If there’s one word that comes to mind when looking back on this month it’s this: Whew. What a month. Let’s backpedal a bit, shall we, to see what went down this lovely June of 2015.
It started off with news. Big news, and not too pleasant. CoCo, due to lack of membership needed to close its doors. It was a bummer day for us to hear that. But in the wake of the bad news, as you may have heard, emerged something new. Almost immediately following CoCo’s announcement, Emerging Prairie decided to step in. Our team firmly believes that a downtown coworking hub is important to the Fargo community. Thus, the Prairie Den was born.
As our newly hired Program Director Annie Wood took leadership of all things Prairie Den, earning the nickname The Den Master, things were stirring in the drone industry. Aerobotic Innovations and Packet Digital presented at 1 Million Cups Fargo on June 3, and used the venue as a way to make a big announcement: the two companies decided to combine their work in the drone fields to form a joint venture, Botlink LLC, now being led by CEO Terri Zimmerman and COO Shawn Muehler. The event was especially packed, with reporters and cameras in the lobby and coverage on the story in everything from WDAY to The Washington Post.
Following the big announcement, that same day, drone enthusiasts and curious attendees filled the Fargo Jet Center for Fargo’s first annual Drone Focus Conference. Participants enjoyed tours of the newly opened Jet Center, hearing from keynotes from around the country, and even partaking in a Battle Bot style drone fight. It was a drone-y good time.
In other fields, it seems there is no scarcity of innovation around these parts. A local Fargo startup is currently building a virtual reality horror game, one of the first on the market of virtual reality gaming. Another group of North Dakota State University students recently won one of ten OZY Genius awards, chosen from hundreds of international applicants, for their design of a 3D printed prosthetic arm. That arm is currently being tested out by a 3-year-old boy, and decreases the cost of a typical prosthetic arm from an average of $30,000 to $400.
A series of mobile apps are in the works locally as well. A Startup Weekend team continues to pursue their project with Klink, an app that gamifies the icebreaker process through a simple game on your phone. Jeremiah Utecht and his wife recently launched Peanut Buttr, a contact manager app, as part of their life long dream to be entrepreneurs. At 1 Million Cups this week we heard from another app project: Kycker, an app that provides hyper-local social messaging, developed by Sean Macki.
Throughout the month, the work on the Prairie Den has been a constant theme. We decided to involve the community every step of the way, starting with taking votes on a name, to hosting an open house for Startup Drinks in the vacant space, to launching a crowd-funding campaign that allows you to become an official Prairie Den co-founder. The response from the community has been wonderfully supportive. The space is slowly being furnished with items courtesy of NDSU, Bell State Bank, and John Deere to name a few. We can’t wait to invite everyone to see it at the soft launch on July 6.
Here at Emerging Prairie, we wrapped June up with a lovely getaway staff retreat at Crooked Lane Farms, where we took a pause from the hustle and bustle to reflect on our personal dreams, our dreams for Emerging Prairie, and our vision for Fargo. What we found is that accomplishment happens when we completely dream through the roof. There’s no time to shoot for the middle – shoot for the top.
A memorable moment was when we took our numbers from Emerging Prairie – from event attendees to website views – and added a zero. Seeing each of those numbers x10 was empowering and encouraging, and allowed us to eagerly strategize how we could get there. If you arelooking for a morale booster within the company, be you startup or large corporation, we highly recommend this exercise.
The closing of another great month doesn’t signify big change. There is still work to be done, desks to be moved in, stories to write, and events to attend! Be sure to check out our events calendar for a list of July events, sign up for our weekly newsletter that will keep you updated, and read our stories published daily on the website at 10 AM. Thanks for journeying with us. Cheers, to July!
Other Good News To Know:
Tech.Co announced their Startup of the Year competition, which you can apply for here!
Microsoft is hiring and expanding Fargo’s sales and marketing campus