Admin Sep 9, 2020 1:59:25 PM 29 min read

Founder Community Track Schedule

We’re excited to share the full TCSW Founder Track line up!  

We’ve got an impressive line up for the September 10th TCSW Founder Track which is taking place this year virtually from 9am to 5pm on Hopin! You won’t want to miss the community and signature events happening throughout the day.

For ease of access and experience, check out our Attendee Guide for TCSW 2020!

Learn more about other main stage and signature events not featured in this blog here. 

And if you haven’t already — get your tickets today!


Register Now


Founder Track — Community Sessions:

9:15-10:00am — “I Failed...What Now?” 
Presented by Cihan Behlivan, BETA Entrepreneur in Residence; Chris Aburime of Sober Theory; Mike Todaro and Colin Hirdman of Augurian

Join us to have an engaging, fun and frank conversation that pushes beyond the platitudes and cliched catchphrases and dares to take a look at the honest role that failure plays in our personal and professional growth and development.


9:15am-10:00am — ”Experience Money Differently”
Presented by Isaiah Goodman and Micheala Newman of MoneyVerbs; Jeff Aguy and Jonathan Banks of NCXT

The session will begin with a founder presentation followed by a panel discussion featuring four diverse NCXT representatives focused on storytelling and sharing experiences around money.


9:15-9:45am— ”DIY Office Space: How to Find It and Negotiate Like a Pro”
Presented by Liz Rahn, Chris Rohrer and Peter Kostroski of Rokos Advisors 

Finding an office is a huge step for a startup. We’ll provide you with a road map and necessary tools to make finding your startup’s dedicated office space an easy and informed process. In our session, we’ll show you the best ways to calculate how much space you actually need, finding space through online tools, what to look for when touring spaces, negotiating lease terms, and ultimately moving into your new space. And, at the end of our session, you’ll walk away with all of these tools at your fingertips so that you can manage the process with confidence.


9:15am-12:00pm — “The Live Podcast Booth”
Presented by Jac Stark and Alex Skjong,

Tune into’s Live Podcast Booth channel to watch some of Minnesota's best podcasters interviewing each other — Moderator, Alex Skjong, will be matching up show hosts to talk about all things Minnesota, podcasting, business, and more.


10:15am-11:00am — "Tales of the COVID-19 Pivot"
Presented by Connie Rutledge of FINNOVATION Lab; Tane Danger of Danger Boat Productions; and Emma Tuftin of Brio Marketing

We’re all trying to stay afloat during the COVID-19. Why not swap some stories and learn from each others’ experiences while we’re in the same boat? Three panelists from very different industries will share honest accounts of creative problem solving, a misstep or two, and surprising discoveries that will inspire you to find and capitalize on the silver linings of the COVID-19 crisis.


10:15am-11:00am — ”Scaling Within: Expand Your Internal Capacity to Endure Change in the Midst of Uncertainty”
Presented by Meredith Neumann of Scaling Within

During these rapidly changing times, we need tangible, proven practices to help us operate from an optimal brain state. In this workshop, you will learn a simple but cutting-edge framework from the field of neurobiology that will help you thrive in the midst of uncertainty.


10:45am-11:15am — ”Why Every Startup Needs To Think Like a Lobbyist - Even Yours”
Presented by Shawntera M. Hardy of Civic Eagle

Join Shawntera M. Hardy, Cofounder + Chief Strategy Officer at Civic Eagle, in a discussion about the core principles to building a public policy engagement strategy that empowers businesses to track, analyze and influence the policies that matter most to their bottom line. No matter if it’s people, profit and/or planet.


11:15am-12:00pm — "7 Principles for Startup Success”
Presented by Ryan Broshar of Matchstick Ventures

After investing in 100 companies, Matchstick Ventures knows that these are the 7 most important things you can do to increase your odds of success.


11:00am-12:00pm — ”No-Code Rodeo presented by Graveti and Cloudburst”
Presented by Alex Rodriguez and Zack Steven of Cloudburst

This session will feature an overview of the no-code landscape and a behind the scenes look at apps built by presenters Alex Rodriguez (Electrician Path) and Zack Steven (George Floyd Mural Map app). There will also be time for Q&A.

Brought to you by Graveti, a community focused on building businesses, creating wealth and developing the Tech ecosystem for people of color in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Area, and Cloudburst, SBC a Minneapolis based Startup Studio.


11:30am-12:00pm — ”How to build a great team that doesn't think like you do”
Presented by Sean Higgins of BetterYou

Sean Higgins, CEO of BetterYou, will talk about what goes into building a successful team, and why it's crucial to hire people who don't think like you do.


1:15pm-1:45pm — "A Gay Jew, A Black Man, & A White Mom Walk into a Boardroom" 
Presented by Judd Grutman of Vonzella; Brad Wright; and Julie Kucinski of Pitchwell

Openness. Support. Collaboration. Diversity. We're going to have a frank conversation about the acceptance of others and a sense of duty to support the startup community here in the Twin Cities & beyond. 


1:30pm-2:00pm — "Scaling Your MVP-What should your tech look like?"
Presented by Tim Bornholdt of the Jed Mahonis Group; David Dalvey of Brightstone Venture Capital; Kate Evinger of gener8tor, and Eric Martell of Pear Commerce

So you have a solid MVP. Your customers are thrilled, and you're ready to move to the next level. Now what? While everyone talks about the importance of an MVP, there's not a lot of talk about preparing for the next step. Does your product need a redesign to support more users? What might VCs be looking for beyond your MVP? This talk will help you identify potential bottlenecks from a technical standpoint in preparing to scale your MVP.


1:30pm-2:15pm — ”From Surviving to Thriving: Erasing the Female Entrepreneur Wage Gap through Value-Based Pricing”
Presented by Jenny Niemela and Susan Heinlein of Illume Decision Hub 

Women-owned businesses generate 34 percent less revenues on average than male-owned businesses. Value-based pricing helps women founders set profitable pricing while developing the value-driven messaging to confidently ask for and get that price. Value-based pricing can help woman-owned businesses capture up to half that revenue discrepancy, or up to 17 percent.


1:30pm-2:15pm — ”From StartUp to Still Standing- Building a Dream and Surviving a Crisis”
Presented by John Sturgess of ADOGO Pet Hotels; Mollie Windmiller of LAB MPLS; Josh Fedie of; Ben Spangler and Gabriella Grant

Learn how some of the most successful and creative Twin Cities businesses got their start and what they did to survive 2020.


2:15-2:45pm — ”Building Blocks for Creating Excellence and Advantage through People and Company Culture Strategies”
Presented by Kjirsten Mickesh of ConnectHuman

As a founder or leader of a startup, you know who you have on your team matters. It's never too early to start to intentionally develop an organization culture and talent strategies that will differentiate you and create competitive advantage. Learn the building blocks you need to create excellence and advantage through talent and culture. Define the values that guide how you operate and make business and talent decisions. Learn how to attract and retain the best diverse talent for your organization to position you for successful growth.


2:30pm-3:15pm — ”Supporting Founder Wellness and Mental Health”
Presented by Jen Labanowski and Shelly Smith of United Counseling and Wellness

Jen and Shelly know that the health of a company is a direct reflection of the health of the founder and they are passionate about helping their fellow founders find increased balance and calm. This presentation will help founders learn strategies to improve communication, avoid burnout and lead from a place of emotional health.


2:30pm-3:15pm — "Fundraising Best Practices"
Presented by Jonathan Ellis

Join us to hear fundraising best practices for early stage startups from an experienced VC sharing some tips and tricks. How to prepare and run your fundraising process? What's the best way to approach investors? How do you secure investment from out-of-town investors? Bring your questions!


3:30pm-4:00pm — ”Scalable Operations: How structure can drive growth”
Presented by Kelly Schaefbauer of Trellis Tools

In this session, we will show how taking a structured approach to the day-to-day operations of your business can minimize growing pains, improve efficiency, and lead to sustainable growth. We will cover the key principles of structured operations, why they are important, and what structured operations looks like for different business sizes and stages of growth.


3:30pm-4:00pm — "Paving a Strategic ROADMAP: An effective business strategy"
Presented by Andy Shafer

This talk will explain developing your strategy using the Strategic ROADMAP.  It will discuss each of the 7 critical questions and provide a clear example using one of the most well-known, and maybe the only, success stories in the U.S. commercial airline business – Southwest Airlines.


4:15pm-4:45pm — ”Uplifting Founders: Delegate to Elevate”
Presented by Ethan Bull and Stephanie Bull of ProAssisting

Learn how career, top-level executive assistants integrate into their principal's lives to free up their time and increase their productivity.


4:00-4:15pm — ”Unleashing the Power of YOUR Idea”
Presented by Anna Stoll and Nick Tietz of ILT Academy; Shelby Chollett; and David Nyugen

The ILT Academy delivers extensive educational experiences to cultivate problem solvers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. We empower problem solvers and innovators to rethink and redesign problems, solutions, customers, and context. We equip entrepreneurs with the skills needed to commercialize ideas, develop successful ventures, and create high-growth businesses.


If you haven’t yet, make sure to register for TCSW 2020 to access all of these awesome community sessions and more!


Register Now



In every corner of the Twin Cities Metro Area there's a hacker, builder, artist, engineer, and entrepreneur whose efforts power the future economic vitality of this great state. During this week, we celebrate their efforts in the form of attention, praise, and investment... if you feel so bold. It's an entire week of Minnesota-made innovations on display.

Twin Cities Startup Week plays host to 19,000+ attendees, 200+ events, hundreds of speakers, pitches, demos and more. This year, we’re showcasing the best from the Startup Capital of the North virtually from September 7-25, 2020 — Learn more about Twin Cities Startup Week here!