This is Groove Capital’s first Twin Cities Startup Week (TCSW).
Okay, that’s not entirely true. It’s the brand’s first year being in the mix, but as a Co-founder of TCSW, I’ve been to…well…all of them :)
But this year is different. The dirty secret from the people who make TCSW happen is that we never really get a chance to experience it the same way that everyone else does. For the last six years, I’ve been too busy lugging boxes of t-shirts from Minneapolis to St. Paul to take in nearly all of the content. What did I miss?
This year I’m approaching the week very much like what I imagine our founders have been doing for the last six years—balancing an interest in absorbing as much relevant content as possible, while building a business from scratch. Now I understand what you were all saying—there’s way too much to take in! I can’t possibly participate in all of the sessions that I want to; not without completely abandoning my family or my responsibilities at Groove.
So here’s how I am thinking about it. Right now I’m building Groove, which means I need to get smart on 1) what startups are out there in Minnesota that I should be paying attention to and 2) how I can build Groove to be the best early stage investment firm that it can be. Though there’s at least two dozen other topics that I’d love to dig into I have to be focused with my time.
Here’s my schedule:
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Keeping Sales Connected, Motivated and Closing in Interesting Times
Reason: Sales is paramount to the success of every startup; I want to make sure that I can provide good advice on how to close to all of the companies that we work with. It’s also helpful for me as I invite new angels into the investment community.
Social Enterprise Showcase: Panel + Marketplace
Reason: This is a solid lineup of social enterprises, and it’s good for Groove to keep a pulse on how this category is evolving in Minnesota.
The Art of Tech: Unlocking Creative Possibilities
Reason: Okay, this is my first cheat as it doesn’t fall completely within my criteria. But I like Soona and this topic is intriguing.
Thursday, September 10, 2020
Reason: This is right in my wheelhouse for how to build a better venture group and there are not many more qualified speakers on the topic than Clarence Bethea. This is going to be great.
7 Principles for Startup Success
Reason: This is another solid topic for investors (and founders) led by my friend and Co-founder Ryan Broshar. It will be great to learn from what he’s seen as the themes that ultimately lead to a startup team’s success.
Fundraising best practices
Reason: This is another solid investor-founder content session from someone who has seen a lot of deals in the Midwest. I’m excited to compare Jonathan’s advice to what is typically shared in Minnesota.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
The Launch MN Network
Reason: This network is the backbone of deal flow from outside of the cities. The importance of this group can’t be understated. I’ll be the guy in this session saying too much, asking too many questions, and making sure that all of the speakers have my contact information… I apologize now.
Mentor Morning: Financing Scaling from Traction to IPO!
Reason: There’s a really solid lineup of founders on this one. I’m excited to hear their stories and will try to learn as much as possible. This is one of those sessions where you walk away with a quiver full of arrows to share with founders who are stuck in a rut.
Stories from EdTech Founders
Reason: Our EdTech startup community is very strong. This is a good chance for Groove to check in to see how things are evolving and hopefully pick up a few names to add to the watch list.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
BETA Fall Showcase powered by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Reason: The Showcase is a can’t miss event. It’s the top rated TCSW event in most years by nearly 2x the next option. Yes, I’m biased, but it’s the best place to see what’s happening in Minnesota’s early stage startup ecosystem.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
BETA's & Matchstick's Commitment to Diversity
Reason: This is an important topic, and we want to invite the community in to check our work.
Fuckup Nights Twin Cities (FUN)
Reason: My second cheat event… Failure stories are the best. I love this series, and I’m thankful that tech.mn has taken the lead on making failure something we can all learn from. Oh, and Nancy Lyons is a hoot.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Spilling the early-VC tea: the secret to getting your first check
Reason: Groove Capital is Minnesota’s first check fund; what could be more relevant than this?! I look forward to learning from Liz’s experience and will apply my learning to make Groove a better investor.
Surprise Event, Not Yet Listed
Becoming an Angel Investor; What You Need to Know to Write Your First Check
Reason: There’s a major delta between the number of active angel investors and qualified accredited investors in Minnesota. If we’re going to close that gap, we need to start with some education. So, let’s start the conversation.
...and then sleep for a week.
I hope that you have a wonderful TCSW, and I hope that you leave smarter and more inspired to make the world a better place. I look forward to seeing your faces on Hopin, Zoom, etc. Try the random networking roulette function, it’s actually pretty fun... oh, don’t forget to bring a friend.