Twin Cities Startup Week 2021 Twin Cities Startup Week 2021
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Launch Minnesota: "Ask the Board Anything"

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Rick Huebsch
University of MN's Technology Commercialization, Executive Director

Rick Huebsch is Executive Director for the University of Minnesota’s Technology Commercialization team, which is responsible for all facets of technology transfer including IP protection, marketing, licensing, and startups through the Venture Center. He has been with the University of Minnesota for over 11 years in business development and management capacities. Rick joined the University after 20 years of software industry experience including roles in software engineering, technology strategy, and executive management with Minnesota and California software companies.

Aneela Idnani
HabitAware, CoFounder

Aneela Idnani is Cofounder & President of HabitAware. HabitAware’s smart bracelet, Keen, retrains the brain from unwanted body focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs) to healthier ones. Ashamed, Aneela grew up hiding her hair pulling disorder (a BFRB) and is now an outspoken mental health advocate, raising awareness of these very common yet unknown conditions. HabitAware is a HAX and Backstage Capital company and holds research grants from the NIH & NSF. HabitAware’s innovation was featured in TIME Magazine (2018 Best Invention), BuzzFeed, SELF Magazine, The Washington Post and Prevention Magazine.

Adam Choe
Yonder, CEO

CEO and Co-Founder of Yonder, a startup focused on making healthcare less scary for kids and health education more accessible. Entrepreneur in Residence at Lunar Startups.

Lindsey Hillesheim
ATP - Bio I Skylark Science, Director of Strategic Partners & Innovation at ATP-Bio | Principal at Skylark Science

I bring an experimental attitude and aptitude to everything I do. Through my experiences below, I have learned how to create cultures where smart people solve hard problems that have significant impacts in our world. I am a widely read, systems thinker, with a knack for synthesizing disparate trends to figure out what should be done now and in the future. I am also an expert people herder. Current & previous roles include:

  • Currently I am Director of Strategic Partners & Innovation at ATP-Bio, an NSF funded research center, focused on stopping biological time and radically extending biopreservation times. 
  • I also run Skylark Science, a consulting service helping seed, early stage, or emerging businesses develop and implement their R&D strategy and pursue federal (non-dilutive) funding opportunities.
  • At Cray (then Hewlett Packard Enterprise), I led solution development efforts focused on applications at the convergence of artificial intelligence and high performance computing. 
  • I developed and executed Adventium Labs’ business development strategy, netting over $30M in federal research & development funding in the areas of cyber physical systems engineering & AI.
  • At DARPA, I helped pitch and lead programs (totaling $70M) ranging from quantum biology to medical devices, to material science. 
  • As a Policy Advisor at the U.S. State Department, she led and coordinated 6 U.S. agencies, 8 countries, and 4 international organizations to design and execute a first of its kind exercise for the Group of Eight (G8, now G7 because Russia got kicked out).
  • PhD in Physics (biophysics focus) from UMN.
Dave Hengel
Greater Bemidji, Executive Director
Christine Beech
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, Executive Director of the Kabara Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies

Christine’s business, teaching, research, and consulting experience are in the areas of entrepreneurship, strategic management, leadership development, contract management, succession planning, social entrepreneurship, and small business management. 

In addition to her role as Executive Director of the Kabara Institute, Christine holds the position of Assistant Professor in the Business Department at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota where she teaches classes in entrepreneurship. 

Christine is also the owner of Copiavia, a firm dedicated to providing strategic planning and revenue generation support to nonprofits. 

Xavier Frigola
Mayo Clinic, Corporate Venture Capital

Xavier Frigola re-joined Mayo Clinic in 2020, in the institutional investment and endowment management group, where he works on the venture capital portfolio and Mayo's corporate venture capital fund (Co-investment Fund). Before that, Xavier was the Director of Entrepreneurship for Rochester Area Economic Development Inc. (RAEDI), where he managed a biotechnology incubator and helped entrepreneurs in the initial phases of company planning, launch and first rounds of founding. At RAEDI Xavier also managed two early-stage venture funds: a public seed investment fund for companies based in Rochester and a private angel fund. Xavier holds a Ph.D. in immunology and a master’s in business administration.

Neela Mollgaard
Launch Minnesota, Executive Director

Neela Mollgaard, Executive Director of Launch Minnesota, is working to create an environment to support entrepreneurs and nurture tech startups with a goal of fostering an innovation ecosystem across the state that draws global attention, talent, and capital.
 
Launch Minnesota, started in 2019, is spearheaded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) in partnership with a statewide advisory board and private sector stakeholders.
 
Neela’s career has involved bringing people together to create change. She has been a leader and facilitator of innovation across organizations and communities. Most recently, she served as a founder of the nonprofit Red Wing Ignite which supports entrepreneurs, businesses, and students to succeed in the 21st-century economy. By forging partnerships with government, academic, corporate, and community partners, Red Wing Ignite developed an innovative ecosystem model that garnered national attention.

She has served in a variety of leadership roles with local organizations and nonprofits. She is a former member of the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband, and founder and chair of Women Cents, a nonprofit that supports children and families. Neela was named in Twin Cities Business Magazine’s “TCB 100: The People to Know in 2020.”

Ashley Lowes
Target, Communications Lead

Ashley leads communications for Target’s technology, data sciences, and cybersecurity team. She partners with Target’s chief information officer and team leadership to bolster Target's technology and engineering reputation. Ashley joined Target and moved to the Twin Cities in 2020 following several years overseeing communications and marketing for JetBlue Technology Ventures, JetBlue Airways’ venture capital arm in Silicon Valley. Ashley is also on the board of the Glen Nelson Center, an arm of American Public Media Group that invests in and partners with emerging media and journalism startups.

Jodi Hubler
Advisory Board Member, Board Chair Launch MN

Jodi Hubler is a board director, investor and executive best known for accelerating company growth and building enviable shareholder value.  Throughout her career she has pioneered innovation and disruptive strategies that have differentiated and transformed businesses, markets and performance at all levels in global Fortune 100, private, and start-up companies across multi-industry domains.  

Hubler currently serves on several private, non-profit and advisory boards including Minnesota based Central Logic, Marani Health and Omcare, Caring Bridge (Chair), Medical Alley Association (Vice Chair) and State of Minnesota’s LaunchMN Advisory Board (Inaugural Chair).  She previously served as a board director or chair of more than a dozen venture and private equity backed health care companies, particularly as the CEO and Managing Director of Lemhi Ventures a $385M health care service venture capital firm. This work has included more than 50 financing rounds ranging from de novo startups to late-stage investment, resulting in job creation in the thousands and total value creation in the multiple billions.   Her companies have redefined healthcare and payment models and have been acquired by some of the largest leaders in the sector.

She has held executive positions in both public and private companies, including Cargill, Alcoa, Definity Health, Lemhi Ventures and Bind Benefits.  She is especially adept at leading and governing in industries facing transformative change, drawing on her experience across global organizations and multi-industry domains.  

Hubler is a frequent speaker and panelist at health care industry events as well as events focused on empowering woman leaders and entrepreneurs.  Her unique experiences, business model creativity, thought leadership and track record have earned her many accolades, including being named to the 500 Most Powerful Minnesota Business Leaders, a Women in Business honoree and a TCB Top 100 to Know in 2021.


Launch Minnesota is proud to present "Ask the Board Anything" with the Launch Minnesota Advisory Board members.

Launch Minnesota empowers and elevates Minnesota’s innovation ecosystem. We connect, convene, and catalyze efforts to support entrepreneurs statewide by bringing together public and private organizations from diverse sectors and industries. Join this session to learn the insight and perspective from our board members who represent founders, investors, higher education, corporate and entrepreneurial support organizations.