | This workshop is embedded within the Transform conference. You will be joined by Transform attendees in exploring design thinking. 


This fast-paced, hands-on workshop will focus on how to use design thinking to help caregivers thrive. Participants will “sprint” from starting from a real or perceived barrier to developing an idea to address it in just 90 minutes. Each participant will walk away with a new understanding of the design process and how it might support caregivers -- plus a real idea of their own to put into action. 

Workshop #2: Assistive Tech and Public Infrastructure 

Thursday, September 27, 2018, 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Studio 324 (Fagan Studio), 324 South Broadway, Rochester, MN 55904 


This fast-paced, hands-on workshop will focus on how to use design thinking to help design public spaces that support greater independence for individuals with a disability. Participants will “sprint” from a real or perceived barrier to developing an idea to address it in just 90 minutes. Each participant will walk away with a new understanding of the design process and how it might support different development paradigms in the public realm -- plus a real idea of their own to put into action. 

Workshop #3: Assistive Tech and Workforce Readiness and Social Skill Development 

Friday, September 28, 2018., 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., The Bakken Museum, 3537 Zenith Ave South, Minneapolis, MN 55416. 


This fast-paced, hands-on workshop will focus on how to use design thinking to 1) help people with a visible or invisible disability to interact and cultivate meaningful relationships; and 2) alleviate barriers to employment. Participants will “sprint” from a real or perceived barrier to developing an idea to address it in just 90 minutes. Each participant will walk away with a new understanding of the design process and how it might spur development of new products or services in these two important areas -- plus a real idea of their own to put into action. 

About the Assistive Tech Challenge 

The Assistive Tech Challenge is a pitch competition presented by Destination Medical Center’s Discovery Square in collaboration with The Arc Minnesota Southeast Region, and the disABILITY Mayo Clinic Employee Resource Group to facilitate greater independence for individuals with disabilities and the daily challenges they face. 

The Assistive Tech Challenge seeks solutions to: 

  • Alleviating barriers to employment 

  • Reducing the need for and/or easing the demands of direct support on care providers 

  • Developing social skills that better enable people with and without disabilities to interact and cultivate meaningful relationships; and 

  • Improving access to the community through public infrastructure 

The Assistive Tech Challenge is November 3 in Rochester, Minnesota at the Assistive Technology Expo. Prizes awarded to first and second place teams in two divisions. Applications and complete details at 

About Our City 

Our City is a national nonprofit, working to transform how people engage with their cities. 

Our City believes in the power of art, design, and play to transform this engagement. 

About Our City 

Our City is a national nonprofit, working to transform how people engage with their cities. 

Our City believes in the power of art, design, and play to transform this engagement. 

Our City envisions a world where every person sees the world as changeable – then goes out and changes it. 

Our City works to achieve this by creating large-scale public design events, installations, and workshops. 

Through Our City’s work, they empower residents to imagine and build the future of their communities. 

More at 

Tech Entrepreneurs Mike Rolih and Kenneth Ngah to Speak at Rochester Rising Community Celebration

We are very excited to announce the two invited speakers for our first birthday party and celebration of the Rochester entrepreneurial community: Kenneth Ngah and Mike Rolih. Our community celebration will take place on Wednesday July 19th at 4:30PM at Grand Rounds Brew Pub. Click here to purchase your ticket by July 12th.


About Kenneth Ngah- Founder of WandaGuides

Kenneth is a season web programmer, hailing from Cameroon, who has been in Rochester for the last ten months. This tech entrepreneur founded the startup WandaGuides to encourage tourism in Cameroon and connect tourists with government recognized travel agencies. Kenneth began his career performing web contract work and building websites in several different countries without ever having to leave Cameroon. He served as Community Manager of a coworking space in the city of Buea, called ActivSpaces, where he helped to create entrepreneur-focused events and connect with the local university system. Kenneth and a team of entrepreneurs helped to build very specific tech communities in Cameroon- including JavaScript and WordPress focused hubs- to increase the local skill set and bolster tech development. He also helped to directly place students into internships with developing startups in the community to teach immediately transferable skill sets.


About Mike Rolih- Founder of GoRout


GoRout is a two-year-old hardware and software startup based out of The Vault in downtown Rochester. GoRout developed football’s only on-field wearable technology that allows players and coaches to communicate instantly and efficiently. Mike- a former professional baseball player, Division One baseball coach, and baseball scout- originally set out to build a baseball stats platform, but the idea took too long and was not headed in the intended direction. He landed the original seed money for GoRout while driving a limo between Rochester and the MSP airport. The GoRout team believes in failing fast and learning fast. During Global Entrepreneurship Week last year, GoRout held the first ever sportstech product launch from Rochester unveiling their newest product, an in-helmet, heads up display called Vue-Up. This February, GoRout earned national attention by winning the “Communication with the Athlete” division in the NFL’s 1st and Future Competition in Huston over Super Bowl weekend.

Thanks to our generous community partners for making this event possible.

Rochester Rising to Mark One Year Anniversary with Community Celebration

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Rochester Rising was launched in July 18, 2016 to amplify the stories of Rochester entrepreneurs and give a voice to the city’s emerging entrepreneurial community. Over the past year, we’ve told the stories of over 104 different entrepreneurs, operating across ten different industries. Hopefully, we’ve helped to make a difference in Rochester’s entrepreneurial community during this time.

To celebrate this milestone, we’re throwing a one year birthday party on Wednesday July 19th from 4:30-6:30 PM at Grand Rounds Brew Pub. So mark your calendars. More information and ticket sales will roll out in a few weeks.

Rochester Rising would not exist without the support of the growing entrepreneurial community here. This birthday event is not just to mark a milestone for Rochester Rising, but is a time to celebrate the progress of the entire entrepreneurial and innovation community of Rochester over the past year.

As part of this festivity, we would like to invite one entrepreneur who has told their story on Rochester Rising over the past year to give a brief talk at this event to tell a bit more of their story or share a big idea they have about entrepreneurship.

We want you, the entrepreneurial community, to tell us who you want to hear more from.

Click here to access a form with some of the local entrepreneurs that we’ve featured on Rochester Rising this year. Choose up to three innovators that you’d like to hear more from at this celebration.

Voting will end on Monday June 26th.

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.

Guide to the Rochester Entrepreneurial Community Part 3: Dedicated Events

Dedicated entrepreneurial events are one sign of a healthy entrepreneurial community. These events, which are separate from meetups and similar networking gatherings, occur on a regular basis right here in Rochester. So mark your calendars. These events are a great way to engage and connect our entrepreneurial and startup community.

  1. 1 Million Cups Rochester: This educational program is straight out of the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City. 1 Million Cups educates and connects entrepreneurs in over 110 communities across the country. During each event, two early stage startups tell their story for six minutes to a gathered audience of peers, mentors, and supporters. 1 Million Cups Rochester takes place the first Wednesday of every month at 9AM at Bleu Duck Kitchen. The next event is March 1st.
  2. TEDxZumbroRiver: TEDx are locally organized, independent TED-like events, where speakers discuss potentially transformational ideas. The very first TEDxZumbroRiver took place last year. This year, the event will be held at Autumn Ridge Church on Thursday May 18th.
  3. Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW): GEW is a worldwide celebration of entrepreneurship, composed of locally organized events, in over 160 countries around the world. This year, GEW will take place November 14th-20th.
  4. Mayo Clinic Transform Conference: The Transform Conference engages healthcare innovators from around the world and inspires change through action to create a sustainable healthcare community. Transform 2017 will take place September 27th-29th at the Mayo Civic Center.
  5. Startup Weekend: This event connects innovators and mentors to build a product or service in only 54 hours and present the idea or prototype to gathered audience and panel of experts at the end of the weekend. Last year Rochester ran its very first Youth Startup Weekend. Rochester’s inaugural Startup Weekend will take place this fall. Startup Weekend is held in over 150 countries and has created over 23,000 teams of creative entrepreneurs.

Guide to the Rochester Entrepreneurial Community Part Two: Entrepreneurial Newsletters

Today, we continue our guide to the entrepreneurial community of Rochester with Part Two. Here are the best newsletters to follow for the latest business and innovation information from Rochester and the surrounding communities.

1.     TECHdotMN Newsletter. Delivers weekly news from the Minneapolis and Saint Paul tech and startup ecosystem.

2.     Collider Newsletter. Not just for tenants of the coworking facility, this weekly newsletter delivers the latest events and news from the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Rochester.

3.     Rochester Rising Newsletter. Our own weekly newsletter delivers links to all the stories of entrepreneurship and small business on Rochester Rising for the week and connects to our monthly entrepreneurial event calendar.

4.     Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator Newsletter. Subscribe to stay up to date with the latest events and news updates from the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator.

5.     Destination Medical Center Newsletter. Get on this mailing list to receive the latest news from the largest economic development initiative in the history of Minnesota.

6.     Medical Alley Association Newsletters. Medical Alley Association, Minnesota’s leading resource for health tech companies, has several different newsletters covering Medical Alley events, weekly news updates, and the latest intelligence from Minnesota’s health tech industries.

7.     Startup Digest MSP. Delivers a weekly list of all entrepreneurial events in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Minnesota High Tech Association Holding Lunch Event Next Week to Showcase Free Resources for Small STEM Business

Are you looking for ways to engage in the broader science and technology community in Minnesota? Does your small business need help finding – and paying for – STEM interns? Do you have an idea for cutting edge science and technology that has the potential for commercialization? Join us for a complimentary lunch to hear how the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) supports innovation, technology and the growth of small business.

When: Thursday, February 2, 2017.

11:30 AM – Complimentary Lunch & Networking. Noon-1:00 PM – Program

Where: Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator: 221 1st Avenue SW, Suite 202, Rochester, MN 55902

This event is sponsored by Dunlap & Seeger and hosted by Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator and Collider Coworking.


 MHTA is a non-profit association of more than 300 technology companies and organizations. Together, we fuel Minnesota’s prosperity through innovation and technology. Our members include some of the world’s leading corporations, mid-sized companies and startups. Learn more about MHTA and the free resources available to Minnesota small businesses in science, technology, engineering and manufacturing, including:

The SciTechsperience Internship Program connects small to mid-sized Minnesota businesses to college STEM majors and provides a wage match to cover 50% of the intern’s wages (worth up to $2,500!)

MN-SBIR/STTR is the State’s resource that assists seed, early stage, emerging and existing firms (1-500 employees) to successfully access non-dilutive federal research funding

Women Leading in Technology (WLiT) works to promote, educate and empower women in technology across Minnesota


The event is free, but registration is required; space is limited to the first 30 registrants.

Two SE Minnesota Non-Profits Selected as Lenders in State-Wide Entrepreneurial Program

This past month, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced twenty-three non-profit lending partners who will participate in a new, state-wide grant program to increase Minnesotan business growth. The selected non-profits have a strong record of assisting historically disadvantaged groups in Minnesota.

This new lending program, called the Minnesota Emerging Entrepreneur Program (MEEP), will distribute a $2 million loan pool through the non-profit lenders to business communities within the state that typically have difficulties accessing to capital. The participating non-profits can issue loans between $5,000 to $150,000 to small businesses that are majority owned and operated by minorities, low-income persons, women, veterans, and/or persons with disabilities. All loans will be approved by DEED; the repaid monies will be return to a revolving loan fund.

MEEP is an extension of Urban Initiative Loan Program (UILP), which provides funding to low-income communities located with the Minneapolis/St. Paul vicinity.

Two southeastern Minnesota based non-profits were selected as lending partners for this state-wide Emerging Entrepreneur Program. Chatfield-based Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) received $60,000 of funds to loan to qualified small businesses. CEDA provides business assistance and micro-lending primarily in southeastern Minnesota, including the communities of Stewartville, Chatfield, Byron, Eyota, and Saint Charles. Owatonna-based Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) received $50,000 of loan funding through the program. SMIF provides grants, loans, and other business services to twenty southern Minnesotan counties.

The Metropolitan Consortium of Community Developers, The Entrepreneur Fund, African Development Center of Minnesota, Center Minnesota Development Company, Neighborhood Development Center, WomenVenture, Metropolitan Economic Development Association, Latino Economic Development Center, First Children’s Finance, Southwest Initiative Foundation, Hmong American Partnership, Initiative Foundation, Northland Foundation, North Central Economic Development Association, Northside Economic Opportunity Network, Northwest Minnesota Foundation, Worthington Regional Economic Development Corporation, 4-Directions Development, African Economic Development Solutions, Greater Bemidji, and Immigrant Development Center also received loan funding.  

Rochester Rising Launches Crowdfunding Campaign to make News Site a Sustainable Part of the Community

Rochester Rising is launching a crowdfunding campaign, starting today, to make this news site a sustainable part of the community. You can become a supporter by clicking here to be re-directed to the Rochester Rising Patreon site. It’s crowdfunding, so of course there are prizes for contributing to the campaign! There are seven different incentive levels, including advertisement for businesses and startups.

  • At a $25/month, a startup or emerging small business gets one week of advertisement per month on the Rochester Rising homepage.
  • At $100/month a, more established, local business or nonprofit gets one week of advertisement per month on the Rochester Rising homepage.


What is Rochester Rising?

Hopefully this is not your first visit here, but if it is I hope it’s not your last. Rochester Rising is an online-only news site that delivers in-depth, insightful, original articles and podcasts about the entrepreneurial and emerging small business sectors in Rochester, Minnesota.

I told my story as a new entrepreneur here just a few weeks ago. But Rochester Rising was really started to fill a gap in news coverage in our community. We have a very young, but emerging entrepreneurial community here in Rochester. We have a great bioscience and medical community here, and some of these entrepreneurs are operating in that industry. But we also have so much more. We have tech entrepreneurs, food and beverage entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs, student entrepreneurs, and innovative non-profits. We have a growing small business community. People here are really starting to take risks and put themselves out there, but no one is talking about it.

Rochester Rising gives our innovators and entrepreneurs a voice. It’s a place to tell the stories of our risk-takers, both the good parts and the bad. And hopefully it’s a place that will inspire change through words and motive others to start something, no matter how small.


Why Should you Care?

Rochester Rising is not out to craft click bait headlines. Not every story will be of interest to everyone. But there’s something here for anyone interested in community development, entrepreneurship, innovation, and business development in Rochester and even beyond this city. There’s something here for everyone who wants to be inspired. These are the stories that we feel need to be told.

There’s no large production team behind Rochester Rising. It’s just me. One person. I do all the writing, editing, podcasting, web development, sales, marketing, business development, etc. I am currently not financed by any promotional or business development entities in town. It’s just me trying to make this work long enough to make a difference.


What’s Crowdfunding and What’s in it For Me?

Crowdfunding is a way to raise small amounts of money from a large number of people. People who financially back a product or business through crowdfunding typically get some type of reward. Most people are probably more familiar with crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, where supporters make a one-time financial contribution and the fundraising campaign ends in 30-60 days.

I’m using a different crowdfunding platform called Patreon. These campaigns last until the creator (me in this case) ends them. And instead of the one-time financial support, supporting patrons give a monthly financial contribution. So it’s more similar to an MPR-like model where supporters, or patrons in this case, give however much they want each month to the business.

Besides just knowing that you’re helping to make Rochester Rising a sustainable part of the community here, there are seven other incentive levels for patrons contributing monthly to the campaign. Here’s what Rochester Rising patrons will receive:

  • For $1/month: A special “I support Rochester Rising” sticker + access to patron-only teasers about upcoming interviews. These teasers can be accessed on the Patreon website or mobile app.
  • For $5/month: All of the above incentives + access to patron-only weekly, exclusive Rochester Rising content. This content is will be available through the Patreon website or app.
  • For $10/month: All of the above incentives + one Rochester Rising coffee mug.
  • For $15/month: All of the above incentives + one Rochester Rising T-shirt + the ability to submit questions for upcoming interviews (through the Patreon website or app).
  • For $25/month: All of the above incentives + tickets to an exclusive live taping of a Rochester Rising roundtable podcast + 1 week/month of free advertising for a startup or emerging small business on the Rochester Rising homepage.
  • $50/month: All of the above incentives + one surprise sent to you in the mail each month from me! + 1 free month of Collider Community membership ($20 value).
  • $100/month: All of the above incentives + listing as a Founding Patron on Rochester Rising (if you want) + 1 free week/month of free advertising for a local business or non-profit on the Rochester Rising homepage.


Check out the Patreon page for more information on how the money will be spent and to become a patron.

Any amount really helps Rochester Rising continue to exist. If you have read some of the articles or listen to the podcasts and have learned even one thing, please consider become a patron. If you really see the value of having something like this in the community, or if you even know me personally and believe in me, consider helping to make this a voice for entrepreneurship.


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:

Fresh News Friday: Sharing Economy, Workforce Housing, and Discovery Square

Here are the top stories this week of Rochester’s entrepreneurial and small business scene from around the web.

  1. Sharing Economy Delivers Risks, Rewards to Rochester- MPR News. Homes are rooms are beginning to open up in Rochester for short term rentals via websites like Airbnb and the numbers are expected to keep increasing. The emergence of a sharing economy in Rochester has brought complaints and concerns from some residents and local businesses. Over three million people visit Rochester each year and many want to stay in locations with all the amenities of home, similar to offerings in other US destinations.
  2. Mortenson Sets Timeline for Mayo Project in Rochester- Finance and Commerce. M.A. Mortenson Company hopes to break ground and be moving dirt in the Destination Medical Center’s (DMC) Discovery Square subdistrict by next October. The first project in Discovery Square will be a 60,000-100,000 square foot building, still of undetermined use. Discovery Square is meant to attract biotech entrepreneurs to Rochester. Mortenson expects to select an architect for the project in the next two months.  
  3. Workforce Housing in Rochester “at a Crisis Situation” According to Rochester Area Foundation- KTTC. The Rochester Area Foundation recently warned that the city’s middle class will be squeezed out of new housing developments in Rochester. New workforce housing is essential to keep talent in the area. But Rochester Area Foundation says that housing for people earning $35-55K per year is lacking in Rochester and needs to be built now before it’s too late.
  4. NIH Awards Recombinetics a Research Grant to Develop Swine Model of Alzheimer’s- Alzheimer’s News Today. Recombinetics, a Saint Paul biotech company with ties to Rochester, was recently awarded a ~$350K Phase 1 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant. The funds will be used to create a pig model of Alzheimer’s Disease for preclinical drug trials. Recombinetics uses precision gene editing techniques to efficiently mimic human disease in animals.
  5. Introducing Elysium: A New Underground Music Experience Coming to Rochester- The Med City Beat. Elysium is a brand new music and dance event launching in Rochester. Each Elysium event will hold a little bit of mystery and allure. Attendees have to buy tickets for the events in advance, but they won’t know the location or theme until just hours before the event starts. Elysium events are set to take place in multiple locations around Rochester.

More Than An Addict, a Rochester-based nonprofit organization, was awarded $5,000 in the LIVES Challenge.

Press release: More Than An Addict, a Rochester-based nonprofit organization, was awarded $5,000 in the LIVES challenge. 

The challenge was a national competition sponsored by San Diego company, Recovery Brands, and put forth the urge for applicants to create a new “PSA” around addiction recovery, with a focus on combatting stigma and encouraging those who are struggling to seek treatment.

More Than An Addict’s video submission was selected as the Judge’s Choice Winner based on its success at conveying a clear message that those struggling with addiction, as well as those who have recovered, are more than their addictions and are more than the labels often placed on them by societal stigma.

Winning the LIVES Challenge will allow More Than An Addict to more quickly realize its vision of supporting individuals in recovery. More Than An Addict was founded in 2015 and seeks to empower individuals in recovery from addiction by creating opportunities that allow them to pursue education, employment and entrepreneurship through providing funding opportunities such as scholarships, grants, special awards, and in the future, microloans and venture capital.

More Than An Addict is excited to announce that it will put the LIVES Challenge funds to immediate use to support its inaugural round of scholarship and entrepreneurial funding. The organization will open applications on Friday, October 14, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. CST, offering two opportunities for applicants who reside in Southeast Minnesota:

  1. An educational scholarship of $1,000.
  2. An entrepreneurial award valued over $1,000, which includes a 1-year membership to Collider Core, an entrepreneurial co-working space, as well as entrepreneurial programming, support and business assistance.

A full description of the funding opportunities, as well as application and stewardship requirements, can be found by visiting The awarded applicants will receive support, programming and mentorship from More Than An Addict and one of its partner organizations, Recovery Is Happening, a recovery community organization in Rochester that provides recovery groups, ongoing support, mentorship and recovery advocacy events.

"It's important that we continue to grow our recovery capital and grow out loud. More Than An Addict is on the path of showing our community that people in recovery are doing good things, which is a powerful way to share the stories of growth that happens in recovery,” says Tiffany Hunsley, Founder and Executive Director of Recovery Is Happening.

For the entrepreneurial award, the selected applicant will not only receive a 1-year membership to Collider Core, but individualized programming, goal setting and business support to help the individual grow their idea into a viable business. “We are excited to be partnering with More Than An Addict to support passionate entrepreneurs in the Rochester area,” states Jamie Sundsbak, Community Manager of Collider Core.

The organization is approaching this funding round as a pilot test to evaluate the model and programming, and is already developing early stage partnerships to bring programs and funding opportunities to areas including Minneapolis, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas.

“We are honored to be offering this support to individuals in recovery and believe there are great stories waiting to be told as we get to know the aspiring students and entrepreneurs in recovery, as well as the ideas and dreams they have for their future and their communities,” says Tori Utley, Founder of More Than An Addict.


About More Than An Addict

More Than An Addict is a nonprofit organization committed to empowering individuals in recovery from addiction by providing funding and creating opportunities in education, employment and entrepreneurship. By developing partnerships, programs and funding resources for individuals in recovery, we hope to empower others in their next chapters of life and continue to tell a new story about those who are in recovery – they are more than an addict, they are more than a label, and they are valuable assets in our communities.


About Recovery Is Happening

Recovery Is Happening is a local nonprofit and recovery community organization (RCO) that provides holistic recovery services to those in long-term recovery from addiction, including advocacy, outreach, and education. The organization provides a wide variety of programming from peer recovery support, recovery speaker series, and is a strong advocate for recovery-oriented systems of care in Southeast Minnesota and beyond.


About Collider Core

Collider Core is a hub for entrepreneurs to work, connect, and learn. Collider offers desk and conference room space to entrepreneurs and small businesses in a unique historic setting. Collider also aids entrepreneurs by offering monthly events and educational opportunities to leverage the resources of our growing entrepreneurial community.


Fresh News Friday: DMC, OneOme, and Ethanol Co-ops

Here are the top news stories from around the web from Rochester’s entrepreneurial and small business scene.

  1. Noseworthy: Mayo Clinic on Schedule to Meet DMC Developmental Targets- The Med City Beat. The Mayo Clinic CEO announced that the company is on track to deliver their DMC target funds. Over the next two decades, Mayo Clinic will invest $3.5B toward DMC projects. DMC is on track to receive $200M in private investment by the end of the year.
  2. Rochester Airport Keeps International Flights with $7.3M Upgrade- StarTribune. The Rochester International Airport faced a potential downgrade to municipal airport status when U.S. Customs and Border Protection found the airport’s customs facility to be outdated. The airport recently scored $7.3M in a U.S. Department of Transportation grant to upgrade the customs facility. Maintaining status as an international airport is essential to support the DMC initiative and the future of international business in Rochester.
  3. Claremont, MN Awarded a $500,000 CEDA Authored Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant- Community and Economic Development Associates. Claremont recently received a $500K grant for street improvements to aid in a $146M expansion of Al-Corn Clean Fuel, a farmer-owned ethanol production co-op. Three hundred construction jobs are expected to be generated for the buildout.
  4. Winners of the 2016 Manufacturing Awards by Minnesota Business Magazine- Minnesota Business Magazine. This week, Minnesota Business Magazine honored top manufacturers in the state with their 2015 Manufacturing Awards. Manufacturing contributes $37B to the state economy. Blooming Prairie based Minimizer was a finalist in the mid-sized company category this year. Minimizer is a leader in poly semi-truck fender manufacture.
  5. OneOme Lands $5.25 Million in Financing Round- Twin Cities Business. The life science startup OneOme is backed by Mayo Clinic and Invenshure, a Minneapolis incubator and venture investor. OneOme uses DNA analysis and their software product, RightMed, to minimize adverse drug reactions in patients. OneOme currently has twenty-five employees.

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.  

Fresh News Friday: Sheep, Healthier Offices, and the Resurgence of Entrepreneurship

Here’s the top stories from the web of entrepreneurship and small business this week in Rochester and beyond.

  1. How Sheep can Save the Planet. AgriNews. October 8th through the 9th, the Sheep and Fiber Farm Tour will take place in southeast Minnesota. The tour will focus on sustainable fiber practices. Participants will visit four different sheep farms in southeast Minnesota including Wind Swept Hill Farm (Farmington), Sutton Ridge Farm (St. Jordan), Buscho Farms (Faribault), Spruce Shadows Farm (Bloomington), and Faribault Woolen Mill.
  2. Delos, Mayo Clinic Team up to Create Optimal Office Environment Prototype. Construction Dive. Mayo Clinic and the New York based real estate company Delos have joined forces to create a heathier work environment. The team is creating a “lab-like” office, where the effects of lighting, humidity, ambient noise, and other variables on productivity and worker stress levels will be analyzed. The goal is to construct a prototype of the optimal office space.
  3. After the Recession, Entrepreneurs are on the Rebound, Study Says. PBS NewsHour. Entrepreneurship in industrialized countries in finally on the rise. It still is a slow process; in the U.S. the number of new businesses started this year is still down 15% compared to 2007. But a new study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed that twelve different industrialized nations had positive new business growth in the first six months of 2016. This includes the United States, with 0.6% positive new business growth.
  4. Entrepreneur: ‘Art and people are my passions’. Post-Bulletin. Local businesswoman Nicki Novotne started her small business, Art on the Go, in 2014. Art on the Go is a traveling art studio popping up around Rochester.
  5. Med-tech Partnership Promotes Minnesota as a Place to do Business. StarTribune. Running a medtech business in Minnesota has its advantages, but the state needs more investment to keep this competitive edge. The public-private Minnesota Medical Manufacturing Partnership (MMMP), which is led by the economic development group Greater MSP, hopes to brighten Minnesota’s future. MMMP was officially launched Tuesday to attract investments, economic development assistance, and companies to Minnesota. MMMP is part of the Obama administration’s push to increase investment in manufacturing.