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Thursday, December 07
by Toni Oberto
Reasons to Network with Justin:
A self-described geek, Justin manages to turn water into wine when it comes to the time he invests in the Minnesota tech community. Outside of his devotion to Minnestar, he’s an avid mentor, runner, VP of Operations at local start-up, Kipsu, co-curator of a weekly events newsletter, StartupDigest, and most importantly a father of two, Gia and Jude, and a husband to an amazing and supportive wife, Genna. It’s hard to imagine he has time for much else, but his love for tech has deep roots.
His geekiness led him down this path early on, taking internships at IBM, Mayo Clinic, Cargill, and Deloitte (Audit). After graduation, Justin spent the first three years of his career as a business technology consultant at Deloitte before joining the University of Minnesota Venture Center. During his six-year tenure at the Venture Center, Justin helped start over 75 new companies from research completed at the university. He also earned his MBA from the Carlson School of Management during this time and participated in the Carlson School’s formal mentorship program. “I’ve been on both sides of mentorships and find tremendous value in them. The best professional advice I can give is to look for ways to serve others,” says Porter. Three years ago he left the Venture Center to join Kipsu, a high growth Northeast Minneapolis-based startup providing software for real-time messaging.
Justin values Minnestar for its ability to connect him with people who really care about technology. For Justin, one of the biggest draws to the organization is its commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive tech community. “The organization has made a conscious decision to reach out to underrepresented groups to attend and present at events. We know there is more work to be done, but creating a diverse and inclusive environment is critical to the long-term growth and development of the tech community in Minnesota.”