Month in Review: March 2016

It’s been a wild month! The events and projects that emerged are about as diverse as the weather these past weeks. Here’s your monthly breakdown of the past 31 days (P.S. Not an April Fool’s piece!)

So Fetch

Here’s where we talk about the latest cool and hip projects coming out of Fargo-Moorhead.

Surround sound phone system: There’s the Herd app, a project designed by a team of NDSU students which allows you to sync up smartphones to create a surround sound system.

Mojirater: Two Fargo locals dubbed “the emoji guys” launched a product called Mojirater on Product Hunt. The plug-in allows users to set up an emoji response platform for their content. This way, readers can show if they loved their article, or if it made them hungry, or angry, or nerdy.

Emoji GuysProudCrowd gets political: Tim Brookins, a Microsoft distinguished engineer, launched a new product from his startup ProudCrowd as well; a political campaign app that allows users to send each other challenge coins and track them through the app. Read this to fully understand. They already have their first customer – the Doug Burgum for North Dakota Governor campaign.

uCodeGirl: Betty Gronneberg announced at 1 Million Cups that she is launching a new program called uCodeGirl as a platform to teach and encourage more women to study computer science. Gronneberg was also named a Bush Fellow this month, and will put the $100,000 of award money towards her program.

Innovation Challenge

Innovation Challenge

North Dakota State University awarded a collective $27,000 to the winning teams of the Innovation Challenge 2016.

The winner of the Service track and People’s Choice Award, a team called Opti-M3D, has developed a process for more personalized cancer treatment through cloning tumors. Their work got them media coverage from WDAY, the Fargo Forum, Pharmacy Today, and more.

Startup Weekend success


The fourth annual Startup Weekend Fargo produced three new top winners with ideas that are on track to become real products.

The winners were, from first to third place: Givapp, a fundraising app for non-profits; Carbee, a product that tracks the life of a car battery and sends data to the car dealers; and OpenTab, a mobile app that allows you to pay your tabs without waiting for servers, or if you forgot to pay.

The winners each got a sweet trophy designed by Tom Kemmer.

Transforming Fargo

Fargo Marquee

From the loud new construction on Broadway signifying the start of Kilbourne Group’s Block 9 project, to new restaurants like BernBaum’s bagels and Sazerac Alley opening their doors, it’s clear that times are a-changin’ here in Fargo.

Dr. Tim Mahoney is watching this change happen around him from his position as Mayor. He shared his thoughts on how the entrepreneurial ecosystem could be the key to surviving a shifting economy, and how to respond to a city where old is fast becoming new.

Around the world old systems like lodging and taxi cabs are being upturned by methods based in sharing economy. We took an in depth look at how Fargo is being impacted by the sharing economy with platforms like Uber and Airbnb on the rise in the city.

Cyber security, computing, and unmanned aircrafts are the areas Mark Hagerott, Chancellor of the North Dakota University Systems, aims to emphasize as North Dakota grows. As he builds a stronger tie among the states university system, his vision is to turn the state into a 21st century workplace.

Senator Heidi Heitkamp is betting on the startup community as a catalyst for healthy growth. This month she launched seed capital bill that could allocate $1.2 million in federal dollars to be put towards boosting startups in cities under 100,000 in population.

Autonomous Corridor and Drones

President Obama is betting money too, but on a different realm; the world of autonomous vehicles. He has allocated a budget of $3.9 billion for autonomous development in the United States, specifically for autonomous corridors.

The Autonomous Friendly Corridor

The Autonomous Friendly Corridor

Marlo Anderson, a North Dakota native, is currently working to establish an autonomous corridor from Manitoba to Mexico that he believes is a front runner to receive a good chunk of the money.

Fargo also hosted the annual North Dakota UAS industry day, where local industry leaders presented their work in the drone industry. One startup visiting from Las Vegas, Dronesmith, shared their perspective on how the drone industry will thrive from the indie developers.

Grand Forks startup took a leap forward this month, when they partnered with ESPN to film NDSU quarterback Carson Wentz for a promo video. The shoot involved herding bison with drones and nearly losing their drone to Wentz’s football.

Local company, SatShot Inc., throws an interesting light on the drone world as they continue to develop satellite imagery technology. Founder Lanny Faleide poses the question that perhaps satellites are better suited to gather data for farmland than drones.

Fundates (Fun Updates)

In the world of Emerging Prairie, we made a few big steps forward by officially becoming a 501(c)3 non-profit (IRS approved!) as well as launching our new website, built by Hash Interactive (thanks guys).

Myriad Mobile took a huge step forward as a company by installing a massive 500 pound bell in their offices to celebrate sales.

Myriad Mobile Bell

Andy Dalman traveled through security with human bone in a backpack, to represent his company Advanced Bone Technology at VentureWell’s annual Open conference – one of only 14 companies chosen to have a booth.

Local 3D printing filament manufacturer 3DomUSA announced this week that they have merged with two other companies to form a larger, international company called 3DomFuel. The merge signifies a huge boost in growth for the company, co-founder John Schneider said.

On another, more caffeine-infused note, 1 Million Cups celebrated the first ever “Coffee Day” with Twenty Below coffee and Stumbeano’s founders. Twenty Below celebrates their first birthday today!

April showers…

What to look forward to? Women’s Startup Weekend is at the end of April, 1 Million Cups has a stellar content line-up for each week, and rumor has it a Startup Drinks may even be in the works for this month. The sun’s out, the fun’s out, and hey – we’re already getting pumped for summer.

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Marisa Jackels

Marisa Jackels

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