Startup Secrets and Sh#$ to Know
Aleckson Nyamwaya has his beat on the pulse of the startup world in MN. He is an Associate @gener8tor, a Dreamchaser @powermovesdev and a lover of all things Tech & Startups. We are pleased to have his monthly insight on Startup Secrets and Sh#$ to Know. Check back each month for his thoughts, observations and featured companies.
The Rise of Venture Capital in MN
And what this means for the startup community
It goes without saying, the Twin Cities startup ecosystem is less than mediocre. The good news is, there are many worthwhile initiatives underway to help change that. One of those efforts is venture capital. In late 2016 & early 2017, Minnesotans saw an increase of venture capital activity.
- 500 Startups made an appearance
- gener8tor launched its accelerator program
- Techstars partnered with Target to launch Techstars Retail
- Dundee Venture Capital opened a Minneapolis office
- The Syndicate Fund — a new early stage fund
- Great North labs — a new incubator
- …More not listed
What this means for the local ecosystem
MEETINGS, MEETINGS, MEETINGS. The hype will inevitably lead the community to play a game called “Startup”. Suddenly everyone becomes an entrepreneur with an “Uber for X”. This will be a result of 2 things.
- The new VCs are first-timers, They are too excited about their new found “Gatekeeper” role which will lead them to make mistakes as they adjust.
- Instead of tackling challenging problems, The Twin Cities eco-system will abuse & misuse these funds on stupid ideas that don’t deserve funding.
In this day and age, VCs are expected to have a moral responsibility. Give back to the community in which you serve. The most valuable way to achieve this is through inspiring, mentoring and cultivating the generation of leaders. Perhaps through initiatives put in place by community leaders to develop the strong founders. Such as, mentorship, free mini accelerators, high school/college involvement, EIR programs etc.
My prediction is that half of these firms will fail, crashing and burning to the ground. Only time can tell, specifically the next 3–5 years. It’s important to note that, Minnesota’s early stage venture capital market is still in it’s infancy. Relative to older markets, such as silicon valley. Where firms like KPCB have reigned supreme before the 90’s to this day.
This is our golden age of entrepreneurs-turned-VCs. I am excited to see where this journey leads us.