5 Great Angel.Co Startups From Everywhere Else: Minnesota

A few weeks ago we started a series here on nibletz.com of startups from everywhere else that appear on the Angel List (angel.co). We get a weekly email from angel.co, and while they’ve been getting better, typically they are dominated by startups from Silicon Valley and New York. In our series we feature a handful of startups that appear on the list, that aren’t necessarily trending by angel list standards, but are growing as startups from “everywhere else”.

So for this installment we’re exploring five startups from Minnesota.

mashalot,hypespark,proliphiq,heroic,rockyourblock,minnesota startup,minneapolis startup,startups,startup,angel.coMashalot

Mashalot is a social shopping website. It combines the power and influence of Facebook, daily deals, group buying, and the “negotiator” concept from price line.

Late last year Mashalot co-founder John Marino told Minnesota’s Fox 9 that the more influence you have the better your negotiation will be. Marino explained that if you saw a great deal on something like a Black Friday deal or a Cyber Monday deal, you could take it to the merchant (if they are a member of Mashalot) and see if they’ll give you the product for that price. It’s up to the merchant to honor that price or not.

This is where your social influence comes in via Facebook. Naturally if you’re one of those people with thousands of friends on Facebook, the merchant may respond favorably because of your influence, and the fact that Mashalot will post your deal (with your permission) to Facebook.

Along the way you can earn badges and more influence the more you use the service.

They launched Mashalot on 11/11/11 and have since taken down the 1.0 site while they retweak it for a 2.0 launch.

Here’s their website

Follow them on the Angel List here



This Minneapolis startup has been hailed as the “E-harmony of home services” by local tech publication tech.mn basically it’s a mobile app and website to help you find the best person for that in home job.

Think Craigslist vs Angies List vs Zaarly vs a date or recommendation site.

The Heroic engine combines recommendations and referrals from a service providers previous clients along with friend recommendations to serve up the top list of people for a job. Things like painting, cutting the grass, gutter cleaning, basic carpentry and most in home jobs are all featured on Heroic.

Co-Founders Justin Barrett and Dan Linstroth know that people nowadays don’t have the time, to interview and weed through hundreds of possible people to do a job. They also know that if you bid a job out on Craigslist half of the respondents are in Nigeria.

With Heroic you can find service providers in your neighborhood that have good ratings and can get your job done on your time line.

Tech.mn reports that Heroic received a $600k seed round from a network of angels in the Minneapolis area. They are rolling out the service in Minneapolis, Denver and Chicago to start and hope to raise a Series A round in the not so distant future to expand into another five markets.

For more info visit their website
Here’s a tech.mn article on Heroic
Follow them on the Angel list 



Nothing is more effective for a business than word of mouth. When you combine word of mouth with the power of social media and the internet you’ve got a force to be reckoned with, if you execute correctly. Enter in Hypespark.

Hyperspark is a Minneapolis based startup that incubated at Project Skyway. The idea behind HypeSpark is phenomenal. Local businesses get great advertisement by social endorsement from loyal customers.  The local businesses get an endorsement every time the customer shares anything on the web. The customer gets big deals and discounts for being the businesses personal advertising vehicle.

On the surface HypeSpark is a short link service with a micro ad in front of it. Say Lori loved her local bike shop and her local bike shop was on HypeSpark. If Lori agrees to be their endorser, every time she shares a web site link, youtube video or any other url with her friends or social network a real quick micro ad for the bike shop shoes up saying that Lori endorses that company.

It’s kind of like bread with most of the work already done.

Check out HyperSpark here at their website
Here’s their incubator Project Skyway
Follow them on the Angel List 



I’m always looking for things to replace the pure bull crap that is Klout. I’ve found a really great social media filter in Friendsignia, and now I’ve found Minneapolis based Proliphiq, which offers incredible social media analytics, recommendations and information on social media, influence and content. I’m not sure if it’s free because they are still in beta but right now I can say that with all the social media dashboards I’ve checked out in the last two years, this one offers the most information I’ve ever seen for free.

When you go to Proliphiq’s website at Proliphiq.com you can search for a person by their name, social media identity or a topic.

Searching a name or social media identity will show you their recent posts across networks, content, and their influence on the topics they know the most about.  From there you can even add topics that you find that person is a valuable source on. Or, conversely you can give them a thumbs down. This crowd sourced rating is 10x better and more effective than the pulling numbers out of ones posterior end that Klout uses.

For topics you can find the most influential people for your topic and from there you can follow them and keep them in your feed to stay on top of information that’s relevant to you.

Finally you can tweak your own profile and tell the Proliphiq community what you’re all about.

Find out more about Proliphiq here at their website, and try it out
Follow Proliphiq on the Angel List 



Women owned startup RockYourBlock is the LinkedIn spot for teens. Teens in the twin cities can create a RockYourBlock profile via their Facebook account for the purpose of sourcing jobs for teens. These jobs can be odd jobs, paper routes, internships and other teen type jobs.

The site also allows the teens to create a resume based on the work experience they have along with any accolades that they’ve scored in the RockYourBlock network.

In regards to the creation of RockYourBlock, Founder Sarah Young told TechCocktail:

“Teen unemployment is at an all-time high right now across the nation, three times the national rate. The majority of people and companies want to help the next generation learn the value of hard work and responsibility in addition to create job opportunities for them but don’t know where to begin.”

Young’s strategy is to widen their reach to markets like Milwaukee and Chicago later this year and then expand nationwide in year three.
While there have been plenty of teen focused social networks this is the first time that teenagers have had a social network devoted to their lives in the work force. Hopefully they will create a way to export their RockYourBlock page to LinkedIn when the teen crosses over to the real world. This is a really innovative startup in a unique space.
Check out RockYourBlock here
Here’s a great article on RYB from our friends at the other TC 
Even though we do this because a lot of startups “everywhere else” don’t trend on Angel.co check out this story, if you’re not on it get on it.
Nibletz is the voice of startups “everywhere else” here are more stories from “everywhere else”
We’re in the homestretch here and could really use your help click here and watch the video below:

Minneapolis Startup: Brain Hive To Offer E-Book Rentals For K-12

A Minneapolis startup called Brain Hive is looking to solve a problem for school libraries across the country. That problem, is access to books. With such a diverse taste in content in American public schools, school libraries often fall short in fulfilling student requests for books.

With the wide adoption of tablets and e-books Brain Hive has come up with a solution. Brain Hive has developed a platform that allows students to rent books from their digital library as a supplement to their schools actual library.

The Brain Hive service will offer traditional e-books, non fiction books, graphic novels and books curated by school librarians and administrators. Through the schools portal into the Brain Hive system, librarians and administrators can determine which content is age appropriate, set limitations on numbers of rentals at a time per student, and decide to offer titles around the current curriculum.

More after the break
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Minneapolis Startup: CribFrog Is A Social Network For Neighbors

Have you ever lived in an apartment building or community? I have, and I’m sure if you’re like me than you probably know maybe one or two neighbors. Perhaps you recognize a few faces at the pool, the gym or on community day, but besides that you don’t know who lives next to you, above you or under you. Well Minneapolis startup CribFrog is hoping to change that.

Right now they are beta testing under closed beta, but when they debut to the public it will be in the form of closed social networks based on apartment and other housing communities. It will be a great way for neighbors to get to know each other.

For some reason people don’t talk to each other theses days without a social networking ice breaker. I’ve actually met about 15 people from my local community just be using the “near by” tab on Google+. A few have been following me on Twitter for years.

We got a chance to interview CribFrog’s founder Alex Reilly. While some may feel that face to face communication is best, and it is, CribFrog will facilitate face to face meet ups, outings and new friendships in ways people haven’t seen in the past.  Check out the interview, below the break.

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Startup Spotlight: Minnesota’s Altsie A New Way To Watch Indie Films

altsie, startups, startup, minneapolis, twin cities

Nibletz takes pride in being the startup voie for “Everywhere Else” as such we love bringing you stories about startups from everywhere under the sun, especially startups that are doing something uniquely different and uniquely fun. Altsie is one of those startups.

Altsie hails from the Twin Cities. It’s about socially mixing indie films, but not online, offline. How’s that for a change. Of course you use a website to find out where to go but after that it’s a fully immersive experience with you, the movie, the venue and the attendees.

Lucas Rayala and co-founder Joe Dolson launched Altsie in the twin cities with plans to refine the experience and then roll it out at other areas across the country, but what is it exactly?

Here’s how it works. You go to the Altsie website which will tell you what the current movie is for that month. Rayala curates the movies himself through relationships with indie film producers. They then partner with a venue which agrees to host the film. It could be a sports bar that’s trying something different for a night or a coffee shop or anywhere in between.

More after the break
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Minnesota Tech Startups Gopher Angels Is Looking For You (Real Soon)

A new group of Angels is putting the finishing touches on their website, business and an event to kick off their new fund. Gopher Angels is holding an invite only event for seed stage tech startups on May 3, 2012 at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management.

Gopher Angels is currently pre-screening startups to see if they have what it takes to get funding from the group. Interested startups should visit this link to check out Gopher Angels and submit their best idea.

More after the break
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