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👋Hi everyone, I’m Brad. You can find me on twitter @braddwyer.

I live in Des Moines and am the founder of Roboflow, a company working at the intersection of AR & AI (I’ll share more info soon; launching our next product later this month!)

Previously I founded a company called Hatchlings that makes social games.


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    I’m Ben. You can find me on twitter @bpmilne.

    I spend most of my time building Dwolla and think a lot about building community through projects like Monetery.

    Brad suggested a Middlebit tag so I went ahead and added one and changed the tag for this post. Let me know if that’s what you were thinking, Brad :)

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      Hey everyone, I’m Eric. You can find me on twitter @ekhornung

      I live in Cincinnati and am the co-host of upside, a podcast about startup investing outside Silicon Valley. My full-time job is in NYC but I mostly work remotely.

      Really excited about this site.

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        Just added Upside to my podcast rotation. Looking forward to staying tunned!

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          love that! thanks for tuning in, Nico

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          Hope you’ll post future episodes as they are recorded!

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            seems like something that is frowned upon on HN, so I haven’t posted any yet. I think something like a “podcast” tag here might encourage people to post more episodes and allow people to block that tag if they aren’t into it. Unless that’s the point of Creative Corridor?

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              I wouldn’t hesitate to tag it with Creative Corridor or other cities if the podcast is relevant to them. To your point, I think you’re finding people coming together in an effort to discover more things like your podcast so things will evolve a little differently. When you submit a story (link) you can also opt into being the author. Folks can also filter it out if they want to.

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            Hey Eric! Checking out the podcast now… I’m a Cincinnati native so I’ll hit you up next time I’m home!

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              Awesome! Definitely feel free to send over any feedback and connect when you’re back in town at eric at upside dot fm

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            Hi Middlebit, I’m Nico. Find me on Twitter @nicagular.

            I was born and raised in Iowa and now live in Chicago where I run Speeko. We’re an AI-powered mobile app that coaches you on your public speaking. Our mission is to democratize access to learning this life-changing skill.

            I became interested in entrepreneurship after participating in local Startup Weekend events and meeting awesome folks through the 1MC network. I hope to get further involved with community-building and supporting fellow founders.

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              🙋‍♂️Josh here from Iowa City. I’m jhkrak in all of the places.

              Run a B2B social & digital agency called Sculpt. Been involved in our startup community here in ICR for past 8 years and really proud of what’s going on.

              The Startup Iowa FB Group is a great network, but this UX is familiar for many and can be really powerful for amplification. Look forward to seeing it grow. Nice to try something different.

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                Nice to see ya here :) Thanks for kicking the tires!

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                  Hey Josh! Been a while since we met back in 2014 at Startup Weekend!

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                    Yeah no kid! You were a memorable facilitator and did a great job. It’s been cool to watch your consulting / content take off.

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                  Hello! I’m Jay, and I’m from Iowa City. Find me on Twitter at @jaycarlcooper.

                  I’ve cofounded a couple of startups, BondingBox and Cider Finder. BondingBox is going through a pivot from purely a subscription box date night service to a clearinghouse of all things date night-related. Cider Finder begins a closed beta test in October, so if you like trying new and different hard ciders and potentially buggy software, sign up for the beta test list today!

                  I also help organize Startup Weekend Iowa City, 1 Million Cups Iowa City, and Iowa City Open Coffee.

                  Thanks for letting me take part in testing this new platform. I’m looking forward to seeing how this grows!

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                    Thanks for posting! Hard to imagine the tech landscape in this region without 1MC. Do you think we should invite some others who run the event in other communities? Thanks for giving the site a whirl.

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                      +1 on inviting 1 Million Cups organizers. That’s how I keep up with things as an organizer. And how I’ve gotten to connect with great people like Jay!

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                        We definitely should invite organizers of the other 1MC sites. We’re usually the earliest of early adopters. Let me know if you’d like any specific recommendations.

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                          Head to your [Settings}(“https://middlebit.com/settings”) and Invite a New User - Once you’re in everyone should be able to invite new folks.

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                      Hey hey, I’m Connor. You can find me @connor. I’m based in Kansas City and have been working with Pinterest for the past 7 years as a full-stack product engineer. I spent ~8 years in SF/NYC before moving (back) to KC last spring (my wife and I both grew up here).

                      Prior to dropping out of SLU to join Pinterest, I helped start what is now Coach.me and spent a summer at Apple. I hack on Domainr as time permits.

                      I’m into cycling, cities and music. Also, a new dad! My boy is 3 weeks old.

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                        Hey Connor! Good to see you.

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                          Congrats on the baby Connor! Looking forward to meeting you… We’re in the nbkc program right now.

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                            Ah, nice! I’ll be around NBKC here in a bit. Give Zach & Megan a high five for me in the mean time :)

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                          Hey everyone! I’m @mattaespinoza on Twitter and most social media.

                          Currently Based (Born and raised) in San Antonio, Texas. Spend a lot of my time focused on CityBusinessCalendars , a city resource in multiple cities that lists upcoming networking and business events happening this week (About to launch in 20 cities - mostly been focused in Texas).

                          Alongside that I find myself actively engaged in the startup/tech communities that a lot of us are probably familiar with: Startup Weekend (facilitator), Startup Week (one of the main organizers), 1 Million Cups, Startup Grind Director, and tons of other community focused events! I look forward to connecting with you all!

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                            Startup Grind is new to me (or I’m flaking), can you share a bit more about that?

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                              It’s another city/chapter-based program designed to put on events to help founders (panels, round-tables, networking, etc). Founded by Derek Andersen.

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                                Mind posting / sharing some of those future events as they occur?

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                                  You bet

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                            Hi all!

                            I’m Jeff! I’m at @slobotski on Twitter.

                            Working to raise the visibility of and connect the dots within the Midwest via Router Ventures and a few other projects.

                            Previously involved in building Silicon Prairie News and Big Omaha.

                            Looking forward to seeing this take off!

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                              Hey, Sibi from Minneapolis! Been building products and companies since I was a kid.

                              Worked in enterprise and consumer growth, venture, accelerators/incubators and now advising a few early stage startups across the U.S., thinking of what I want to do next.

                              Twitter is @sibix3 and if you’re in town, let me know so we can grab coffee!

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                                Sam from Rochester, MN. Co-founding SkyWorks to improve commercial real estate deal flow.

                                I’m on twitter @sambarsness. Looking forward to connecting with everyone!

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                                  👋 Hey guys, I’m Jay. I’m @jayclouse on twitter and everywhere really.

                                  I live in Columbus and am the other co-host of upside with @ekhornung over there.

                                  I have a portfolio of projects going on from my online community + accelerator Unreal Collective to online courses about freelancing and so on.

                                  It’s been a pleasure talking with 60+ cities on the podcast, and it’s because I get to meet folks like you 🙏

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                                    Howdy from Sioux Falls, South Dakota! Find me @johntmeyer on Twitter.

                                    I’m Co-Founder of a design agency called Lemonly. We design clarity through infographics and visual stories.

                                    Very involved in building the startup community of Sioux Falls. Started 1 Million Cups Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls Startup Weekend, and an annual award show we do called Hey Sioux Falls. Come visit us in the 605!

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                                      Sioux Falls is somewhere we haven’t ventured yet on upside. Would love to get some recommendations for pre-series A companies for the show

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                                        You bet @ekhornung. Specific industry or type of company you interview?

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                                          for founders: pre-Series A, industry agnostic, prefer founders with unique back stories / backgrounds.

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                                      Chiming in on a hello, I’m Diana! I live in Des Moines, and work in Ames @ Iowa State University. I have the fun opportunity to help lead many of the entrepreneurship programs for the university, including a 11-week student accelerator program called CYstarters.

                                      Other hats I currently wear in this community: 1 Million Cups Ames/Startup Ames + FIN Capital (Iowa’s first women’s angel investing network)

                                      Love to connect, and am interested in helping businesses grow in Iowa + beyond! https://twitter.com/InkedByDW

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                                        Hi everybody! I’m Steph, you can find me @stephstartingup. I’m based in Minneapolis and recently launched Starting Up North, a publication aimed at telling the stories of startups, investors and innovators in Minnesota. I’m experimenting with long-form content right now and trying to figure out the next step for the publication so would love opinions!

                                        I’m super passionate about growing the scene here in MN and surrounding areas and love making connections for people. I’m also currently the Mentor-in-Residence with Techstars Farm-to-Fork Accelerator in St. Paul, MN. Previously I helped grow Particle and launch Omnia Fishing.

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                                          Awesome to see this!!!

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                                          Howdy, I’m Casey Allen. My handle is super clever.

                                          I hail from Minneapolis but consider everyone from the Midwest to be my peeps.

                                          I did 5 profitable, successful startups myself but I was too undisciplined to get them to exit. I beat myself up mercilessly for this. This is also what drives me to help as many founders as I can today.

                                          Did the accelerator thing, did the seed fund thing, invested in 14 startups, now run a startup conference startup conference every year in Minneapolis that is focused 100% on the Midwest. Ben, the creator of this site, was gracious enough to speak at my last one and he was pure magic.

                                          Have the gratuitous podcast where I swear a lot and spill all about the Minnesota tech startup scene.

                                          I can be most helpful to anyone that has questions about cofounders, raising money, launching any sort of program to help founders (since I’ve likely done it), coworking spaces, and angel investing.

                                          DM me for any reason, happy to help.


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                                            nice to meet you Casey, this is awesome!

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                                              likewise! did my spreadsheet list of potential guests help?

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                                            I’m Nick. twitter @nickseguin.

                                            Currently living in Chicago. Columbus is home, and spent several years in KC.

                                            Now: giving everyone tools for healthy sleep and top performance @Rise Science Past: CoverMyMeds, UP Global (Startup Weekend), Kauffman Foundation, Dynamit

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                                              Hey Nick. Awesome background. How often do you get back to Ohio?

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                                                Not very often these days.

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                                              Lindsay here from Chicago Ventures, a seed stage venture capital firm in Chicago, and a midwesterner for the last 35 years.

                                              I’m also the founder of Chicago Blend, a collaborative effort of Chicago’s local VCs to track, support + increase diversity, equity and inclusion at our firms and the companies we invest in.

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                                                Hi Lindsay! Would love to connect. New VC down here in St. Louis and I’m a fan of your portfolio!

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                                                Hi, I’m Anthony (@anthonystrike). I founded SteadiPay, which we recently pivoted to simplify cash management for small businesses.

                                                We’re based in LA. I know, I know… LA’s not “no-coast”, but our startup community feels a lot more like Salt Lake, Kansas City, or Atlanta than NY or SF.

                                                Looking forward to learning more about what everyone is doing!

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                                                  Any chance you’ve run into David Sherry (another Ohio native interested in fintech) out there in LA?

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                                                    No, haven’t crossed paths with him but will have to look him up! Or if you want to make the intro you can send to anthony at steadipay dot com

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                                                  👋🏼 I’m Lee. You can find me @leeerob.

                                                  I’m a front-end developer, writer, and videographer. By day, I work as an engineer at Hy-Vee. Outside of work, I run my own technical blog where I talk mostly about front-end dev topics including JAMstack (JavaScript, APIs, Markup) and design (UI/UX & design systems).

                                                  For the other Des Moines folks - I’ll be at Prairie Code as well as the Iowa Tech Summit if you wanna meet up!

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                                                    Any chance you’d be willing to share a story about those? A number of people here probably don’t know what they are!

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                                                      About JAMstack and/or design systems? That actually ties into some feedback I was meaning to ask about the site.

                                                      What stuff would you not post here? Does it have to be related to no-coast communities? Could it simply be technical topics written by no-coast authors? What things would you instead post to Hacker News? What’s the overlap?

                                                      For example: This is a great resource to under JAMstack, but I’m not sure if that’s considered on topic.

                                                      Here’s my guess. As the community grows, it will align closer to Hacker News, but with an emphasis on no-coast. All topics are fair game, but the difference between this and Hacker News would be the community aspect (knowing their location, who invited them).

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                                                        I’d use the tags as a guide initially. If you don’t feel you can use a tag you can always decide on Show Middlebit, Ask Middblebit, or META. If you think it’s too much of a stretch it probably is.

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                                                    I’m Amber Christian, founder of Wonderly Software Solutions, builder of Bella Scena. We help you go from deliberate done with your top priorities through our unified calendar, to do management, and meeting tracking application. Just beta launched August 2019.

                                                    I’m a kid off a farm from western MN that now lives in beautiful Minneapolis. Been in tech for the last 20 years, building a SAAS company the last two. You can find me on Twitter at @beingwonderly

                                                    Super interested in meeting others from the midwest as well, and look forward to being part of this.

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                                                      Howdy, world - I’m Steven. You can find me on all things social @staviebrock.

                                                      My head is down building FarmlandFinder… we’re on a mission to make land sales simple, instant & online.

                                                      I’m a 5th generation farm kid from rural NW Iowa & am working to make Des Moines home. Stoked to see how the community shapes this site.

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                                                        Are most farm sales not done via some sort of portal now?

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                                                          2/3 are DIY private sales & 1/3 done by brokers… there’s no MLS for farmland & no current online aggregator sites like Trulia or Zillow. Hoping to change that.

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                                                            That’s kind of wild to me as agricultural land is the largest US land type. love the graphics in here: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-us-land-use/

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                                                        Hey, I’m Mark in Columbus, Ohio - @mark_doyle_ftw

                                                        I’m focused on MailJive, a B2B SaaS platform that automatically builds a searchable knowledge database as your employees communicate over Slack and email.

                                                        I’m a software contractor, using Microsoft web, database, and cloud technologies, and I’m also an organizer with 1 Million Cups Columbus.

                                                        Thanks for having me here!

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                                                          Hi everyone! 👋🏼

                                                          I’m Greg. You can find me on twitter @denimceo.

                                                          I spend my time building Denim in Des Moines and thinking about how to make marketing personal, at scale.

                                                          I also created and host the Denim Rivet podcast and the Denim Summit conference.

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                                                            I’m Tony. I’m @tonybibbs on Twitter. I focus on helping companies collaborate better using GForge. Located in the Des Moines metro.

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                                                              Hey ya’ll 👋 I’m Bryan. I’m originally from Iowa but now live in Minneapolis. You can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

                                                              I am a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Aha! — the world’s #1 roadmap software. Previously, I established the product management discipline at Banno (the Cedar Falls-based fintech startup that was acquired by Jack Henry & Associates) before moving over to lead product marketing.

                                                              Outside of work you will find me hanging with my kiddos, running through the woods, and screaming in a hardcore band. 😀

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                                                                Hey, I’m Melissa. I’m at the Kauffman Foundation, launching the Heartland Strategy, a new focus on supporting startups and ecosystems in KS, MO, NE and IA. Past stuff: Mid-America Angels/ECJC and #1MC.

                                                                I’m a #KC lifer and public policy geek. I’ll be traveling around the Heartland for the next couple of months, so if you want to hang out, you can find me on Twitter at @msmeliss2024. Would love to grab a beer in Omaha, Des Moines, Iowa City and St. Louis with anyone who’s up to it.

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                                                                  Hit me up when you make your way to St. Louis! My email is lucas@dreampact.com

                                                                2. 2

                                                                  Hi, I’m Lucas.

                                                                  I live in St. Louis and am the managing director of a venture partnership called Dreampact Ventures. My background is in finance and I recently moved back to the Midwest from JPMorgan Chase in New York. The rest of my partners were former C-Suite execs at Anheuser-Busch.

                                                                  I’m from Southern Illinois (shoutout to the Altamont / Effingham area!) and couldn’t be more excited to be investing in the Midwest. Looking forward to connecting!

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                                                                    Hi all - Startup Grind is hosting an event in Austin tonight: https://www.startupgrind.com/events/details/startup-grind-austin-presents-welcome-ryan-merket-partner-at-firebrand-ventures/#/

                                                                    (Sorry for the late notice… just checked their site for the first time in a while)

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                                                                      👋Hi, I’m Kelley

                                                                      I live in Nashville, Tennessee, and I’m a new mom. I started Southern/Alpha with the goal to share a comprehensive guide to startups in the South.

                                                                      I’m always looking for CEOs and founders to interview for a newsletter I started called LaunchLetter. It’s a short morning Q/A on daily habits written to an audience of young people just getting started.

                                                                      Love the site.