I used to write a monthly update post about the various projects that I’ve been working on. I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing it lately, but since I’m on vacation this week, I thought I would write an “update post” in lieu of the weekly videos that I have been doing this year. We’ve had some great growth at MarketBeat this year. I’ve launched a new project called Startup Sioux Falls. And, I’ve got a couple more tricks up my sleeve for the rest of the year that may be of interest as well.
Here are some things that are going on that you might find interesting if you follow my work:
Startup Community Leadership
This has been a fantastic year for entrepreneurship in Sioux Falls. Zeal’s new executive director, Brienne Maner, started a couple of weeks back. I had the opportunity to serve on the search committee that was responsible for hiring Brienne and I’m very excited about the work she has already done in the first couple of weeks on the job. Brienne will help move Zeal in the direction of being an organization driven by community, programming, and events that our board hopes it will become. Zeal is also developing volunteer committees to work on marketing, finance, building occupancy, and other topics. I’m more excited about Zeal’s future now than at any point in recent history.
The other big startup project that I’ve been working on this year is Startup Sioux Falls, which is a website that’s designed to serve as a digital hub for entrepreneurship in our community. The initial project of Startup Sioux Falls is to interview every organization in the Sioux Falls startup ecosystem and write about what they do. We also have launched a podcast, called Sioux Falls Startup Stories, designed to tell the stories of the business owners in the Sioux Falls area. I’m not 100% sure where Startup Sioux Falls will go after the end of the year, but I do eventually hope that Zeal can take it over and graft it into their organizational model.
1 Million Cups continues to chug along as well. We moved to the Museum of Visual Materials at the first of the year. We like the space and have really enjoyed working with their team. In the month of June and July, we’ll be featuring restaurateurs and local business owners. You can view upcoming dates on Facebook here.
Falls Angel Fund (and its successor)
Falls Angel Fund wrapped up earlier this year, making its final two investments in Nano Pareil and Queryi.AI, We are beginning to have conversations with investors about the interest and feasibility for a second fund. There’s not really anything to announce today, but we are hoping to spin up a second fund during the second half of this year. I am hoping we’ll be ready to hear pitches in late 2019.
Growing Faith Baptist West
Last year, our church raised $750,000 to launch a new campus on the west side of Sioux Falls. We were able to launch last September in our location at 26th and Tea-Ellis Road. We started out with a team of about 70 people to launch the west campus. Our average attendance has hovered between 120 and 140 in the last month and we will be launching a second service in September to make room for everyone that wants to attend. We have four years remaining on our lease, so in the next year we’ll begin to think about “what’s next” for our west-side congregation. We could stay put in our current location, try to expand our current facility into the open ground next to our building, or look to buy land and build a building that we own. It’s too early to tell what direction we’ll end up, but I’m excited to see where God takes us.
MarketBeat’s 2019 expansion.
Last month, MarketBeat crossed the 1 million subscriber mark. To handle this growth, we’ve brought on Maureen Ohm to serve as a second customer success manager. She becomes employee number 7 of MarketBeat, following Will Bushee and Ryan Quam who joined MarketBeat at the end of last year. I do not currently foresee any additional hires in 2019, but we have developed a good working relationship with Kristi Wire, a freelance graphic designer that is currently in the process of redesigning the MarketBeat website.
MarketBeat’s biggest project this year so far has been The Early Bird, a new 7:00 AM newsletter that provides the top stories that are likely to impact the market each day. You can register for the newsletter at earlybirdpublishing.com. Our next big project will be to revamp the company profiles section of the MarketBeat website, which allows investors to perform in-depth research and analysis on any publicly traded company. We’ll also roll out a big visual refresh of the MarketBeat website and brand later this year.
My wife and I were able to go to Sanibel Island in Florida after school was out for the summer for a week. I have made an intentional decision to prevent this from becoming a “workcation” by deleting Gmail from my phone and putting slack on do-not-disturb for the whole week. Later this summer, we’ll spend a few days in Las Vegas and I might take Micah to the Black Hills to see Mt. Rushmore for the first time. We’ll also be back in Las Vegas in October for Rhodium Weekend and I will likely head up to Northern Minnesota in November for the Emerging Prairie Founder’s Retreat.
Micah and Ady are both growing like weeds. Micah has completed Kindergarten and will be back at Discovery Elementary in the fall for First Grade. We’ve been thrilled that Ady is walking more consistently now and she had the opportunity to attend the last month of Early Childhood at Pettigrew Elementary in April and May. She’ll be starting up preschool again in the Fall.
Often people ask me, “What’s next?” I don’t have anything to announce today, but I have at least one more sizable endeavor I’ll be starting this fall. It has nothing to do with MarketBeat, angel investing, startups or entrepreneurship, so keep an eye on my blog to learn more about it when I’m able to announce it.
That’s about it for now!