The folks at Minne* put on another solid showcase of Minnesota innovation at the latest Minnedemo on Thursday night. Ben Edwards, Luke Francl and the latest addition to the team, Adrienne Peirce, kicked off the event with the promise of “a Minnedemo in the spring and another couple Minnedemos” this year. There was even talk of moving beyond the friendly confines of the Twin Cities and staging an event in St. Cloud. For my part, I would have loved to hear more about the goals of both Minnedemo and Minne*. While I and many familiar faces in the room know what they are, I hate to see anyone miss an opportunity to really showcase the noble efforts of the organization.
As for the presenters and demos at the event, the evening highlighted applications, services, and hardware that catered to a wide range of interests. From gamers to writers, security to slap shots the evening moved along at a brisk pace leaving plenty of time for socializing and networking out side the presentation space at the St. Thomas’ Schultz Hall.
Some of the standouts included…
Inveni-I’ve followed the development of Aaron Weber’s discovery and recommendation engine for quite some time and it didn’t fail to impress. Entertainment (Movies, TV) is the sweet spot for Inveni right now and offers the ability to share your highly personalized Inveni picks with your network. Now if Aaron could only get Netflix to secure a better class of streaming selections…
Zipnosis-With the promise of a diagnosis in minutes for just $25, Zipnosis was perhaps the most polished demo of the evening. We’ve showcased Zipnosis and are big fans. I also found the theme of the demo, providing low-cost healthcare, interesting. Zipnosis clearly wants to move past the tech and on to the benefits.
LitLift-This demo was the darling of the event. Providing tools to help writers in the areas of character, settings, and plot, LitLift helps authors organize their literary efforts. Presenter Brad Marsh, a writer himself won over the crowd with his humor as well as his assertion that he has invested all of $10 in LitLift and already has hundreds of authors using it. Showing off the character name generator didn’t hurt either.
Passy-Pass-I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight sigflup and her password generator. This piece of hardware does away with the need to constantly think of, and remember, new passwords. Paraphrasing sigflup’s words, humans shouldn’t have to deal with such things. Her demo and the incredibly raw nature of her working prototype really drove home the essence of what demos are all about.
The complete list of presenters, compliment of Minnedemo, is below.
One last word, while the surroundings for Minnedemo were really top-shelf (I believe this is the first time with actual carpeting.), the real standout of the evening was the caliber of presenters. The passion, enthusiasm and polish of most of the demos was exceptional. There is no doubt we have much of which to be proud from our tech community.
- Inveni: a discovery engine where users receive highly personalized recommendations based on their custom taste profile and facilitates effortless sharing and socializing with friends (Aaron Weber).
- Qonqr: an augmented reality combat game, winner of Startup Weekend Twin Cities (Scott Davis, Justin Peck)
- Passy-Pass: a is password generator and storage device, written up by the Make blog (sigflup).
- Zipnosis: Doctor e-diagnosis tool with mobile component. Winner of Minnesota Cup Student Division in 2008. (Ben Peirce & Jon Pearce)
- Daybreak Heroes: a new social game for the iPhone, integrating some revolutionary ideas into the blossoming social game genre (Evan McMahon)
- Evolve-Stop playing with yourself. A social network catering to gamers.
- Event Burn: an online service that makes social media more useful by finding and summarizing the good stuff (Dan Frankowski)
- LitLift.com: a free novel writing application that’s helping hundreds of authors make the most of their limited writing time (Brad Marsh)
- Sophia: makes knowledge easier to share, easier to find, and easier to organize. Sophia lets you teach what you know and learn what you don’t (Steve Anastasi).
- Minnesota Hockey Hub: Bringing pro level functionality to the masses via the SPORT NGIN platform (Carson Kipfer)