This story is part of our Boomerang Series, where we talk to Minnesota natives who left for the coasts and have since returned to the Twin Cities startup scene. Think you know a “Boomerang” with a story to tell? Reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org.
It would not be accurate to describe Gregory Binsfeld’s professional journey as simply a boomerang. After spending 15 years in Germany, several years in San Francisco, two in Boston and short stints in Eastern Europe and Asia, Binsfield’s professional path more closely resembles the trajectory of a pinball.
That changed earlier this year when the St. Cloud-area native moved back to his home state and settled down in Minneapolis. Since returning, Binsfeld has hit the ground running. He started a St. Paul chapter of the entrepreneurship group Startup Grind, founded his own food startup and landed a job with a London-based marketing agency to set up an office in Minneapolis. He’s busy, but he likes it that way.
“I’ve found that in life you should always be taking action,” he said. “You can take one path or another, and neither of them will be wrong, but ultimately you’re brought back to the place you’re supposed to be. And for me, that’s Minnesota.”
Binsfeld returned to Minnesota after spending nearly 20 years working in e-commerce marketing roles for a variety of companies throughout the U.S. and across the globe. He has also founded three startups, one of which he sold to a European company.
So after years of moving from one city to the next, why set up shop in St. Paul? Binsfeld admits that he didn’t know much about St. Paul’s startup scene before diving in, but felt compelled to stick up for the “little sister of Minneapolis.”
“St. Paul is exciting,” Binsfeld said. “I’d compare it to a little Berlin. It’s artsy, up-and-coming, and has a good, multicultural mix of people.”
As chapter director of Startup Grind St. Paul, Binsfeld hosts monthly fireside chats with Minnesota entrepreneurs. The meetups offer local founders the chance to connect and share their startup experiences.
Binsfeld said that he’s made some of his own Minnesota connections through the group. In particular, he’s started to get involved in the Twin Cities food startup scene, working with companies like Kindly Coffee and E&C’s Snacks.
“I love the Minnesota mentality… There’s just something that draws me back every time.”
Binsfeld is currently working on his own food startup, Brakfast, a breakfast subscription box filled with locally-sourced food that will (hopefully) encourage employees to eat healthier. The startup will also donate its breakfast boxes to local homeless shelters. He founded the company this year, and tested the boxes out at Twin Cities Startup Week in October.
After nearly two decades of bouncing from one country to the next, Binsfeld says that he’s “definitely” staying in Minnesota.
“I’ve had the experience of living abroad, and I know that I can always go back and visit,” he said. “And I love the Minnesota mentality. We’re kind. We’re honest. There’s just something about this place that draws me back every time.”