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Monday, April 16, 2018
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First Things First

Welcome back, Beat readers! Before we get started today, I want to give a shoutout to everyone who has followed Minne Inno on Twitter. On Friday we officially hit 1K followers! Before we share our stories in this newsletter, we send ’em out over social. So be sure you’re following us to stay in the loop on the latest news in Minnesota’s tech and startup scene. Follow us on TwitterLike us on FacebookCheck us out on LinkedIn. Go ahead. Do it now. We’ll wait here.

Ready? Let’s kick a Beat.

The Big One

A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.

How 26 Letters is Teaching Companies to Build Inclusive Cultures

Caroline Karanja has always had diversity at the forefront of her mind. Throughout her tech career, she has noticed that different companies faced similar challenges surrounding workplace inclusion.

Karanja had dozens of meetings and conversations with others about the importance of feeling included in their companies. She realized that the time she spent having these disussions could be applied to a building a company that create solutions for these diversity issues.

She started 26 Letters in October 2016, an online platform that creates assessments and action plans for companies to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

“It was really something that grew organically,” Karanja said. Scaling a solution around issues of diversity and inclusion is going to be the biggest way to make an impact, she said.

26 Letters collects data from client companies about employees’ experiences, then builds an assessment piece around it, most often in the form of a survey. Named after the number of letters in the alphabet, 26 Letters hopes to make people conscious of the culture and language used while trying to build more inclusive workplaces.


Making Moves

Inside the people, companies and organizations making moves today.

Vibes Founder Finds Success After Not Taking Shark Tank Bait

Local entrepreneur Jackson Mann made an appearance on Shark Tank in January 2017 looking for investment in Vibes, a startup offering high-end earplugs. One of the sharks, Kevin O’Leary, offered Mann $100K for 35% in the company, plus $2 for each pair of earplugs sold. Mann didn’t take the bait. But the exposure has fueled his business. Since appearing on the show, Vibes’ sales grew from $30K in 2016 to $2M in 2017.

Full story from the Star Tribune here.

Ceridian’s IPO Could Be Much Bigger Than Expected 

Earlier this month, Bloomington-based Ceridian announced its planned $200M IPO. But now it’s shaping up to be closer to a $500M IPO. MarketWatch notes that the terms of the offering (21M shares at $19 to $21 per share) could be worth between $441M to $507M. This is Ceridian’s second go at being a public company. It was taken private in a $5B deal a decade ago.

More from the Biz Journal here.

In The Know

The Inno stories you need to read today.

In The Community

The events and happenings to know about tonight and this week.

Medtech OpenBETA
TOMORROW: gBETA Medtech director Adam Choe will host a meetup discussing what medical startups should know about their market and competition. Details here.

Enterprise Rising Conference
WEDNESDAY: “Pure enterprise SaaS. Pure startups. Pure Midwest. If you are a B2B tech startup founder, come to the only event that has a 1/6 VC/founder ratio. If you are a investor, come meet startups that are fast growing with revenue. Prices will rise. Be wise, buy now, you can always cancel for 100% refund.” Details here.

All this and more in the latest Minne Inno Approved. Check out our full events directory (and post your own upcoming shindig) here.


Meanwhile in another corner of the internet…

Snowstorm Leads to PR Shitstorm for Sun Country Airlines

Eagan-based Sun Country Airlines is taking heat for its response to this weekend’s snowstorm. The MSP airport was a mess on Saturday, and as a result, dozens of flights were delayed, canceled and rerouted. Hundreds of Minnesota travelers found themselves stuck in Los Cabos, Mexico after their flights were canceled by Sun Country.

The passengers weren’t just stranded – they were super stranded. The airline ended its season Saturday and had no more flights to or from Los Cabos scheduled until June. The travelers received refunds, but last-minute, one-way tickets from one country to another can be pricey. I’m sure many Minnesotans (myself included) would’ve given anything to be in Mexico over the weekend, but not on those terms.

More on that from the Star Tribune here.

Featured Jobs

Featured startup and tech jobs on Minne Inno’s new Careers Directory.

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Meet The Authors:

Maddy Kennedy

Will Flanagan

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