Chris Lukenbill

Episode 100: Going Back To Where We Started, An Entrepreneurial Roundtable Discussion

IMG_4709.JPG

Join us this week on the podcast for our 100th show! To celebrate this event, we went back to where we started from in our very first podcast with an entrepreneurial roundtable discussion with local innovators in the community. This week on the podcast we sit down with Chris Lukenbill, Hunter Downs, and Jamie Sundsbak to talk about entrepreneurship in Rochester.

 

On the podcast today, we discuss:

·      The definition of an entrepreneurial ecosystem and why they are important.

o   We talk about an entrepreneurial ecosystem as the networks that surround entrepreneurs and help to address the needs of those innovators.

o   Also important to an entrepreneurial ecosystem is the will and spirit to be an entrepreneur.

o   And lastly, a community that is supportive of risk taking and trying new things is also essential to an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

·      Major milestones that have occurred in the Rochester entrepreneurial community over the past two years.

o   These milestones include the continued growth of the community and the emergence of events like 1 Million Cups Rochester and Startup Weekend, which can serve as conduits to the entrepreneurial community as a whole.

o   A very recent milestone is the announcement of the Collider Foundation, a nonprofit focused on building the Rochester entrepreneurial ecosystem.

o   Important events also include the continued growth of companies Sonex Health and GoRout, organizations that are capable of having a large presence in Rochester.

o   The emergence of initiatives like Red Wing Ignite and Minnesota Ignite are also imperative with their efforts to build up communities and augment resources.

o   Over the last few years, we’ve also seen an increased number of applications from Olmsted County to the Minnesota Cup business pitch competition.

o   There is also heightened awareness of businesses starting up in this city, including elevated business growth outside of the medtech space.

·      Gaps existing in Rochester’s current entrepreneurial community.

o   We talked about the difficulty of going outside of early stage growth communities to obtain talent for young companies.

o   Location is also important and marketing the importance of that location is essential to building an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

·      Observations in other entrepreneurial ecosystems of methods to spur entrepreneurial activity or business development.

o   This includes instances of 100% tax rebates for investments in high tech companies and up to 100% matches on SBIR grants.

o   We also need to make a dedicated investment in talent to spur entrepreneurial activity locally.

·      Activity taking place in the community right now that hints to where our entrepreneurial ecosystem is headed.

o   This includes increased construction activity, which might not be matched with the amount of people and workforce being recruited to the city.

o   We’ve seen an increased sprit of entrepreneurship demonstrated from Mayo Clinic.

o   Rochester experienced an increased number of freelancers with versatile skill sets.

o   We have not seen the emergence of quite as many companies as we might have expected over the past two years.

o   There is also a general lack of incentives in the community to be entrepreneurial and a lack of culture for young people.

·      Events taking place over the next few months in the Rochester entrepreneurial community including:

o   Startup Weekend

o   The Assistive Tech Challenge

o   Global Entrepreneurship Week

o   Walleye Tank

o   The Ag Tech Challenge

Episode 73: 'Should You Build Your Business in Stealth Mode?' with Chris Lukenbill and Jan Hagenbrock

IMG_0754.JPG

This week on the podcast we sit down with local entrepreneurs Chris Lukenbill and Jan Hagenbrock and have a focused discussion about building a business in stealth mode. We talk about what stealth mode is in business development, why some businesses may build in this manner, and why some choose to grow their business outside of stealth mode. This was a great conversation today and hopefully the first of many focused debates on our podcast.

"The challenge that you're running into of going into stealth mode is that your only feedback is from this eco-chamber of people that think it's a good idea." -Chris Lukenbill

"When you [build a business] on your own, you waste your most precious resource, which is your time. You can't get that back." -Jan Hagenbrock

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

IMG_0781.jpg

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 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

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.