Brand Review, Website Redesign & Development Request for Proposal

Since 2006, Minnestar has been acting as a catalyst for the tech and startup ecosystem in
Minnesota. Our goal is to promote connections that help our community learn from each other, build
their businesses, and start new entrepreneurial ventures. We aim to bridge the gap between
software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, investors, and local companies.

We are sending out this RFP to find a partner to help us review our brand and redesign our website. Please share with anyone who you believe may be interested in working with us.

Minnestar Website and Branding RFP

Jim Dahline, Bil MacLeslie, Jenna Pederson, and Jeff Sellner join the minne✱ Board of Directors

Minneapolis, MN (January 12, 2016) – minne✱, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing education, instruction, training, and mentorship to Minnesota’s technology community, recently added four members to their Board of Directors; Jim Dahline, Bil MacLeslie, Jenna Pederson, and Jeff Sellner.

Jim Dahline is Director of Marketing at Sport Ngin, a Northeast Minneapolis-based sports technology company serving the coaches, volunteers, administrators, and families of youth sports organizations around the world. During his nearly 15 years of SaaS marketing experience, Jim has led product, marketing communications, and brand building teams. Born and raised in Minnesota, Jim is passionate about connecting young Minnesotans with opportunities in technology through university engagement, mentoring, and networking. Jim holds a BBA in Marketing from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and an MBA from the University of Nebraska.

Bil MacLeslie is the CEO of ipHouse and Technology By Design. With over 30 years of online community and internet experience, he is known to have a strong reputation for getting things done. Bil started his online career operating a BBS out of his house from 1984. At the same time he was also working at the University of Minnesota operating networks for the Biochemistry Department. In 1994 he joined which led to starting ipHouse in 2004. In 2014, he founded a technical support services company, Technology by Design. Bil also helps monitor regulatory issues relating to telecom and the internet in MN as a member of MHTA Governmental Affairs Committee.

Jenna Pederson is an engineer, a leader, and a catalyst. She is the founder of 612 Software Foundry where she helps small businesses and startups with technical strategy and implementation. She is passionate about creating a welcoming and supportive tech and startup community for everyone. Since early 2014, she has led the Twin Cities chapter of the Geekettes. She facilitates workshops, networking events, and co-founded the Twin Cities’ first all-women hackathon, Hack the Gap. Jenna holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a M.S. in Software Engineering from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.

Jeff Sellner is a principal at CliftonLarsonAllen LLP. Since joining the firm in 1998, Jeff’s practice focuses on providing consulting, tax and assurance services to software developers, life sciences, and other high growth businesses. He has experience working with entrepreneurs on various issues including business strategies, profitability modeling, capital planning, intellectual property management, risk mitigation and succession planning. Jeff leads the firm’s technology industry group and has been a speaker on topics such as strategic and business planning, raising capital, entrepreneurship, and starting a business.

“I’m very excited to welcome these new members to our board. Each of them brings an exciting background that will enhance the success of the minne✱ mission,” said Casey Helbling, Chairman of the Board. “We’ve got some big plans for the organization in 2016. Fresh perspectives will be integral to achieving our goals.”

Since 2006, minne✱ has connected Minnesota’s software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and investors. The organization hosts many events through the year including a technology BarCamp or (un)conference, MinneBar, and several made-in-Minnesota tech product show-and-tell mixers, MinneDemo.

For more information:
Jeff Sellner

Social Accounts Simplified

minne✱ has had a number of social media accounts, one for each of our events as well as one for the non-profit itself. On Twitter, you have likely always known us as @minnebar, even when you are at a minnedemo event.  We decided it was time to simplify our social media presence, make it easier for folks to connect with us and do that not only on Twitter but also on Facebook and Google Plus.

Going forward minne✱ will only be using one account, minnestar! You can find us on Twitter @minnestar, Facebook Minnestar and Google Plus +MinnestarOrg pages.

Now, have no worries if you were following @minnebar on Twitter before. You are now following @minnestar and will get our updates. Now that we are syndicating to Facebook and Google Plus you also have other channels to get updates.

We will be using #minnebar and #minnedemo hashtags as appropriate for our events and we encourage everyone else to do the same. All services now support this feature.

Thank you for following us and we can’t wait to see you at our next event!

Casey Helbling and Justin Porter Join minne✱ Board

Casey Helbling and Justin Porter join minne✱ Board of Directors

Minneapolis, MN (October 3, 2013) – minne✱, the nonprofit organization dedicated to providing education, instruction, training, and mentorship to Minnesota’s technology entrepreneurs, recently added two members to their Board of Directors, Casey Helbling and Justin Porter.

Helbling is the Founder and CEO of Software for Good, a software development firm that specializes in “building great software for companies doing great things.” He is a web application architect with almost fifteen years experience in design, development, and implementation of web-based software systems. Helbling holds a BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Technology. “Joining minne✱ is a big honor, and I’m thrilled to help make Minnesota’s tech community the very best it can be,” Helbling said.

Porter is the Venture Center Senior Associate at the University of Minnesota’s Office for Technology Commercialization. His group is responsible for launching start-up companies based on University of Minnesota research. Porter holds a BSB in Management Information Systems and Entrepreneurial Studies from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and an MBA from the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management.

“I am excited to join the minne✱ team and help support the growing tech scene in Minnesota,” Porter said. “The minne✱ events get me excited about what we have and what will be developed in the future. Minnesota has great talent and minne✱ provides the forums to showcase that talent.”

Since 2006, minne✱ has connected Minnesota’s software developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and investors. The organization hosts events throughout the year including a technology (un)conference, MinneBar, each spring, and several made-in-Minnesota tech product show-and-tell mixers, MinneDemo.

Board Strategy and Planning Session

On December 17th the minne✱ board will be meeting for an strategy and planning session. The agenda for the session is to put additional clarity around where minne✱ and the events we organize, minnebar and minnedemo, are going. Our goals are to:

  1. Review progress over last two years and plan for the next couple of years.
  2. Figure out how minne✱ needs to evolve and grow to accommodate that future.
  3. Make sure that minne✱ continues to develop into a more durable and sustainable organization.

As we prepare for this session it would be great to hear from any of you in the community. Please add any free form comments below that you think may be relevant, inspirational or just interesting as we work through these topics.

2012 Catalysts of the Year

We previously announced the Catalysts of the Year award, and we are now ready for our inaugural announcement!

As a reminder, the Catalyst of the Year award is given in recognition to volunteers that have volunteered at every minne✱ event for a given year. Volunteers are recognized at the final event of the year.

On this first year of the award there is just one volunteer that was behind the scenes at every event of the year…

Alex Ryan

Alex has worked tirelessly this year to make sure that minne✱ events went off without a hitch. Adrienne Peirce Greenlee said it best:

Alex volunteered at every event this year, as well as basically single-handedly planned the wonderfully successful MinneBBQ in August.  She is routinely the first and last person at an event, her dedication is much appreciated here at minne✱!

Alex’s efforts to catalyze the community have been huge this year and we hope to benefit from her energy and talents going forward! A huge Thank You from all!


Sona Mehring Joins minne✱ Board

I’m very excited to announce that Sona Mehring has joined the minne✱ board. I have had the honor to serve as a board member at Sona’s organization, CaringBridge, for the last four years. In the August 10, 2012 meeting Sona officially joined the board.

CaringBridge is an amazing Minnesota-based non-profit that Sona started in 1997. From those scrappy beginnings Sona has now built a thriving organization that helps millions of people connect with loved ones, friends and family during health journeys. If you have had the opportunity to have a “CaringBridge moment” when you connect with someone you care about as they go through a health struggle you know that the site provides a vital bond. It is a free service supported almost entirely by individual donations.

As we looked to expand the minne✱ board it was clear that we had a very big gap in non-profit experience. I knew right away that Sona would be the ideal person to join the board given her non-profit background combined with her technical background. Sona spent many years as a software engineer as well as CTO for a startup before she started CaringBridge. She was excited about the opportunity to join:

A strong technology community is and needs to continue to be at the heart of a strong Minnesota workforce. minne✱ helps cultivate that community and make it stronger. Having my entire career within technology, I’m very passionate about helping minne✱ continue to have a great impact.  Its an honor to serve on the minne✱ board.

Sona’s tech and non-profit background is unique and I’m so thankful that she has joined the minne✱ board. You can find her on Twitter at @gogosona.

Jim Bernard Joins minne✱ Board

I’m very excited to announce that Jim Bernard has joined the minne✱ board. Jim and I have known each other for years while we worked at BigCharts and MarketWatch. As a result, Jim has heard and been part of minne✱ events from the very beginning when we did a session at minnebar 1! Growing and expanding the minne✱ board has been one my objectives for this year and in the August 10, 2012 meeting Jim officially joined the board.

Jim Bernard is the Sr. Vice President of Digital for the Star Tribune. He sees minne✱ as a key part of the Minnesota technology community:

I’ve been a long-time backer of minne✱ because of what it offers our creative technology community. At every gathering there is a collection of interesting, smart and engaged people who are making things happen. It is the very backbone of what makes Minnesota a unique and valuable place for start-ups and companies who rely on the forward march of technology. I’m delighted to join the board as minne✱ extends and grows this foundation.

On a lighter note Jim is an active blogger. He gave a great talk at Ignite Minneapolis on How to Manage A Softball Team to a Perfect Record. You can find him on Twitter at @bernardjim.

Jim brings a great executive background to minne✱ with a willingness to role up his sleeves and get things done!

minne✱ Catalysts of the Year

As minnebar, minnedemo and minnebbq have continued to grow and become more complex events it takes a larger and larger group of people to make the events happen. minne✱ is a scrappy non-profit and has no paid staff members. We simply could not make our events happen at the scale and frequency that they happen now without a wonderful, awesome, amazing community of volunteers. Every event in 2012 was supported by an army of volunteers making sure that everything went smoothly. We all see their contributions, and we want to recognize our volunteers as well.

Starting in 2012 we are creating a Catalysts of the Year award. minne✱ founders have long referred to themselves as Community Catalysts. The mission of our organization is to help catalyze the tech community in Minnesota. The volunteers are a huge catalysts themselves! We have created the Catalyst of the Year designation to recognize volunteers that have helped make every event for a year happen. 2012 is the first year we are doing this, and we will continue to do it going forward.

Stay tuned to find out who will be listed as a Catalyst of the Year for 2012!