I spent part of last week in Minneapolis meeting with and learning from local entrepreneurs and investors.  I was astonished by the community’s ability to welcome and introduce us to some of the leaders in less than 24 hours.  I attended an event on Tuesday night called MinneDemo.  The event, organized by local entrepreneurial leaders, was held at the Jeune Lune in downtown Minneapolis, where more than 200 people from the community showed up to listen to seven companies pitch for seven minutes each.  MinneDemo was sponsored by local startups including W3i, a company that helps connect people to the apps they want.  The event was a great way to get people from the community together to discuss challenges and opportunities to work together.

I was able to meet with leaders of the community including Rob Weber of W3i, Casey Allen of Project Skyway, and Phil Pogge of Investyr.  I was also introduced to some of the promising graduates of the University of Minnesota Center for Entrepreneurship under John Stavig.

As Brad Feld pointed out in his book StartUp Communities, the best startup communities are loosely organized and consist of broad, evolving networks of people.  In addition, these communities are inclusive even to outsiders.  While my time in the Twin Cities was brief, both of these qualities stood out, and similar to the pace of entrepreneurs, in rapid time.

Nick Engelbart


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