Founder Clarence Bethea is the type of entrepreneur we love to support. He wears his heart on his sleeve in every interaction, is wonderfully deep, and is passionate about delivering an outstanding customer experience.
Upsie began as two people squatting in a bagel store, borrowing wifi. Moving to a new space from the company’s first dedicated office in Minneapolis means more than a change of address for this team. It’s a sign Upsie is on the right track and that Minnesota was and continues to be a great place to root and grow the company.
Atif Siddiqi knew he wanted to build a business. When considering problems to solve, he harkened back to his high school sales job at a t-shirt shop, where there was no automated system for employees to trade or pick up available shifts. Years later, he discovered, not much had changed. He launched Branch in 2014 as a scheduling tool for hourly employees. It has since evolved into a mobile-first platform on a mission to “make the lives of hourly workers financially better.” Branch provides no-cost advances on earned wages. The app is used by hundreds of thousands of hourly employees at large companies including Life Time and Target. Along the way, Siddiqi has become an authority on the topics of employee satisfaction, financial wellness, and how employee engagement can help a company’s bottom line.
Today, ScaleFactor announced our “2.020” vision, signaling a significant commitment to the evolution of our business. What began as a solution to help business owners get more from their Quickbooks and Xero is evolving into a platform of technologies and services designed to digitally transform the back office experience for both small business owners and the bookkeepers and accountants they collaborate with. Today, we express our gratitude to the customers who have joined us during these early years and taught us so much about what works for their business, as well as our ScaleFactor team that has been so responsive in developing these solutions.
Congrats to Matchstick portfolio companies Branch, Inspectorio, Kidizen, Structural, Kipsu and Parallax on being recognized as the most promising startups this decade!
Minneapolis-based video and photo studio soona has closed on a $3.5 million fundraising round, the company announced Friday. Local investor Matchstick Ventures led the round, along with Chicago-based Starting Line. In total, the company has now raised more than $5 million, said soona co-founder and CEO Elizabeth Giorgi.
We're excited to participate in Airspace Link's latest funding round to help enable safe drone flying in and around cities. This funding comes on the back of Airspace Link recently earning a stamp of approval from the Federal Aviation Administration for low-altitude authorization and notification capabilities. “We’re creating the roads based on ground-based risk and we push that out into the drone community to let them know where it’s okay to fly,” says CEO Michael Healander. Congrats Michael and team, thanks for the hard work you are doing.
On Episode 19 Kevin McArdle, owner of SureSwift Capital and special guest host, Bri McCullough, welcome Ryan Broshar, Founder and partner at Matchstick Ventures and Co-founder and board member of BETA and Twin Cities Startup Week, on a special TCSW edition of The Tech.MN Podcast to talk about putting founders first and the future of Twin Cities Startup Week.
The experience of raising money last year bewildered Elizabeth Giorgi at first. Almost always, she pitched her startup company, Soona, to an all-male audience of investors.
"People would assume that my male colleague was the founder and not me," she says. "I would occasionally have people ask me about whether or not I have children or if I was planning on having children anytime soon."
In December 2018, Hayley Anderson and Liz Giorgi founded Soona, a fast-casual photo and video service. Today, Anderson serves as chief creative officer. The company has studio stores in Minneapolis and Denver, and recently launched Soona Anytime, which enables customers to ship their product from anywhere in the U.S. to one of Soona’s studios where a photo or video shoot will be planned. The customer can attend the live photo or video shoot online and chat with crew in real time to give feedback. The business is expected to earn $350,000 in revenue for 2019.
Ryan Broshar is deeply connected to the Twin Cities startup scene. He cofounded Beta.MN and Twin Cities Startup Week, which launched in 2014 and keeps getting bigger. He served as managing director of the Techstars Retail Accelerator with Target Corp. for three years. But perhaps most important to local founders is his work at Matchstick Ventures—with offices in Minneapolis and Boulder, Colorado—which makes seed-stage investments in emerging companies. In September the firm announced closing on its Matchstick Ventures Fund II, raising $30.5 million—a big jump from its first fund of $5 million. That will provide essential firepower for many entrepreneurs and their startup ventures.