Tech Entrepreneurship

Episode 86: Meet the Team behind SolKen Technology

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This week on the podcast we sit down with Solomon Antoine, Ken Nguyen, D’Angelo Tines, and Haron Arama of SolKen Technology. SolKen Technology is a Rochester-based tech startup specializing in cryptocurrency mentoring, web development, and e-commerce development. Their current focus is on the product FAVR, a web-based platform that matches freelancers with jobs, such as yard work and errand-running, in the community.

This week on the podcast we talk about:

·      FAVR, a platform that pairs freelancers with local demand and the SolKen team’s plans to grow the product.

·      The drive and rationale for creating FAVR.

·      How the team balances their education as high school and college students and their other activities with business development.

·      The journey of building FAVR in Rochester and the connections the team has leveraged to jump start the product.

·      Their advice for anyone else looking to #startsomething in Rochester, Minnesota.

 

“Take risks. You never know the outcome until you try it out.” -Ken Nguyen

Episode 78: Community Roundup with gBETA Medtech Accelerator, Minnesota Cup, Sonex Health, and Marblehead Medical

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There are so many new, exciting initiatives and developments going on in Rochester and the greater Minnesota community right now. Today on the podcast we take a look at four powerful stories unfolding within the community.

 

·       First off, we talk about gener8tor and their launch of a brand new medtech specific accelerator, called gBETA Medtech, in Minneapolis. gBETA Medtech is a free, seven-week accelerator program for medtech startups that’s sponsored by Boston Scientific, Mayo Clinic, and the University of Minnesota. The first six companies are currently working through the program; applications for the summer 2018 cohort are now live.

·       Next, we talk about Minnesota Cup and the addition of a new education and training division to this startup competition. This division is focused on businesses developing technology or services related to education, training, and workforce or professional development. Applications for the 14th edition of Minnesota Cup opened on March 26th and will close on April 27th.

●     Then we chat about Sonex Health, a Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator graduate making huge strides in the community. Sonex Health created the SX-One MicroKnife to enable minimally invasive, ultrasound guided carpal tunnel release surgery. Sonex now has grown to a team of five, has graduated out of the Accelerator, and was one of the first recipients of capital from the Southeast Minnesota Angel Fund.

●      Lastly, we take a brief glimpse at Marblehead Medical, an emerging startup, founded by two Mayo Clinic radiologists, that’s treating ischemic stroke through a novel process called mechanical thrombectomy. The team behind Marblehead Medical has designed a balloon-guided medical device for ischemic stroke intervention and is close to locking in a $1M round of financing.

 

Guide to Press Releases and Opinion Pieces on Rochester Rising

Episode 68: Winona State University + Information Technology Expert Panel, Part 2

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This week on the podcast, we listen in to the final portion of audio from a recent Information Technology (IT) Expert Panel with Winona State University Rochester and Collider Coworking. This panel event facilitated an “open and fluid” conversation about IT in Rochester, talent and educational needs in the field, and how higher education organizations like Winona State can help to fill these gaps. The podcast today is the second in this two part series from the discussion. The expert IT panel at the event included David Borrillo of CoreLogic, Nadia Wood of The Hybrids, and Chris Lukenbill of Fresh with Edge. In this final part of the discussion, the panel talked about the importance of developing a business around their IT product, lessons they learned while building a company, what they look for when hiring talent for a startup, and the reality of working with a remote team.

“It’s not just about developing a software solution. It’s also about…the business around it.” –Nadia Wood, Founder of The Hybrids

Episode 67: Winona State University Rochester + Information Technology Expert Panel

 From left to right: Informational Technology (IT) Expert Panel of David Borrillo, Nadia Wood, and Chris Lukenbill.

From left to right: Informational Technology (IT) Expert Panel of David Borrillo, Nadia Wood, and Chris Lukenbill.

This week on the podcast, we listen in to some audio from a recent Information Technology (IT) Expert Panel with Winona State University Rochester and Collider Coworking. This panel event facilitated an “open and fluid” conversation about IT in Rochester, talent and educational needs in the field, and how higher education organizations like Winona State can help to fill these gaps. The podcast today is the first in this two part series from the discussion. The expert IT panel at the event included David Borrillo of CoreLogic, Nadia Wood of The Hybrids, and Chris Lukenbill of Fresh with Edge. On the podcast today, the panelists talk about how their companies are solving problems in today’s marketplace, what IT training gaps they see in the community, and how to attract and hire the right talent for your startup.

“When you’re trying to find people that are willing to take that same jump, and to a certain degree when you’re a small company, you have to find people that are okay without that kind of security.” – Chris Lukenbill, Founder of Fresh with Edge

Episode 62: An Evening with the Founders of DoApp, Part 2

This week on the podcast, we listen in to part two of “An Evening with the Founders of DoApp” straight from Rochester’s Global Entrepreneurship Week. In part one founders Wade Beavers, Joe Sriver, and David Borrillo spoke about the early stages of DoApp, a mobile app development company, and the risks of taking outside funding when building a startup. To wrap the story up today, the team talked about the importance of hiring great talent, life after your company is acquired, and how to work through hardship- professional and personal- within a business. To date, DoApp serves as one of Rochester’s largest startup success stories; insight from these founders are invaluable to anyone looking to start something in this city.

“As you scale up as an organization, as you’re building your organization, you want to build great people, who can build great people, who can build great products that people can’t live without.” –Joe Sriver, Founder at DoApp

 

Previous stories about DoApp:

One Of The Biggest Rochester Startup Stories That You Don’t Know: Meet DoApp

After Exits, DoApp Founder Looking To Give Back To The Rochester Entrepreneurial Community

Episode 61: An Evening with the Founders of DoApp, Part 1

This week on the podcast we listen in to some audio straight from Rochester’s Global Entrepreneurship Week. On the show today we listen in to part one of “A Night with the Founders of DoApp” where DoApp founders Wade Beavers, Joe Sriver, and David Borrillo along with key individuals- John Roberts with New Counsel and David Olson with Blackridge Financial- talk about the growth and exits of this mobile application development company. Today on the podcast, we hear about the very beginnings of DoApp, how they developed three of the very first apps for the Apple App Store, and the reality of starting a business and taking outside funding.

“Whether it’s luck, calculated risk, whatever it is, you have those moments where you have to recognize it’s a failure and you have to adjust.” –Wade Beavers, former CEO of DoApp

Episode 53: Talking Entrepreneurship with City Council Representative Nick Campion

This week on the podcast we talk about entrepreneurship with Rochester City Council Representative Nick Campion. Born and raised in Rochester, Nick received a degree in Computer Information Systems from the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he minored in Entrepreneurship. In Rochester, he joined the mobile app development startup DoApp during the early stages of the company and stayed with the business after it was acquired. This week on the podcast, we talk about Nick’s first-hand experience in startups, the growth of entrepreneurship in Rochester, and what role he thinks government should play in business development.

“I think we have a lot of work to do in figuring out how to make Rochester an accessible place to start a company. I think a lot of people are struggling and starting to feel the pinch with the costs of renting space, the costs of paying property taxes, the cost of finding employees.”

Episode 45: Emerge 0 with Chris Lukenbill

Photo courtesy of Jamie Sundsbak.

This week on the podcast, we listen in to some audio from our very Facebook live video in a new #Emerge series. As in all things related to entrepreneurship, this is an experiment and a work in progress. On our first episode, we talked with local entrepreneur Chris Lukenbill. Chris was the Founder of Able.ag, a software branch of the vertical farming technology company Bright Agrotech. Able.ag built software for farmers by farmers, to pass down knowledge and assist farmers serving their communities. Just last week, Bright Agrotech was acquired by the Silicon Valley company Plenty. As part of this process, Able.ag will be shut down and the team is going in separate directions. In this episode, Chris talks about his new direction and a brand new local startup that he wants to build in a unique manner.

“I always like the idea and I always tell people, when you’re going to start something, tell everybody about it.”- Chris Lukenbill

Join us on Thursday at 5PM as the community celebrates the life of Able.ag.

Episode 15: Chris Lukenbill and Able.ag

Featured story:  New Initiative to Gage Interest in Shared Community Kitchen Space in Rochester

Episode 44: The Story Behind the Digital Solutions Company The Hybrids

This week on the podcast we hear from local digital solutions company The Hybrids. Software developers Nadia and Trent Wood launched the startup in late 2014 to provide web application development, website design, and solution design services. Their first product, Community Care Connections, is a data management system that connects people with healthcare educational programs.

Episode 31: The Rochester Startup Part 12- Ambient Clinical Analytics

This week on the podcast, we continue with “The Rochester Startup” series and speak with a tenant of the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator, Ambient Clinical Analytics. Ambient Clinical Analytics is a healthtech startup that is developing a clinical decisions support suite of tools based on Mayo Clinic analytics. Their flagship products, AWARE and the Mayo Clinic YES Board, are tools that could be the centerpiece of total quality improvement within a healthcare facility. Today we speak with Ambient Clinical Analytics CEO Al Berning and CTO Drew Flaada, two entrepreneurs who spent several years working at IBM before striking out on their own.

“Our products really are focused in on error reduction, eliminating errors by better presentation of data, improving the efficiency of the care team, improving satisfaction of the care team and the patients that are being cared for, and ultimately providing better patient care.” –Drew Flaada

 

Featured story: Perseverance is Key as PayGo Thrives in Collider Coworking Space

Women’s Demo Night Registration: Click here.

Episode 30: The Rochester Startup Part Nine-Tinua

This week on the podcast, we continue with part nine of “The Rochester Startup” series. This week we speak with Tinua, a tenant of Collider Coworking. Tinua is an emerging startup converting gift cards into the currency of charitable giving, starting a movement of doing good one gift card at a time. Today we chat with Founder Tori Utley, a licensed chemical dependency counselor and founder of several nonprofits, about Tinua’s growth and her journey as a new, fulltime entrepreneur.

“[Tinua] really for me fells like the excitement of both worlds: the heart of the nonprofit sector but the fun and strategy of technology,” she explained.

She advised potential entrepreneurs that “there’s no qualification to be the right person or not. And because of that, you are the right person to pursue [your idea]. And so I think if you’re passionate about making a difference. …If you think that there’s a way to do something better or bring something to market that hasn’t been done before, just do it, because you never know what the outcome could be.”

Featured Story: The Rochester Startup Part Five: Rochester Area Foundation

The rochester Startup Series sponsors:

Episode 28: The Rochester Startup Part Four, GoRout

Today we continue to explore coworking facilities in Rochester and the people working within them. This week on the podcast, we speak with the sportstech startup GoRout. GoRout is a tenant of The Vault, one of the original coworking facilities in Rochester. GoRout has created a series of software and hardware football products that allow for instant communication between coaches and players on the field. The team recently won their division in the NFL’s “1st and Future” competition that took place during Super Bowl LI.  

 

Featured story: Rochester Rising Presents Women’s Demo Night

Women’s Demo Night tickets can be found here.

An application to present is located here.

 

The "Rochester Startup" Series is Sponsored by:

Rochester Rising Episode 15: Chris Lukenbill and Able

This week I got to speak with Rochester entrepreneur Chris Lukenbill and learn how he and his team are combining farming with technology at Able. Able is a farm planning software that’s built by farmers for farmers. Able is a subsidiary of Bright Agrotech, an established leader in controlled agriculture. Listen in to the podcast as Chris and I talk about Able, tech entrepreneurship in Rochester, and the use of technology in farming.

  • Able is software for farmers that functions like a kitchen table. This kitchen table has existed in commodity farming for many years, where farmers sit around and calculate last season’s numbers and pass on knowledge to the next generation.
  • Able allows for the transfer of knowledge from farmers who have production experience to those just starting to produce or just starting to grow a new kind of crop. Able is primarily for farmers who are feeding their local community, a separate entity from commodity farming.
  • Able software can help farmers in the planning phase of farming all the way through production and sales.
  • Chris started an aquaponic greenhouse farm, called Fresh with Edge, in Rochester while working at Mayo Clinic. During this time, he recognized the need for a product like Able and gained much of the knowledge needed to build the product.
  • Able currently has a three-person development team working in Rochester.