Episode 128: From the Edge with Solomon Antoine and Zach WareJoncas

Photos courtesy of Solomon Antoine and Zach WareJoncas.

Photos courtesy of Solomon Antoine and Zach WareJoncas.

Today on the podcast we listen in to the latest in our “From the Edge” series. On “From the Edge” we invite two guests involved in Rochester’s entrepreneurial ecosystem on the show to talk about trends we’re seeing in entrepreneurship. This month we’re joined by two early stage entrepreneurs: Solomon Antoine and Zach WareJoncas. Solomon is CEO and Developer at FAVR Inc., a peer to peer platform that allows customers to request tasks at their own price. Zach is a Cofounder at LEAH Labs, a Rochester biotech startup working to bring modern healthcare to the veterinary space. And as always we’re also joined on the podcast by Jamie Sundsbak, Community Manager at Collider Coworking.

We cover multiple topics on the podcast today including:

·      mental health in entrepreneurs,

·      the importance of managing your own health as well as the health of your business,

·      a potential biotech bubble,

·      approaching startup funders and how to deal with “no”s,

·      and the attractiveness of Rochester to early stage entrepreneurs.


Links from the show today:








Odd News by Twin Musicom is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (



Episode 118: 1 Million Cups Rochester with GoAdvntr

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This week on the show we check in with the latest 1 Million Cups Rochester. 1 Million Cups is an educational event for entrepreneurs that takes place in 183 communities across the United States. At each event, two different entrepreneurs tell their story and ask for help from the community on a specific issue facing their business. At the latest 1 Million Cups Rochester we heard from Brian Kugel, CEO and Founder of Go Advntr. GoAdvntr is a Winona-based business that provides booking of guided adventures and helps people find and rent outdoor equipment. Join the community at the next 1 Million Cups Rochester on Wednesday March 6th at 9AM at the Bleu Duck Kitchen or link up for the livestream of the event on our Facebook page.


Links from the podcast: 



Facebook: @GoAdvntr

Instagram: @goadvntr


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Episode 111: Top Podcasts of 2018

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Today on the show we take a look back at some of the top podcasts of 2018!

First off, we listen in to Episode 66 from January with Garret Sorensen of Mandala Tea. Mandala Tea is a thirteen-year-old business that imports and sells Chinese and Taiwanese teas. On the show today, we listen to a portion of Episode 66 where Garret talks about the foundation of Mandala Tea, the keys to running a business for thirteen years, and how different perspectives can revitalize a company.

o   Website:

o   Twitter: Mandala_Tea

o   Instagram: @mandalatea

Next we listen in to Episode 90, recorded in July, where we had a discussion about mental health and entrepreneurs with local innovators Chris Lukenbill and Rosei Skipper. This was one of my favorite podcasts of the year, talking about a largely overlooked, and sometimes taboo, topic. On the show today, we talk about the reality of mental health issues in entrepreneurs and why founders might be more susceptible to mental illness. This was a two-part series, with a continued conversation on Episode 92. Here at Rochester Rising, we feel that mental health is such an overlooked issue in entrepreneurs that we are developing some new wellness programming for 2019. Please take a few moments to fill out this survey to help us provide what is needed in the community.

o   Twitter: @roseiskipper, @ChrisLukenbill

Then we fast-forward to August with Episode 95 talking to the owner and studio manager of Orangetheory Fitness Rochester, Mackenzie McCormack. Orangetheory Fitness is a one-hour total body workout focused on endurance, strength, and power using heartrate-based interval training. This studio just opened its doors in December in the Apache Mall. On the show today, we listen to a portion of Episode 95 where Mackenzie talks about Orangetheory Fitness, what it was like to open a franchise, and why she wanted to launch this type of business.

o   Website:

o   Instagram: @orangetheoryrochestermn

And finally, we check back in with Episode 104, recorded in October, where we sat down with the new president of Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI) Ryan Nolander. RAEDI is a private/public partnership for economic development that serves Rochester and the surrounding four county area. Ryan began his career with RAEDI this June after spending close to thirteen years with the Albert Lea Economic Development Agency. On the show today, we hear Ryan talk about RAEDI, how the organization works with local businesses, and what initially drew him to economic development in Rochester.

o   Website:

o   Twitter: @RaediInfo


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Episode 105: Jamie Sundsbak and Collider Coworking

Photo courtesy of Collider Coworking.

Photo courtesy of Collider Coworking.

Today on the show we sit down with Jamie Sundsbak, Community Manager of Collider Coworking. Collider Coworking is an open coworking space in downtown Rochester, launched on August 15, 2016. Collider was originally envisioned as a space for entrepreneurs to work and connect. But since its opening, the coworking space has become home to many freelancers and remote workers, shifting Collider’s mission to helping these people connect with the Rochester community at large to keep this talent in the city. On the podcast today, we talk a bit about the challenge of launching a coworking space in a city like Rochester, where the concept was new. Since its launch, Collider has primarily grown by word of mouth and by just getting people through the doors to see the space. Collider was born out of Jamie’s mission to create a more robust entrepreneurial community for Rochester. The coworking space has a warehouse feel and includes its own hand-drawn Sasquatch. The business aims to promote creativity, social interactions, and work just getting done in Rochester’s entrepreneurial and innovation sectors. As the year ends, Collider is working on two new initiatives. The first is a nonprofit arm of the business to open up the business to additional funding sources and to support the organization’s work to create an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem. Collider will launch an additional location soon, called Collider 424. This space is located in a disused building on the Mayo Clinic campus and will primarily be private offices.

Episode 102: Thaddeus Medical Systems and Extreme Sandbox

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This week on the podcast we listen in to some audio from the latest 1 Million Cups Rochester. 1 Million Cups is an educational program for entrepreneurs that takes place in 180 different communities across the United States. At the most recent 1 Million Cups Rochester, we heard from Rochester based biotech business Thaddeus Medical Systems and Minnesota based company Extreme Sandbox.

·      Thaddeus Medical Systems is making a smart packaging solution for temperature sensitive products.

o   $35B is wasted in the cold supply chain each year through temperature excursions and lost packages.

o   Currently, only passive tech exists, like gel packs and Styrofoam, to protect temperature sensitive products during shipment.

o   Thaddeus Medical Systems is addressing this problem through their active, reusable, battery powered solution that includes real-time tracking of packages, temperature history profiles, and package content descriptions to increase transparency in the cold supply chain process.

·      Extreme Sandbox is a heavy adventure equipment company that allows adults to play on construction equipment for fun.

o   Extreme Sandbox was launched in 2012 and pitched on the show Shark Tank in 2016.

o   The business has three locations, two in the Twin Cities area and one in northern Texas.

o   Extreme Sandbox utilizes three primary revenue streams: individuals, corporate team building events, and student experiential learning excursions.

Join us at the next 1 Million Cups Rochester on Wednesday November 7th (during Global Entrepreneurship Week) at 9AM in the Bleu Duck Kitchen event space as we hear from local business Busy Baby LLC.

Episode 96: Chris Schad and Discovery Square


Today on the podcast we sit down with Chris Schad, Director of Business Development for Discovery Square. Discovery Square is one of the six Destination Medical Center (DMC) subdistricts and is specifically focused on biomedicine, research, and technology innovation. DMC is the largest public-private economic development initiative in the state of Minnesota to catalyze growth in the Rochester area over the next twenty years.

Today on the podcast we talk about:

·      DMC and the DMC subdistricts.

·      The three current DMC priorities.

·      The dream vision for the Discovery Square DMC subdistrict.

·      How DMC can help entrepreneurs by spreading stories of entrepreneurship on a large scale, identifying gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and bringing programs like the Assistive Tech Challenge to the region to spur prototype development and ideation.

·      The significance of the topping off ceremony at the first new building in the Discovery Square subdistrict, called One Discovery Square.

·      The value proposition for attracting businesses to Rochester.

·      Additional activities in Discovery Square and Rochester as a whole.

·      Challenges that DMC and the city of Rochester face in implementing this large economic initiative in this city.

“The most exciting [challenge] is the challenge of big expectations. The state is watching us. The state has invested a lot of money in what we’re doing here, and we have to rise to the challenge of those expectations.” -Chris Schad, Director of Business Development, Discovery Square

Call for Opinion Pieces and Press Releases: A Guide for Submissions to Rochester Rising

Episode 34: Looking Towards the Future- Entrepreneurship in Rochester

This week on the podcast, we sit back and talk about the future of entrepreneurship in Rochester. Developments in the city are expected to come to life this year under Destination Medical Center (DMC), a twenty-year economic initiative to make Rochester a destination medical city. But where do entrepreneurs fit into this picture? A recent ranking by and Entrepreneur magazine listed Rochester as one of the top ten small to mid-sized cities for entrepreneurs in the United States. But when you speak to entrepreneurs in Rochester, you hear a different story. This week in the podcast, we talk about what metrics were used in this study and think about indicators that should be measured to examine cities favorable to entrepreneurs and startups.