REPRESENTING THE MN TECH COMMUNITY
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 dozens of events that have attracted thousands of people. Hundreds of presenters have shared their knowledge at Minnebar, and dozens 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.