In an earlier post, I raised the question “Who are Minnesota’s Radical CEO’s?” Why again does this matter? If we want Minnesota to remain a hub of tech innovation and jobs, we need business leaders who get the connection between business, people and place.
I went searching and found a worthy first Radical CEO: Matt Dornquast of Code 42 Software. Dornquast has built a dynamic and successful Minnesota tech company even through the downturn. And he has an express purpose to help nurture the Minnesota tech ecosystem. This is not just aspiration. He has turned down multiple VC deals that would've required him to move the company out of Minnesota. In this era, that’s radical – and that’s true community vision.
- Matt Dornquast, CEO and Co-Founder of Code 42 Software and home of CrashPlan - founded in 2003.
- Interned at Minnesota innovation pioneer Control Data in high school and coded in assembly language for seven years by the time he got to college. Knows Minnesota’s amazing information tech heritage – but is aimed at new benchmarks.
- Has built CrashPlan into the #3 online backup provider in the United States (after Mozy and Carbonite) with worldwide distribution. CrashPlan grew 400% during this recent economic downturn period (how many tech companies can say that?)
- Maintains a collaborative work environment and focus. Describes people and culture as the most important ingredients for perpetual success.
- Has created “startups” inside large tech companies – yes, that’s possible. Has worked with pods of very creative people who are pushing innovation from deep inside large enterprise.
- Has turned down numerous deals from West Coast and local VC’s because he believes firmly that Minnesota tech successes should stay here to enrich and develop the environment. Not interested in “flipping” companies. Wants Code 42 to be the great Minnesota tech/software company that didn’t leave.
- Thinks Minnesota is a “10” as a place to launch new tech enterprise: smart people, great work ethic, access to capital. Positive attitude always welcome!
- Actively encourages potential Minnesota entrepreneurs to weigh risk and reward and jump on chances to build something new when they can. Wants entrepreneurship taught early – by teachers and parents!
- Mentors other local storage companies (his future competitors?!?) and is involved with local seed-capital efforts for startups (MinneSpark). Wants local money to move more freely.
- Wants 3 great consumer-facing tech brands based here (the likes of Google, YouTube etc…). And he means it.
With Radical CEO’s like this, we can maintain and expand our amazing Minnesota innovation culture. Who's next?