How to Fund Your Startup

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225 South 6th St.

39th Floor of Capella Tower

Minneapolis, MN 55402

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One of the biggest challenges for startups is how to finance your business.

A panel of experts will discuss funding options and sources of financing including crowd funding, grant sourcing, bank financing, venture level funding, and angel investing. There will be time reserved for questions.

Presented by Gopher Angels

Gopher Angels is an angel investment firm focused on providing financial support to entrepreneurs based in Minnesota, United States.

Speaker Information

David Russick

David Russick is an established entrepreneur and angel investor. Russick is co-founder, Managing Director, and Board Member of Gopher Angels, an investment organization dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship and early stage businesses in the state of Minnesota and throughout the Midwest.

Russick was also founder and President of TUBS, Inc., a family owned waste and recycling business operating in the Twin Cities, Denver and Cleveland,

Russick co-founded Bagster, LLC., a nationwide waste services company. He served as President and Board Member prior to Bagster’s acquisition by a Fortune 500 company.

In addition, Russick serves on the Board of Advisors for the Dakota Venture Group. He also serves on the Business Advisory Group for the University of Minnesota’s Office for Technology Commercialization.

Russick has been featured in the “Star Tribune,” “Twin Cities Business,” and the “Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.” “Twin Cities Business” named him a “2014 People to Know – Finance.” In 2010, Bagster was named by “Ad Age” as one of the 10 Hottest Brands in the U.S. TUBS, Inc. was selected by City Business in 1998 as a “50 Fastest Growing Private Company.” Russick is a patent holder.

Russick is a graduate of the University of South Dakota. He earned a Master of International Management degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management with studies at Oxford University, Oxford England.

Chris Styring

Chris Styring is a Vice President and Commercial Lending Officer with Venture Bank and works closely with early stage small and medium companies. He partners with Founders to develop finance and banking strategies as well as discuss financial statement and projection trends. Before joining Venture Chris worked with Wells Fargo managing a portfolio of closely held businesses implementing strategies to assist companies overcome strategic, managerial and economic challenges.

He served as moderator for SCORE Minneapolis’ CEO forum and works closely with a number of nonprofit organizations, most recently as an Executive Board member for Theatre in the Round. Chris graduated from Arizona State University with a BS in Business.

Pat Dillon

Ms. Pat Dillon is the director of MN-SBIR, a federal and state funded program to foster a more innovative Minnesota economy focused on turning new ideas and inventions into products and technologies that spur job growth and competitiveness while promoting economic development. In this position, Dillon is responsible for the strategic direction and leadership of MN-SBIR and its services to seed, startup and small businesses in Minnesota. Dillon has assisted hundreds of businesses to support technology innovation and commercialization in science and technology sectors important to state and national economies.

Dillon is actively involved in national and state initiatives under the umbrella of innovation and entrepreneurship. Dillon is a member of the Small Business Administration (SBA), State Integrated Service Provider Task Force, Washington, DC; a member of the University of Minnesota (U of M), Office of Technology Commercialization Business Advisory Group; an advisory board member of the U of M, Technological Leadership Institute; a mentor for the Carlson School of Management, STARTUP Course; a frequent contributor to MN-REACH and MIN-CORPS (I-Corps Programs); a MN-CUP Life Sciences Semi-Finalist Committee Member; a speaker and organizer at the U of M Medical Devices Conference, Government Funding for Startups; an Advisory Board Member for VentureLake; and a member of the Advancing Science in America, Minnesota Chapter dedicated to supporting the best and brightest United States graduate and undergraduate scholars by providing financial awards in science, engineering and medical research.

Dillon is a 1999 recipient of the prestigious SBA Tibbetts Award; a national award for excellence in the SBIR/STTR Programs. Dillon is a 2001 recipient of the City Business’ 25 Most Innovative Woman Award (now the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal). Dillon has served on commercialization review committees at the National Science Foundation (twice) and the United States Department of Agriculture (multiple times), and was the principal investigator of an Office of Naval Research contract for SBIR outreach in a five state region for the first-ever SWIFT Tour (SBIR/STTR Where Innovation Focuses on Technology).

Dillon is a retired United States Navy Reserve Commander with 40 years of service (active and reserve) and is a combat veteran having served 10 months in Kabul, Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom/Noble Eagle. Dillon earned a MBA and BS in Business Administration from Winona State University, Winona, MN.

Sara M. Russick

Sara Russick is cofounder and general partner of Capita3, which is dedicated to investing in women led companies and providing leadership development for women entrepreneurs. Sara is also Managing Director of Gopher Angels, an angel investing network she cofounded in 2012. Gopher Angels has become a recognized funding source for Minnesota early stage businesses, and a leader in collaborative Midwest angel investment activity, with over $11M invested into 29 early stage companies. Additionally, in 2014 Sara cofounded the NariMoxie 10 week accelerator program for women entrepreneurs, which has since grown into the year-round WE* program.

Sara has over 20 years of new-venture and emerging business experience. Prior to launching Gopher Angels, Sara cofounded Bagster LLC in 2005. Under her leadership, Bagster grew into a nationwide, consumer waste services company. She served as Vice President and Board Member prior to the business being acquired by a Fortune 500 company. In 1991, Sara cofounded TUBS, Inc., a waste and recycling services company with operations in the Midwest. She served as President until the company was sold in 2015. Prior to starting her own businesses, Sara held management positions with PUR and Water Technologies Corporation.

Sara has been featured in “Star Tribune,” “Twin Cities Business,” and “Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.” Sara was awarded “Titan of Technology 2015” by “Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.” And, Sara was named by “Twin Cities Business Journal” a “2014 People to Know – Finance.” In 2010, Advertising Age named Bagster a “Top 10 Hottest Brands.” Her company, TUBS Inc., was selected by City Business in 1998 as a “50 Fastest Growing Private Company.”

Sara’s current board and association activities include: YWCA Minneapolis, MN Women’s Economic Roundtable, WE+, NariMoxie Startups for Women, Frego, University of Minnesota Venture Center, Minnesota Cup, and University of St. Thomas Fowler Business Challenge. And, Sara was chair and host of the inaugural “Best of the Midwest” ACA Regional Investor Conference 2016.

Sara is a graduate of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN. She resides in Minneapolis, MN.

Jeffrey C. Robbins

Jeffrey C. Robbins is an attorney and shareholder in the business services practice group at Messerli & Kramer P.A. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For over 30 years, he has represented entrepreneurs who start and grow technology-based enterprises and angel and venture investors who target those companies. He is a serial entrepreneur himself, having founded two companies in the entertainment ticketing industry. Jeff represents high-growth, high-potential private enterprises and publicly traded companies. In 2011, he founded AngelPolleNation, a Twin Cities-based networking organization for investors. He serves as an advisory board member to Gopher Angels, a Minneapolis-based investor group, and as a board member of Venture Academy, a Minneapolis-based charter school, and the Minnesota Jewish Theater Company. Jeff is also a judge for the annual statewide Minnesota Cup business plan competition and a regular adjunct lecturer at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

This event is part of Twin Cities Startup Week, see site for other events.

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225 South 6th St.

39th Floor of Capella Tower

Minneapolis, MN 55402

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