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As it has with nearly every aspect of life over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we experience art. With many galleries and performance venues closed or limiting in-person attendance, art organizations and artists across the Midwest are increasingly turning to technology to showcase their work safely and maintain relationships with…

The post Midwest art and music turn to technology to keep making fans—and money appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

Over the past twenty years, I’ve heard thousands of entrepreneurs present product ideas that will change the world in ways both small and large. In the end, only a tiny percent of these entrepreneurs are able to fulfill their vision for the product while meeting the customer’s needs. What sounds like a great idea upon first blush often ends up on the scrap heap of failed ideas. “Why,” you may ask, “does failure happen so frequently?”

The “valley of death” is a term used in the startup community to refer to the dreaded gap between the discovery of promising new technologies and the bringing to market of commercially viable new products based on those technologies. It is the badlands where risky and possibly disruptive tech goes to die.  Put more formally,…

The post UNeTech levels the playing field for high-risk, high-reward tech startups appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

Omaha startup Leash Pet Transportation was founded on the idea that, much like people, pets have places to be.  Whether it’s a session with a groomer, a day at doggy day care, or a trip to the veterinarian or a boarding facility, pet ownership can mean more errands, making humans feel like bona fide pet…

The post Leash Pet Transportation puts pets on the go appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

Great ideas are a dime a dozen. For example, living in the Boston/Cambridge area, we are surrounded by some of the most innovative researchers in the world working at institutions like MIT and Harvard. I’m pretty confident when I say, in Boston, hardly a day goes by when some graduate student or professor doesn’t invent a new product, discover a new molecule or create a cool app. Unfortunately, without a great team behind that new product, it’s doubtful that a great company will result.

An Omaha-based company using a data-driven approach to combat human trafficking recently raised funding to expand its crucially needed work to support law enforcement, victims and survivors of the practice.  HTI Labs,  a social enterprise corporation combating human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault through data-driven research and tech, has grown far larger than CEO…

The post HTI Labs fights human trafficking through research, technology, policy appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

Houston native Natalie Micale, CEO and co-founder of Lincoln-based marketing agency Oh Hello, attended the same performing arts high school as Beyoncé. We’re not sure whether that had anything to do with her drive to be successful, or her desire to inspire women to take the plunge and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, but it probably…

The post 8 Qs for a Silicon Prairie Founder: Natalie Micale, Oh Hello appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

Not every startup needs to raise $100 Million to scale their business and get to an exit. In today’s world, Unicorns are raising in chunks of $100 Million+ with valuations in excess of a billion dollars. And if you have nearly unlimited capital, a lot of problems seem surmountable. So more often the thinking is to go big or go home. Unfortunately, this approach only works for a small percentage of startup companies targeting absolutely massive markets.

The Lincoln-based, woman-led brand development and brand management agency Oh Hello recently won Best Web Design Agency in the Midwest from Corporate Vision Magazine’s Media Innovator Awards.  A panel of expert judges selected Oh Hello in recognition of the agency’s expertise in web design, dedication to customer service and client satisfaction. The award complements a…

The post Oh Hello wins web design award, strives to break marketing’s glass ceiling  appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

Syndicating a round is one of the trickier and more time-consuming angel undertakings. Knowing how to pull a good closing package together is one thing, but finding enough other investors to actually fill your syndicated round is another matter altogether. Not only do start-ups need money, but they need it quickly - the faster a company can fill its round, the faster it can get back to making hires, talking to customers and growing the business. Syndication is a straight-forward concept, but it has its subtle aspects.

This is a sponsored post by Mutual of Omaha. It was written by Annette Allen, technical solution architect. An underwriting supervisor, a UX designer, a sales compensation analyst, a business systems analyst and a customer service rep walk into a classroom. When they walk out, they’re software developers. It’s not a joke, but a reality…

The post Mutual of Omaha Finds IT Talent in Its Own Backyard appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

It’s been a wild year. A pandemic has squeezed the global economy while also spurring innovation and unique tech-based solutions.  Silicon Prairie News reached out to entrepreneurs, investors, business leaders and government officials across Nebraska to get their take on 2020 and see what trends they think we will see in 2021.  Answers below are…

The post Looking back, looking forward: The tech startup community’s predictions for 2021 appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

We have yet to meet anyone who wishes this year would last longer.  From COVID-19 to civil unrest to political and economic turmoil, 2020 brought us a number of challenges and tragedies beyond the scope of this article. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that December is almost over.  So while it might seem premature…

The post Is it over yet? A look back at 2020 in five must-read articles appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

This guest post written by Karen Borchert, COO of Flywheel, originally appeared in Medium. This March, I was planning to give a speech at SaaStr US, about how our company, Flywheel, built something big, right in the middle of Omaha, Nebraska. This week is my last week at Flywheel, and while the pandemic prevented me from…

The post Karen Borchert on Flywheel: Building something big, in the middle of somewhere small appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

The moment of truth has arrived: it is time to close the round. The deal lead and founders worked hard together to line up investors, negotiate terms, work through deal documents and disclosure schedules, and track down every last detail of cap tables. As usual it took longer than expected, everyone is exhausted and the company needs the money urgently to make long-postponed investments in growth.

This is an op-ed by Brian Waller, president of the Technology Association of Iowa, a statewide, member-based organization uniting Iowa’s technology community by connecting leaders, developing talent, driving public policy and fostering diversity and inclusion. Such cross-sector partnerships play a role in building the tech workforce and closing the skills gap that Midwestern businesses face…

The post Op-ed: Our digital recovery: how Iowa’s businesses will bounce back appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

On its own, a corn plant will pollinate itself: the golden tassels topping the slender green shoots that comprise nearly one-third of U.S. cropland naturally release pollen that fertilizes the silky portion of the plant below. This natural process is critical to the country’s number-one feed crop, but experts say fertilization must be facilitated to…

The post Corn pollinating drone technology earns Iowa City agtech firm $7.5 million investment appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

Experienced investors understand the important distinction between “selling” your company and having someone “buy” your company. It may sound like semantics, but there is a big difference in the price paid in these two scenarios. If you have to “sell” your company, you will be one of many companies that is reaching out to potential buyers. If someone decides to “buy” your company, they will initiate the conversation and are more likely to pay top dollar for your business.

Last night, members of Omaha’s tech and startup communities attended the first-ever virtual version of the AIM Tech Awards, a celebration of local innovators and changemakers in the technology sector.  A prerecorded ceremony streamed on a virtual stage, accompanied by a live chat constantly scrolling with affirmations, congratulations and commentary from attendees. Traditionally held in…

The post Virtual awards ceremony a first for Omaha’s tech community appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

We’ve published a fair amount about due diligence and being a deal lead. In those articles we talk a lot about the importance of having a good diligence report template to ensure the final report is useful to the reader. Here, for your reference, is our Impact Investing Due Diligence Report Template. It was developed and refined over years of performing diligence on hundreds of early stage companies.  We’ve combined our experiences with both impact and non-impact investments, and included emerging best practices from some of the leading thinkers in impact investing.

We’ve published a fair amount about due diligence and being a deal lead. In those articles we talk a lot about the importance of having a good diligence report template to ensure the final report is useful to the reader. Here, for your reference, is our Impact Investing Due Diligence Report Template. It was developed and refined over years of performing diligence on hundreds of early stage companies.  We’ve combined our experiences with both impact and non-impact investments, and included emerging best practices from some of the leading thinkers in impact investing.

When you are a mentor or board director to a company just finishing raising a round, it is tempting to take a breath and do a few high fives. But before you do, make sure someone has made the Form D filing with the federal and state securities regulators. This mandatory set of filings is very easy to do, but also very easy to forget.

Like a lot of entrepreneurs, Matt Dillon comes from a family of founders. Also, like a lot of entrepreneurs, he has a wide range of interests. In college, he majored in sports management, information systems, marketing, business and economics.  Possibly the only thing he didn’t study was acting. (That’s a different Matt Dillon.)  After starting…

The post PK acquires Nuvem Consulting in bid to expand Salesforce practice appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

The state of Nebraska needs skilled workers. Badly. University of Nebraska Provost Susan Fritz last year acknowledged that that state faces demand for 15,000 new workers in engineering and computer science alone by 2026. Speaking generally of the gap between supply and demand of skilled labor in early 2019, former NU president Hank Bounds called…

The post “Like driving an aircraft carrier”: developing skilled workers in Nebraska a major challenge appeared first on Silicon Prairie News.

As General Counsel and later, CFO, at IONA Technologies PLC, Christopher Mirabile gained a wide breadth of experience with mergers and acquisitions. Although this work was in a large company context, the insights he gained serve as a valuable lesson for smaller startups hoping to make it to the big leagues. Ultimately if you want to get acquired, there are really only two ways to do it.

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