Google for Entrepreneurs Archive

Erin Newkirk to speak at Unlea(she)d

Erin Newkirk to speak at Unlea(she)d


April 24, 2014
6 – 9 p.m.
CoCo Uptown Garage

Eventbrite - Unlea(she)d, with Red Stamp founder Erin Newkirk

Making Relationships Stronger: Erin Newkirk of Red Stamp
If there is one thing Erin knows for sure, it’s that friends + family make the world go round. Which is why Erin founded the top tier, award-winning Red Stamp. Recently acquired by The Occasions Group and selected as one of “100 Brilliant Companies” by Entrepreneur Magazine as a “Compan[y] that [is] identifying and solving the problems we face every day,” Red Stamp’s purpose is to cut through a lot of puffery around the “proper” way to thank, wish, invite + announce and just get straight to the heart of the matter…Making Relationships Stronger.

Making Relationships Stronger is also why Erin is a modern etiquette correspondent for Matchbook Magazine, was a finalist in Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards, is a Professor for Fast Company’s 30 Second MBA, and has been selected by EU’s Global Board Ready Women initiative.

IMG_2111Erin will be interviewed by our guest “conversationalist” and CoCo member Ellen Guettler [Get-ler]. Ellen is a writer, editor and award-winning radio producer. She spent ten years at MPR making documentaries with American RadioWorks and helping to launch new radio shows like Marketplace Tech, Dinner Party Download and Wits. These days, when she’s not back at MPR wielding a microphone or corralling a budget, she helps launch creative ideas and develops content strategy for the public media universe and beyond.


There will also be time for Q&A and networking. (Please submit any questions you have ahead of time!)

Appetizers and snacks and a cash bar will be provided.

About Unlea(she)d
Unleashed is a monthly speaker series, held at CoCo, in which we invite women entrepreneurs and leaders to talk about their journeys in life and business. Unlea(she)d is part of CoCo’s effort to increase the presence and participation of women in our community. Join our mailing list for updates on future women’s happenings at CoCo.

They came, they pitched, they got funded!

They came, they pitched, they got funded!

Kidizen CEO Dug Nichols and co-founder Dori Graff give their pitch onstage at Google Demo Day.

Tech Hub startups at Google Demo Day

The 10 startups came from the seven Google Tech Hubs across North America.


Docalytics founders Steve Peck and Evan Carothers chat with their newest investor, AOL founder Steve Case, after the pitch event. (Blurry photo courtesy Don Ball)

Google Demo Day a success for CoCo startups

Congratulations to Kidizen and Docalytics, the CoCo-based startups who were chosen to demo their products at the first-ever Google Demo Day.

Imagine the scene: a room full of some 50 Silicon Valley investors, plus tech reporters and bloggers and some senior Googlers. The judges for the event were well-known investors, including Stephanie Palmeri of SoftTech VC, MG Seigler of Google Ventures and AOL founder Steve Case, representing his venture fund, Revolution.

Despite some pre-game jitters, both of our startups were pitch perfect in their demos. But the best part came last. Kidizen’s Dug Nichols described it best:

“Here’s the scoop on what happened next, as told to me by an anonymous insider: The three judges retired to a back room and deeply struggled with who to give the trophy to. Steve Case said ‘I know what to do’ and that was it.

They came back on stage and announced Windsor Circle as the top pick, and then Steve asked Mary Grove for the mic and dropped the bomb, ‘I’m investing $100k in every company that presented today.’


That was pretty f***ing cool.”


Come to Unlea(she)d!

Come to Unlea(she)d!

unleashed_logoMarch 20
6 to 9 p.m
CoCo Uptown

featuring Nancy Lyons and Meghan Wilker

As part of our participation in 40 Forward, we’re launching a monthly event series called Unlea(she)d. It will be an opportunity for women to meet, hear about other women’s journeys in life and business and have conversations and make meaningful connections.

GeekGirls1Nancy Lyons and Meghan Wilker, aka the Geek Girls, will kick off our first Unlea(she)d with a talk about their journey in life and business, which has culminated in the success of Clockwork Active Media Systems – one of the fastest growing and most respected interactive marketing agencies in the region.

There will also be time for Q&A, small-group discussion and networking.

Appetizers and drinks will be provided by our favorite women-owned caterer, Chowgirls Killer Catering.

About Nancy Lyons

Nancy works at the intersection of technology, community, and people. As a leader and technologist, she creates solutions that further community and business goals by meeting the needs of individuals. Her guiding philosophy is that a human-centered approach to technology is the only way to get results that make a difference. Problem solving is about empowerment: motivated people create good products. Nancy supports clients and teams by fostering a collaborative, idea-driven culture that nurtures creativity and brainpower.

She speaks extensively about work culture, social media, technology, and leadership and has been locally and nationally recognized for her role as owner and CEO of Clockwork. She’s co-author of Interactive Project Management: Pixels, People, and Process (New Riders, 2012), serves on the National Board of Directors at The Family Equality Council, is a founding board member of Upper Mississippi Academy and is a Project Skyway Captain & mentor at Project Skyway.

About Meghan Wilker

As COO of Clockwork Active Media, Meghan oversees the planning and execution of web, mobile, and application development projects. She’s the co-author of Interactive Project Management: Pixels, People, and Process (New Riders 2012), and was named a “Woman to Watch” by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. In 2013, she founded the Twin Cities Interactive Project Management Meetup group and is on a mission to change how people think about the role of project management in interactive work.

Her past business cards have included titles like Account Executive, Copywriter, Interactive Project Manager, Strategist and Creative Director at companies ranging from large ad agencies to specialty boutiques. No matter the title, Meghan’s hallmark is her ability to get things done — and have fun doing it. As one of the dynamic duo known as the Geek Girls Guide, she is a speaker, writer, and podcaster who loves demystifying technology for non-technical people. She’s a frequent contributor to the internet, and a frequently awkward Bollywood dancer.

Equalizing opportunity at CoCo

Equalizing opportunity at CoCo

Get updates by joining CoCo’s 40Forward mailing list!

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We’re delighted to announce that we’ve joined 40 Forward, an effort by our partners, Google for Entrepreneurs, to increase the presence and amplify the voice of women entrepreneurs in 40 startup communities throughout the world.

Despite strides in practically every field, women are still terribly underrepresented in technology and startups.

Intuitively and experientially, most of us can appreciate what happens when a culture  is saturated with too much of any one thing, whether that’s gender, race, ethnicity, educational background or any number of cultural biases. The potential for original ideas and approaches to problems is diminished. Well, it turns out there’s more than experiential evidence of this affect, with research showing that women-led companies demonstrably perform better!

At CoCo, we’ve always tried to create a bigger tent. We believe there is a benefit in hosting a  community that consists of a diverse array of people undertaking a wide range of efforts. In other words, we host startups, but not just startups. Sure, we have techies, but not only techies. And over the past 4+ years as a community, we’ve seen that “big tent” approach pay off. As we have told new members who tell us they want to be around more people just like themselves: “the worst thing we could do for you is let you be surrounded by people just like you.”

So, what does 40 Forward mean at CoCo? We will be making a deliberate effort to meet and welcome more women. Our goal is to boost our female membership from its current 35% to 50% in one year. 

We’ll start by hosting a series of women-focused events:

  • Unlea(she)d  - A monthly speaker series in which women entrepreneurs and business leaders reflect on their experience in building their companies. The inaugural Unlea(she)d event, on Feb. 20 at CoCo Uptown, will feature Nancy Lyons and Meghan Wilker, of the Geek Girls Guide and Clockwork Active Media Systems. Unleashed events will be free and open to the public.
  • WoCoCo – A monthly lunchtime meetup of women at CoCo at all our locations. It’s an open forum for discussing the experience and challenges of being a woman in business. This event is for CoCo members and guests, but all Unlea(she)d attendees will be invited!

Please join us for these events! We would also appreciate your support in letting the women entrepreneurs you know about our efforts.

Get updates by joining CoCo’s 40Forward mailing list!

MSP representin’ in Silicon Valley!

MSP representin’ in Silicon Valley!

DocalyticsTwo CoCo member startups will be headed to Google Demo Day on April 2, 2014.

Docalytics and Kidizen won 1st and 2nd place, respectively, at CoCo Pitch Night, on Feb. 21. By winning the pitch competition that night, Docalytics won the opportunity to go to Google headquarters and demo their product to Silicon Valley investors, including AOL founder Steve Case and MG Siegler.

kidizenAs the runner-up, Kidizen was entered into a wild-card round and selected yesterday to also demo at Google.

“We are delighted that two of our member companies will have this opportunity,” said CoCo founder Kyle Coolbroth. “These are two highly investible companies with solid leadership teams. We’re proud that Minnesota will be so well represented in Silicon Valley,” he said.

Docalytics is a startup that gives companies the ability to capture leads with PDF documents, such as white papers and research reports, and gather insights into how those documents are read and shared. Below is a video of their presentation at CoCo Pitch Night:

CoCo pitch night: Docalytics from TECHdotMN on Vimeo.

Kidizen is an online and mobile marketplace for parents to buy and sell pre-loved kidstuff, such as clothing, and toys. Below is their presentation at CoCo Pitch Night:

CoCo pitch night: Kidizen from TECHdotMN on Vimeo.

Cover photo credit: Photo Credit: romanboed via cc