It was a sold out crowd downtown Minneapolis at the Depot Thursday night. Hundreds of technologists, leaders, venture capitalists, recruiters and curious locals showed up to check out the 7 seven groups presenting their projects. Be it their first time attending or the tenth; people were excited.
The concept: 7 Seven products/ideas are presented in 7 seven minutes on stage with one rule – No PowerPoint. The Minnestar non-profit organization has been putting this on for many years and Minnedemo 25 was another success.
We, as recruiters, have attended this event a handful of times for several reasons. First, we are passionate about our jobs, and there aren’t many better places to get in touch with dozens of candidates you’ve worked with than at a roundup like Minnedemo. You could even call it the ‘Grammy’s of Minneapolis Technology’ with the number of familiar faces we see.
Secondly, we are interested in the subject matter. It’s incredible to see what people come up with on a bi-annual basis. These passionate technologists spend hours and hours of their time (outside their normal jobs usually) to invent and create products from scratch. Being able to witness these ideas from a raw presentation state to, sometimes revenue generating, is exciting.
We’d like to highlight two 2 of the seven 7 recent presenters that we spoke with about their experience.
Kevin Marx is a software engineer, who previously worked for local companies Flipgrid and Sport Engine before he founded AndAnd, a software consulting firm. The small team at AndAnd, comprised of Garrett Lofgren (design), Joe Barrett (mobile engineer), and Brady Ouren (engineer), started a project called VennPT. In essence, they created a simple, mobile way to create and share personalized home exercise programs with your patients. Marx said, “We had physical therapists tell us how they had been using our app BurstKey, with their patients, and began the conversation on how we could expand our product to better fit their needs.” The feedback poured in, and it led the VennPT group to their current product. What started as a fun camera app for sharing gifs, quickly transformed into something totally different. The mobile platform allows a PT Personal Training specialist to design workouts and exercises and assign them to their patients – as opposed to inanimate pieces of paper with pictures of exercises. VennPT is a great example of people coming together and filling a void with technology.
Secondly, we spoke to Tyrre Burks (CEO/Founder) of Player’s Health (which won the top prize at Google Demo Day in 2016). Tyrre is a former professional football player and collegiate athlete who had his career cut short due to injuries. The idea behind Player’s Health stemmed from an injury he dealt with while playing high school football at Chicago’s Carver Military Academy. That injury went undocumented, and he deals with those repercussions today. Player’s Health is an interactive mobile platform designed to allow coaches to quickly and easily document any injury that occurs during practice or games. This promotes real time communication between coaches and parents to best care for the health and wellbeing of youth athletes. Burks said, “Today in America we have no clue what happens when it comes to injuries with kids” and it’s his goal to provide some answers. The Player’s Health presentation showed us there is no doubt they’re changing the game when it comes to youth athletics and helping to improve the safety of kids.
Be it VennPT, Player’s Health, or some other idea or product that succeeds, one truth you can take away from Minnedemo is that these companies and their contributors are making a difference in the local tech community. If you haven’t been out to Minnedemo, Minnebar, or a local Meet Up – get it out there and be a part of what’s happening within the Twin Cities tech community.