Our Mission & History | Minnestar


Since its founding, Minnestar has been a community led organization, dedicating itself to serving the Minnesota tech & entrepreneurial ecosystem. Over the years, we have grown beyond solely events, to serve as the hub for any tech enthusiast looking to connect with the MN tech ecosystem and each other.

Our mission is to build, nurture and engage those interested in technology through meaningful connection. We have a set of core values that guide us in our work:

At Minnestar, we are:

By the community, for the community

We are a home for dabblers, makers, coders, and tech enthusiasts. We thrive in a diverse collection of skills, people, and identities. Minnestar is for everyone – whether you are just dipping your toes into tech, or if you routinely do a deep dive in the 0s and 1s.

Inclusive & welcoming

No matter if you are giving your very first tech talk, or a second time startup founder demoing your latest project – everyone is welcome and supported at Minnestar events. From nursing rooms to childcare, we seek to create environments that allow everyone to feel safe and bring their best selves.


We are experimenters, tinkers, and always up for trying something new – whether that is building a project using the latest tech, or building a company that meets a critical need. We seek the thrill of creating, and we know our supportive community will have our back.

Problem solvers

From a stubborn error in a line of code to that tricky legacy project, tech is all about problem solving. It’s no secret that the tech community too faces some serious challenges. Lack of equitable access to technology, racism, algorithmic bias and lack of accessibility prevent us from creating MN as the best place to live, work, and grow. We are committed to identifying and addressing gaps in our community, and building a strong equitable tech community for all.


Minnestar events are casual, informal, welcoming and above all fun! You can see the latest tech being built locally, give your first tech talk, and make lifelong connections.  We find joy in what we do, and seek to have environments that are fun, energetic, inspiring and not salesy (gross).

SINCE 2006

In early 2006, Ben Edwards organized the first Minnesota BarCamp (un)conference, which he dubbed Minnebar. The first event attracted about 100 people to the Warehouse District in Minneapolis. Luke Francl, who volunteered at that first event, went on to start the first Minnedemo event—a geek “show-n-tell” for Minnesota-made technology—in the fall of 2006. Minnestar (pronounced “minny star”) was founded 2009 to bring a series of events and programs under one organization.

Minnestar has organized hundreds of events that have attracted tens of thousands of people. Hundreds of presenters have shared their knowledge at Minnebar, and hundreds of projects — from weekend hacks to funded startups — have been demonstrated at Minnedemo.

In 2011, Minnestar decided to make it official, and formed a 501(c)3 organization with a Board of Directors and Advisory Board comprised of community leaders. In 2017, Minnestar brought on its first Executive Director, Maria Ploessl, who has helped to shape the next phase of growth for Minnestar and the MN tech community.

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