Month in Review: May 2016

May may may may may. While things are really shifting into gear next week with the launch of June, bringing with it a visit from global investor Paul Singh and the annual Drone Focus Con, May was the perfect energy-builder for summer. Complete with sunshine, thunderstorms and a healthy dose of startup activity.

Start it up.

Fargo Startup House

Some big announcements from this month included local drone startup Botlink announcing a partnership with AgEagle, a company that sells their flying wing aircraft internationally.

Local rideshare startup Jumpr, based out of the Fargo Startup House, also officially launched early access this month; a big accomplishment considering co-founders Matt Sullivan and Jordan Nelson were managing full-time jobs while working on the app.

Speaking of the Fargo Startup House, the free housing for entrepreneurs ventures is still going strong. This month the House welcomed newcomer Michael Norton, a Startup Weekend facilitator, who chose to stick in Fargo after traveling all over the nation. He has plans to dabble in a few his own projects as well as offer his own counseling from years of experience working with startups.

1 Million Cups magic.

One of the most magical 1 Million Cups happened this month as well, featuring a ping-pong tournament with national champ Dr. Chanchai Tangpong, and highschooler student Dieumerci “Chris” Christel’s big idea. The West Fargo highschooler is building plans for an educational app, that he is confident could change the world of education forever. He received one of three ever standing ovations for a presentation at 1 Million Cups.

Chris 1

We also heard from Hannah Savoy, team lead for the winning team of North Dakota Women’s Startup Weekend. Their project, called “How the F,” aims to provide quick, snarky instructional videos for people to learn survival skills.

Eric Trueblood of Bemidji, MN, also presented a big idea at 1 Million Cups, one that won him and his team at AirCorps Library $10,000 at the MN Idea Competition recently. Trueblood and his team have created a platform that digitizes WWII aviation materials, and in four months since launch they have garnered 200,000 pages in donated content and 500 interactions a day.

Now that’s cool.

A martian rover designed by a team of North Dakota State University engineering students took third place at a nationwide NASA rover competition, with special recognition for the students’ unique 3D-printed wheel design. They gave us a ride around campus. It was epic.

NDSU Rover

Fargo startup Advanced Bone Technology, lead by NDSU grad Andy Dalman, was named one of the top 500 startups by Pioneer, a global conference that happens every year in Vienna. Andy will be traveling to Vienna to present their product, a 3D printing design that replicates bone material to help with surgical practices and training.

Cool people coming to Fargo.

Ross Open Road Prairie Den

More and more people are choosing to come to Fargo from across the nation. Like the Four MBA students from University of Michigan Ross School of Business, who came by to work on a week long project, choosing Fargo as one of four cities on their road trip.

Or Paul Singh, an investor in over 1,600 companies worldwide, who put Fargo on the map as part of his Results Junkies National Tech Tour. It’s part of the national road trip he’s taking in a custom-built Airstream, with the sole purpose of really diving into the communities and cities were startups are being grown. Here’s the full schedule of how you can get a chance to meet with Paul.

JD Claridge, founder of xCraft, spoke with us about his process of innovating in an over saturated drone industry; which has lead him to get a deal from all five sharks on Shark Tank and develop things like the Phone Drone. Claridge will be in Fargo for Drone Focus Con next Wednesday.

The ever-energetic Steve Garguilo, senior manager of creative engagement at Johnson & Johnson, will also be at Drone Focus Con next week — but not to talk about drones. Garguilo has perfected the blueprint of moving ideas into action.

Further down the road in July, TEDxFargo is drawing in some notable speakers as well. Past speakers have been speaking up about how their experience in 2015 impacted their lives. Local second grade teacher Kayla Delzer, for instance, was recently given the PBS Lead Digital Innovator and has speaking gigs at Twitter’s headquarters since giving her talk.

Sona Mehring will be taking the stage for the first time at this year’s event, sharing her story of how she created CaringBridge, a platform for those in a health crisis to share their stories. She spoke with us about how she has and continues to stay on top of emerging technology, as well as how she sees the positive impacts of social technology.

June boom.

As mentioned, the momentum from May is bursting into June with a pretty killer week to kick it off. Check out the full schedule of events with Paul Singh here.

Cheers to a good month.

 

Photos courtesy of Emerging Prairie.

Marisa Jackels