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The "Real Entrepreneurs of Minnesota" Meeting with Jumpstart Community Advisors

Darren Cox and JumpStart Community Advisors

Thursday, February 10, 2011 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM (CST)

The "Real Entrepreneurs of Minnesota"  Meeting with...

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Event:    The "Real Entrepreneurs of Minnesota" Meeting with Jumpstart Community Advisors


When:    6:30pm, February 10th


Where:  Joule - A Twin Cities’ co-working space, in a central location, with free parking.

                  1200 Washington Avenue South Minneapolis MN 55415 (VIEW IN MAP)


Cost:     FREE  

(Jacke Menne, Owner of Joule, cut me a sweet deal.  I will pay for this event myself, so it is free to all participants)


How to RSVP: You can email me at or simply click on the "Register" button here on this invite.


Minnesota Tech Entrepreneurs and Start-Up Sympathizers

I obviously don’t have email addresses for every person who ought to be in the room that evening, so I am hoping that you will forward this email to entrepreneurs and tech start-up sympathizers, who you think will benefit from a more active and free-flowing investment environment for entrepreneurs and tech start ups in Minnesota.

What the meeting will NOT be:

Another bureaucratic waste-of-time where we all get together and bitch about the problems we face, then sit around waiting for someone else to come up with a solution. 

What the evening WILL be:

A no-holds barred environment where we can exchange raw ideas about what we need and how we think it should happen, without worrying that our respective companies (and hopes of future investment) are going to suffer severe consequences for speaking up and telling it like it is.

We will be brainstorming on:

  • What more is needed to enable entrepreneurship in the region.

  • The unique nature of entrepreneurs in Minnesota, and our expectations, when we start a new company.

  • The (real or perceived) characteristics of investors in this region, and their expectations.

  • What actions NEED to be taken to increase entrepreneurship, early-stage investing and providing the environment that we need to make it easier to live out our dreams, create jobs, .

If we want the powers-that-be to start noticing us, we have to prove that we are a force that rivals all of the bio/pharma/medi companies that seem to dominate the start-up headlines and early stage venture funding. 

If we don’t show up and make something happen for ourselves, then we have no business whining about it later, when our tech start-up companies are withering-on-the-vine for lack of funding.

I am looking forward to getting together for a productive exchange of ideas,creating a real, actionable, plan and doing some good for the entrepreneurial community here in Minnesota.


Darren Cox

Founder and Chief Evangelist -  CaSTT™ - Commerce and Search for Technology Transfer

"Google" us at: Tech Transfer SEO


Phone: 651-245-7797 (call if you have questions)


(Below is the original message that I sent out that started this whole process moving forward)


Last week I blogged about my disappointment at the  lack of tech entrepreneurs, invited by Jumpstart Community Advisors, to provide feedback on how to help fix the broken entrepreneurial and early stage investment climate, here in Minnesota.  I know that most of us in the tech start-up world wish that there were more money and more local investors willing to “get their money in first.”   I also am aware of the perception, by local investors, that the deal-flow here in Minnesota, leaves something to be desired.

According to their website,

JumpStart Community Advisors works closely with entrepreneurs, investors, regional economic development organizations, foundations, government policy makers and agencies, civic and business leaders, and others within a community interested in expanding and enhancing their region’s the entrepreneurial capacity. This collaboration results in the development of an entrepreneurial action plan and then implementation. JumpStart Community Advisors acts as a partner, project manager, and advisor.

I know, I know; “Just what we need…More people talking about the problem instead of DOING something about it.

But the real problem is that a bunch of people who have never started anything but their car are representing us, tech entrepreneurs, in these meetings.  I think that needs to change!

I pointed out the problem

I contacted Mark Smith and Mike Mozenter at JumpStart and wrote:

“I am not very optimistic that you are getting a very good picture of the real issues facing entrepreneurs in our region.  My fear stems from my observation that, in the two JumpStart Community Advisor meetings that I have attended, there have been very few actual entrepreneurs.  Even more alarming, to me at least, is the almost total dearth of tech entrepreneurs.”

Then I offered a solution:

“I would like to offer you a chance to sit down with some real entrepreneurs, next time you are in town.  If you tell me when you are coming back, I will put together a group of people who live, eat and breathe the incredibly difficult life that local Start-up founders are faced with, while trying to start companies, raise money, recruit talent and create jobs. …  These are folks who can tell you, from recent, first-hand, experience what we actually need to become a more favorable place to start a business.  This group won’t just be people who are struggling; I will bring in successful tech start-up founders and even a small group who have actually climbed the mountain and raised some money in this challenging climate.

If you would like to meet the “Real Entrepreneurs of Minnesota” (sounds like a bad reality show doesn’t it?), please let me know and I will make it happen.

Their response was (to my pleasure and surprise):

(Mark Smith – Venture Partner) Thank you for your attendance and active participation last evening. And thank you for your offer to assemble a group of entrepreneurs for us to meet with. We will coordinate with you to schedule that in February on one of our visits to MSP


(Mike Mozenter - President) Thank you for sharing your concerns.  Entrepreneurs are central to the work we’re doing.  We need as much information as we can get from the “real entrepreneurs”.   Our work doesn’t have a lot of meaning if it doesn’t help entrepreneurs transform their ideas into marketable products and services.

So, the door is open, but I need help from all of you.  I am asking the entrepreneurial community, to come together to make sure our input is heard and our votes are counted. 










Have questions about The "Real Entrepreneurs of Minnesota" Meeting with Jumpstart Community Advisors? Contact Darren Cox and JumpStart Community Advisors
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When & Where

Joule - A Twin Cities’ co-working space, in a central location, with free parking
1200 Washington Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Thursday, February 10, 2011 from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM (CST)

  Add to my calendar


Darren Cox and JumpStart Community Advisors

  Contact the Organizer
  News and Updates
2011-01-27 00:04:25

We've had 30 confirmed registrations, in the first 24 hours, since the invite went live.  I now expect around 80 people at the event, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it hit 100.

If you don't see someone on the list and you think that they should attend, send them the link to the invite.  This is an "all-comers" event for entrepreneurs and tech start-up sympathizers, and I will not turn anyone away who wants to participate and get engaged in making Minnesota a better place to become a tech entrepreneur.

2011-02-08 22:47:34


We have about 70 people signed up for "The Real Entrepreneurs of Minnesota" on Thursday night and the list keeps growing!  I could not be more proud of the MN tech startup community and I can't wait to get into a room with all of you to see what kind of cool, creative and inspiring ideas we can come up with.

You should try to get to Joule a little early to meet the other folks in the room and hang out a little bit before we get started.  If you leave the event without making some new connections, then you have missed a great opportunity.  The room will be filled with some of the most creative, intelligent and forward-thinking entrepreneurs that you will ever get a chance to meet, so do yourself a favor, come early and meet your team.

Yeah, that's right I said team!  I know it might seem a little contrived, but part of my goal in holding this event is so that folks will realize that we have a vibrant support system out here on the frozen tundra, dedicated to doing whatevere it takes to turing Minnesota into a hotbed for tech startups. We are coming together to build solutions to a serious problem, and we are in a race with other industries and other regions to get the kind of early stage funding that we need to be part of the solution to our region's problems.

The good news is, we tech entrepreneurs are more creative, more passionate, smarter and better equipped than anyone else, to come up with new solutions to the same old problems... Because that is what we do! 

We never let tradition stand in the way of innovation - This is a race that the geeks should win!

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