The investment pitches are done and the party leftovers cleaned up.
What's left of Twin Cities Startup Week — which finished Wednesday after five business days with a weekend in the middle — are the follow-ups for money, employees and jobs.
The sixth-annual event, designed to bring attention and funding to Minnesota startup companies, was the biggest and most wide-ranging yet. Three of the region's largest companies — Cargill, 3M and Target — joined in as sponsors. St. Paul-based Abilitech won the Minnesota Cup, the business competition that anchors the week.
And Phenomix Sciences, started by a Mayo Clinic doctor, won the Million Dollar Challenge for Minority Entrepreneurs from the Metropolitan Economic Development Association.
Some other developments:
Representatives of Beta.MN and Greater MSP, the industry and development organizations that put Startup Week together, spend a portion of the spring and summer recruiting prospective tech workers to attend the event. Backed by funds from various local companies, they offer stipends to cover travel and lodging costs to the recruits, dubbed "fly-ins."
This year, their efforts attracted 45 fly-ins, up from 39 last year and 21 the year before. Most came from bigger cities, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. Two came from Toronto and some came from Australia, organizers said.
Last year, a handful of the fly-ins took job offers they received during Startup Week or shortly thereafter.
Companies stick around, too
During a tech demonstration event Tuesday, two companies that have been working in a food-industry accelerator program said they were moving to the Twin Cities, too.
The Farm to Fork Accelerator in St. Paul, administered by Techstars, over the last three months has nurtured 10 firms from the U.S., Australia, Canada, India and Israel. Founders and key employees from the firms have worked with executives from Cargill on developing their products and services and identifying ways to attract investors.
Two will stay after the program wraps up later this month. Otrafy, a developer of a supply-chain management platform, is moving from Vancouver. And Imago AI, maker of a system that uses artificial intelligence to analyze food quality parameters in production speeds, is moving from Gurgaon, India.
"We're learning a lot through Farm to Fork, including innovative ways to disrupt the global supply chain that moves everything from raw agricultural products to the food on our plates," Keith Narr, vice president of Cargill's Digital Labs, said in a statement.
Brewing up ideas
Finnovation Lab, the Minneapolis co-working and business incubator created by Finnegans Brew Co. founder Jacquie Berglund, landed two national partners that will help educate and fund local entrepreneurs.
SKU of Austin, Texas, will adapt its 12-week curriculum that has been focused on consumer-packaged goods and its network of mentors to fit Finnovation's emphasis on social entrepreneurs, people who start businesses with a focus on neighborhood and community development. The new program will be called Impact SKU and will get underway next summer.
And Seed Spot, an incubator program with operations in Phoenix and Washington, will run a two-day "launch camp" next month for entrepreneurs who are in the earliest stages of starting their firms. Seed Spot also focuses on founders who put social impact as the driver for their ideas.
Both partnerships give Finnovation Lab a boost in the early stages of its own work. The firm this summer completed work with its first cohort of entrepreneurs. Nine new company founders last month became the second group to go to work in a nine-month accelerator program.
"We're putting great emphasis on expanding our reach and impact, and are now working with two organizations to offer enhanced programming for social entrepreneurs at a range of stages," Connie Rutledge, managing director of Finnovation Lab, said in a statement.