Dale Nitschke, the 24-year Target executive whose last post was developing and running Target.com, is on a fast-growth track with Ovative/group, his fast-growing digital analytics and measurement firm.

The 2009-vintage, 85-employee company is moving from 701 Washington Av. N. in the North Loop to twice as much space in a new building a couple blocks away and expects to double in size within three years.

“We create the measurement capability for customers and use that capability to help them spend their digital-advertising dollars on the new enterprise metrics that we developed,” said Nitschke, 54. “Most digital media agencies are focused on optimizing digital channels, e-commerce businesses. We focus on online and offline revenue and customer acquisition … to understand what activities within digital marketing can most efficiently acquire new customers. That’s part of our operating lens. Businesses want to grow revenue and acquire new customers.”

Ovative’s revenue rose from $1 million in 2010 to $15 million in 2016.

Customers include Kohl’s, Maurices, General Mills, Buffalo Wild Wings, Marriott, UnitedHealth Group, education and technologies companies.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is supporting the project with a $605,000 grant from its job-creation fund. Ovative, which plans to invest $2.1 million in the new facilities and add 100 people over the next three years, will receive the funding after it has met investment and job creation commitments.

“We needed more space,” said Nitschke, also Ovative’s owner. “We learned about the [state jobs-subsidy] program through our real estate people. That helped solidify the decision. We considered all options.”

Said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy: “Ovative is growing at a remarkable pace, thanks to high demand for their services that enable businesses to measure and optimize the effectiveness of digital marketing efforts.”

Neal St. Anthony

UnitedHealthcare expands ‘wearable’ health program from 12 to 40 states

Just in time for fitness resolutions in the new year, UnitedHealthcare announced Tuesday the expansion of a “wearable wellness” program that offers dollars to subscribers who meet certain walking goals.

Minnetonka-based UnitedHealthcare, which is the nation’s largest health insurer, first partnered last year on the program with technology giant Qualcomm.

Initially offered to certain UnitedHealthcare customers in 12 states, the program now will be available in 40 states, according to an announcement Tuesday at the International Consumer Electronics Show 2017 in Las Vegas.

The program has adopted a “bring-your-own-device” model, whereas initial participants were limited to devices offered by the companies. People who use the Fitbit Charge 2, for example, can now participate.

In the 40 states where the program is available, wearable wellness is an option in self-funded employer plans with five or more eligible employees, plus companies with fully insured health plans with 101 or more eligible workers.

Employees earn up to $4 per day in deductible credits when they meet frequency, intensity and tenacity goals for their walking routines.

Christopher Snowbeck

Law firm pitches discounted rate to start-ups

Fafinski Mark & Johnson of Eden Prairie is offering a special for new businesses in 2017. The law firm will charge only $17.17 plus out-of-pocket expenses to help new businesses incorporate and otherwise get legal. That’s far less than even the do-it-yourself online legal filing sites such as LegalZoom or Swyft Filings.

The Fafinski firm acknowledges this is also a loss-leader way to meet prospective clients who will pay a lot more downstream.

Bob Fafinksi, a founder of the 17-year-old firm, said he also wants to help more fledgling businesses get established. And firm partners said they want to do what they can to further Minnesota’s No. 1 ranking by the Kauffman Foundation of the state’s 51 percent five-year survival rate of small businesses.

“Obviously we would like to bring in some new clients that will lead to long-term relationships, but we’re really hoping to help Minnesota businesses grow and thrive by helping clients form business entities correctly,” Fafinski said. “It’s our relationships with small businesses that are really unique because FMJ is a small business.

“As an entrepreneur, I’ve experienced many of the same stresses as clients. Their concerns and issues are similar to mine. At times, entrepreneurs that form their own business entities make mistakes or overlook important decisions that can end up costing them a lot of money in the long run.”

Neal St. Anthony