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By All Means

Twin Cities Business

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Followers
4
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By All Means

By All Means

Twin Cities Business

1
Followers
4
Plays
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Innovation. Drive. Purpose. Conversations with the entrepreneurs and leaders behind some of Minnesota's most beloved and enterprising brands.

Latest Episodes

Abilitech Founder + CEO Angie Conley

Abilitech Medical is on the brink of launching the first-of-its-kind wearable assistive device that makes it possible for patients with upper-limb weakness or injury to use their arms for everyday activities. “This is my imprint on the world,” says founder Angie Conley. Even before the Abiliitech Assist device becomes widely available through hospitals and clinics, it has already won numerous awards including the Tekne Award for innovation from the Minnesota High Tech Association and the Grand Prize and Top Woman-led Business at the Minnesota Cup, which is the largest state-led business competition. Abilitech has also been recognized as a Top 20 Medical Device Startup You Need to Know by MassDevice magazine; and a Top Promising Life Science Company by Rice University. So far Conley has raised $12 million, primarily in equity funding. Abilitech is Conley’s first startup, but years of experience in the medical device industry prepared her for the challenge. Following several years as a senior product marketing manager for Medtronic and a medical device marketing consultant, Conley took on the executive director role at Magic Arms, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit that works to help children with orphan medical conditions including muscular dystrophy. It exposed her to the need for an assistive device, and she quickly realized it would take more money than a nonprofit could raise to solve it. “The mission is what carries you through,” Conley says. The opportunity is significant: Abilitech’s initial market of multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy patients with enough hand function to operate the device is around $2 billion; Conley has her sights set on the stroke rehab market, which she says pegs at $30 billion. “It’s an exciting opportunity to fill an unmet need and change the lives not just of patients but their caregivers,” Conley says. After our conversation with Conley, we go Back to the Classroom with University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. Dan McLaughlin, director of the Center for Innovation in the Business of Health Care at Opus discusses the med tech innovation happening beyond computers, in the area of motors and sensors. Emerging technology is an area of particular interest at St. Thomas. “That’s the best part of health care,” McLaughlin says. “You get to make those human connections and really change people’s lives.”

55 minJUL 15
Comments
Abilitech Founder + CEO Angie Conley

Xena Therapies Founder and CEO Tammy Lee

Tammy Lee launched a line of wearable cool therapy medical devices in February, 2020, and one month later, she had to shut down her new company due to Covid-19. It wasn’t the start she dreamed of for Xena Therapies. But then, Lee’s entire career is built on unexpected turns. Lee studied journalism and political science and landed a job as a Washington D.C. news correspondent. She crossed over to politics to become press secretary for then U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan, a “prairie populist” from North Dakota. “I loved helping to influence public policy.” In 2006, she ran for U.S. Representative of Minnesota’s fifth district and lost. “The way I ran that campaign opened the door to the next great opportunity.” Lee was hired by Northwest Airlines to oversee communications during the Northwest-Delta merger. Then after vice president roles with the University of Minnesota Foundation and Carlson, Lee was recruited for the role that changed her career trajectory. Recombinetics, a St. ...

48 minJUL 2
Comments
Xena Therapies Founder and CEO Tammy Lee

HabitAware Co-Founders Aneela and Sameer Kumar

Aneela Idnani Kumar started pulling out hair from her eyebrows and eyelashes when she was a girl. In her early 20s, she Googled her secret habit and discovered it had a name: trichotillomania. An estimated one in 20 Americans suffer from what Aneela calls “the most common disorder you’ve never heard of.” In 2013, she finally revealed her struggle to her husband Sameer Kumar and together, they set out to find a solution—something that would alert Aneela when she started to reach for her eyebrows. They tried bangles; they created slap bracelets with craft store supplies. “We knew we needed something that would detect movement in hands,” Sameer says. Armed with that conviction, the couple entered a Minneapolis hackathon, where they met their chief technology officer and lead hardware engineer. Within 48 hours, they had the foundation for what would become HabitAware’s innovative product, the Keen, a behavior alert bracelet that sends vibrations when it detects movement. That awa...

48 minMAY 20
Comments
HabitAware Co-Founders Aneela and Sameer Kumar

Check In: Anytime Fitness CEO Chuck Runyon

“We do not want to go back to being the way we were,” says Chuck Runyon, co-founder and CEO of Self Esteem Brands, the parent company to Anytime Fitness, Bar Method, Basecamp, and Waxing in the City. Anytime, the largest of the brands, has nearly 5,000 franchise locations on seven continents—all of which had to shut down over the course of about five weeks due to Covid-19. For a company based in Minnesota, Anytime Fitness was early to realize the potentially catastrophic threat of the coronavirus because of its clubs in China. But even as those locations shut down, Runyon says, “We thought it would be contained. After Anytime’s 20 clubs in Italy closed, “it escalated quickly.” In the U.S., Missouri clubs were the first to close and then every day, every week, came another. “Like dominoes.” “In all the years we’ve sat around in meetings of what if…never did any of us anticipate shutting down nearly 5,000 clubs around in the world in five weeks.” But since they have, Runy...

22 minMAY 5
Comments
Check In: Anytime Fitness CEO Chuck Runyon

Check In: Love Your Melon's Zachary Quinn

Anticipating that face masks are going to be a necessary accessory for the foreseeable future, Love Your Melon is ramping up its collection and returning to the buy one, give one model that made the beanie brand famous: for every mask purchased, the company will donate one to someone in the medical community. “Seeing how people are being instructed now to wear them whenever they’re out in public, I don’t think there’s any chance that this production goes away for the next 6 to 12 months at least. They need to keep being improved,” says Zachary Quinn, LYM co-founder and president. Quinn appeared on this podcast in 2019 to share the LYM founder’s story, which started as a classroom project at the University of St. Thomas. To date, LYM has given more than $7 million to the fight against pediatric cancer and 191,000 hats to children battling cancer. Now, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, LYM is making face masks for hospitalized children and their families, who are at high ...

20 minAPR 27
Comments
Check In: Love Your Melon's Zachary Quinn

Check In: Punch Pizza's John Puckett

In the course of three days in March, Punch Pizza went from record sales to shuttering its dozen Twin Cities restaurants and furloughing nearly 400 employees. “It took us by surprise how quickly it happened,” co-owner John Puckett said. With businesses like Punch upended by coronavirus, we're checking in on some of the entrepreneurs who have shared their founder’s stories on past episodes of the podcast to learn how they are navigating uncertain times. Prior to the crisis, about a third of Punch Pizza’s business was takeout. When it became apparent to Puckett and his partner, Punch Pizza founder John Sorrano, in mid-March that they may need to temporarily close their dining rooms, they installed phone stations in the basement of their Highland Park location in St. Paul to prepare for going takeout only. But an internal virus scare derailed that plan. “We thought we had a Covid-19 infection among staff. It turned out to be a false alarm, but we just realized, given the outbreak,...

30 minAPR 21
Comments
Check In: Punch Pizza's John Puckett

Proozy Founder + CEO Jeremy Segal

Proozy just may be the biggest overstock deals website you’re not shopping—yet. But hundreds of thousands of people have discovered Proozy, which, like Nordstrom Rack or T.J. Maxx, offers discounts on brand apparel from Nike, Adidas and many others. Unlike its big box competitors, Proozy is strictly e-commerce—emphasizing daily flash deals and relying on analytics to determine its inventory. Based in Eagan, Minn., Proozy hit $40 million in revenue for 2019 and Segal expects to double that in 2020. The company started out in 2006 as Lyon’s Trading Company. Jeremy Segal was just 16 years old when he started buying overstock golf equipment from pro shops and selling it to support his own golf aspirations. Realizing his knack for selling was greater than his game, he expanded into activewear and then apparel and accessories for the whole family. “We don’t function like other retailers,” Segal says. “We’re using data to make decisions, and optimizing with tech. We’ve built repe...

47 minAPR 15
Comments
Proozy Founder + CEO Jeremy Segal

Episode 41 — Jeff Gau, Marco CEO

Marco was a typewriter dealer when Jeff Gau landed a sales job with the St. Cloud, Minn. company in 1973, fresh out of college after serving in the U.S. Air Force. He steadily rose through the ranks and helped Marco evolve from selling printers and shredders to businesses into a full-fledged IT services provider with 60 offices throughout the U.S. and more than $400 million in annual revenue. Through the years, Marco has continued to evolve with technology and grow—even as some of its early products became obsolete. “Change is great as long as it’s happening to someone else,” Gau jokes. But Gau got comfortable with change, overseeing dozens of acquisitions for Marco, which was employee owned from 1989 to 2015. When it was acquired by Norwest Equity Partners, many employees became millionaires overnight. And proof positive of the company’s strong culture of community and collaboration: they kept right on working. “Running a business is a team sport,” Gau says. “We play to our...

55 minAPR 8
Comments
Episode 41 — Jeff Gau, Marco CEO

Replay: Woodchuck USA Founder + Chairman Benjamin VandenWymelenberg

His company makes lifestyle products out of wood, but when the coronavirus crisis hit the U.S. in March, Woodchuck USA founder Benjamin VandenWymelenberg immediately started thinking about how he could help. His wood laser cutting machines proved ideal for making the face shields needed by health care professionals. By the end of March, Woodchuck had produced more than 200,000 PPE products. Last summer, Ben shared his founder's story with host Allison Kaplan and talked about how he stays motivated and engaged as a leader. This episode was originally released Sept. 4, 2019. ****** Wiping out on Rollerblades and cracking his iPhone prompted Benjamin VandenWymelenberg to make his first phone case out of wood scraps. An architecture student who had grown up on a farm, he liked the idea of bridging technology and nature. Friends asked him to make phone cases for them, and that was the beginning of Woodchuck USA. In a matter of months, Woodchuck was selling through Best Buy and Target. No...

64 minAPR 1
Comments
Replay: Woodchuck USA Founder + Chairman Benjamin VandenWymelenberg

Replay: Caribou Coffee co-founder and Punch Pizza co-owner John Puckett

On Monday March 16, in the face of a national emergency, John Puckett joined Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz at a press conference announcing that restaurants and bars must close to stop the spread of coronavirus. It's a death blow for many in the hospitality industry, but Puckett said "it's time to hunker down and protect our vital resources." How do you lead through crisis? This conversation from our first episode of By All Means in April 2019 is sure to provide some inspiration. *** John Puckett and his wife Kim had a case of “the Mondays” that struck almost as soon as they landed corporate jobs after business school. “Life is too short to spend Sunday night dreading going in to work on Monday,” John says. “We felt like life is … too precious to not really feel connected to your work and passionate about what you’re doing.” That conviction led to the creation of Caribou Coffee, now the No. 2 coffee chain in the U.S. It's No. 1 in Minnesota—the one market Starbucks doesn’t domin...

49 minMAR 17
Comments
Replay: Caribou Coffee co-founder and Punch Pizza co-owner John Puckett

Latest Episodes

Abilitech Founder + CEO Angie Conley

Abilitech Medical is on the brink of launching the first-of-its-kind wearable assistive device that makes it possible for patients with upper-limb weakness or injury to use their arms for everyday activities. “This is my imprint on the world,” says founder Angie Conley. Even before the Abiliitech Assist device becomes widely available through hospitals and clinics, it has already won numerous awards including the Tekne Award for innovation from the Minnesota High Tech Association and the Grand Prize and Top Woman-led Business at the Minnesota Cup, which is the largest state-led business competition. Abilitech has also been recognized as a Top 20 Medical Device Startup You Need to Know by MassDevice magazine; and a Top Promising Life Science Company by Rice University. So far Conley has raised $12 million, primarily in equity funding. Abilitech is Conley’s first startup, but years of experience in the medical device industry prepared her for the challenge. Following several years as a senior product marketing manager for Medtronic and a medical device marketing consultant, Conley took on the executive director role at Magic Arms, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit that works to help children with orphan medical conditions including muscular dystrophy. It exposed her to the need for an assistive device, and she quickly realized it would take more money than a nonprofit could raise to solve it. “The mission is what carries you through,” Conley says. The opportunity is significant: Abilitech’s initial market of multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy patients with enough hand function to operate the device is around $2 billion; Conley has her sights set on the stroke rehab market, which she says pegs at $30 billion. “It’s an exciting opportunity to fill an unmet need and change the lives not just of patients but their caregivers,” Conley says. After our conversation with Conley, we go Back to the Classroom with University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. Dan McLaughlin, director of the Center for Innovation in the Business of Health Care at Opus discusses the med tech innovation happening beyond computers, in the area of motors and sensors. Emerging technology is an area of particular interest at St. Thomas. “That’s the best part of health care,” McLaughlin says. “You get to make those human connections and really change people’s lives.”

55 minJUL 15
Comments
Abilitech Founder + CEO Angie Conley

Xena Therapies Founder and CEO Tammy Lee

Tammy Lee launched a line of wearable cool therapy medical devices in February, 2020, and one month later, she had to shut down her new company due to Covid-19. It wasn’t the start she dreamed of for Xena Therapies. But then, Lee’s entire career is built on unexpected turns. Lee studied journalism and political science and landed a job as a Washington D.C. news correspondent. She crossed over to politics to become press secretary for then U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan, a “prairie populist” from North Dakota. “I loved helping to influence public policy.” In 2006, she ran for U.S. Representative of Minnesota’s fifth district and lost. “The way I ran that campaign opened the door to the next great opportunity.” Lee was hired by Northwest Airlines to oversee communications during the Northwest-Delta merger. Then after vice president roles with the University of Minnesota Foundation and Carlson, Lee was recruited for the role that changed her career trajectory. Recombinetics, a St. ...

48 minJUL 2
Comments
Xena Therapies Founder and CEO Tammy Lee

HabitAware Co-Founders Aneela and Sameer Kumar

Aneela Idnani Kumar started pulling out hair from her eyebrows and eyelashes when she was a girl. In her early 20s, she Googled her secret habit and discovered it had a name: trichotillomania. An estimated one in 20 Americans suffer from what Aneela calls “the most common disorder you’ve never heard of.” In 2013, she finally revealed her struggle to her husband Sameer Kumar and together, they set out to find a solution—something that would alert Aneela when she started to reach for her eyebrows. They tried bangles; they created slap bracelets with craft store supplies. “We knew we needed something that would detect movement in hands,” Sameer says. Armed with that conviction, the couple entered a Minneapolis hackathon, where they met their chief technology officer and lead hardware engineer. Within 48 hours, they had the foundation for what would become HabitAware’s innovative product, the Keen, a behavior alert bracelet that sends vibrations when it detects movement. That awa...

48 minMAY 20
Comments
HabitAware Co-Founders Aneela and Sameer Kumar

Check In: Anytime Fitness CEO Chuck Runyon

“We do not want to go back to being the way we were,” says Chuck Runyon, co-founder and CEO of Self Esteem Brands, the parent company to Anytime Fitness, Bar Method, Basecamp, and Waxing in the City. Anytime, the largest of the brands, has nearly 5,000 franchise locations on seven continents—all of which had to shut down over the course of about five weeks due to Covid-19. For a company based in Minnesota, Anytime Fitness was early to realize the potentially catastrophic threat of the coronavirus because of its clubs in China. But even as those locations shut down, Runyon says, “We thought it would be contained. After Anytime’s 20 clubs in Italy closed, “it escalated quickly.” In the U.S., Missouri clubs were the first to close and then every day, every week, came another. “Like dominoes.” “In all the years we’ve sat around in meetings of what if…never did any of us anticipate shutting down nearly 5,000 clubs around in the world in five weeks.” But since they have, Runy...

22 minMAY 5
Comments
Check In: Anytime Fitness CEO Chuck Runyon

Check In: Love Your Melon's Zachary Quinn

Anticipating that face masks are going to be a necessary accessory for the foreseeable future, Love Your Melon is ramping up its collection and returning to the buy one, give one model that made the beanie brand famous: for every mask purchased, the company will donate one to someone in the medical community. “Seeing how people are being instructed now to wear them whenever they’re out in public, I don’t think there’s any chance that this production goes away for the next 6 to 12 months at least. They need to keep being improved,” says Zachary Quinn, LYM co-founder and president. Quinn appeared on this podcast in 2019 to share the LYM founder’s story, which started as a classroom project at the University of St. Thomas. To date, LYM has given more than $7 million to the fight against pediatric cancer and 191,000 hats to children battling cancer. Now, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, LYM is making face masks for hospitalized children and their families, who are at high ...

20 minAPR 27
Comments
Check In: Love Your Melon's Zachary Quinn

Check In: Punch Pizza's John Puckett

In the course of three days in March, Punch Pizza went from record sales to shuttering its dozen Twin Cities restaurants and furloughing nearly 400 employees. “It took us by surprise how quickly it happened,” co-owner John Puckett said. With businesses like Punch upended by coronavirus, we're checking in on some of the entrepreneurs who have shared their founder’s stories on past episodes of the podcast to learn how they are navigating uncertain times. Prior to the crisis, about a third of Punch Pizza’s business was takeout. When it became apparent to Puckett and his partner, Punch Pizza founder John Sorrano, in mid-March that they may need to temporarily close their dining rooms, they installed phone stations in the basement of their Highland Park location in St. Paul to prepare for going takeout only. But an internal virus scare derailed that plan. “We thought we had a Covid-19 infection among staff. It turned out to be a false alarm, but we just realized, given the outbreak,...

30 minAPR 21
Comments
Check In: Punch Pizza's John Puckett

Proozy Founder + CEO Jeremy Segal

Proozy just may be the biggest overstock deals website you’re not shopping—yet. But hundreds of thousands of people have discovered Proozy, which, like Nordstrom Rack or T.J. Maxx, offers discounts on brand apparel from Nike, Adidas and many others. Unlike its big box competitors, Proozy is strictly e-commerce—emphasizing daily flash deals and relying on analytics to determine its inventory. Based in Eagan, Minn., Proozy hit $40 million in revenue for 2019 and Segal expects to double that in 2020. The company started out in 2006 as Lyon’s Trading Company. Jeremy Segal was just 16 years old when he started buying overstock golf equipment from pro shops and selling it to support his own golf aspirations. Realizing his knack for selling was greater than his game, he expanded into activewear and then apparel and accessories for the whole family. “We don’t function like other retailers,” Segal says. “We’re using data to make decisions, and optimizing with tech. We’ve built repe...

47 minAPR 15
Comments
Proozy Founder + CEO Jeremy Segal

Episode 41 — Jeff Gau, Marco CEO

Marco was a typewriter dealer when Jeff Gau landed a sales job with the St. Cloud, Minn. company in 1973, fresh out of college after serving in the U.S. Air Force. He steadily rose through the ranks and helped Marco evolve from selling printers and shredders to businesses into a full-fledged IT services provider with 60 offices throughout the U.S. and more than $400 million in annual revenue. Through the years, Marco has continued to evolve with technology and grow—even as some of its early products became obsolete. “Change is great as long as it’s happening to someone else,” Gau jokes. But Gau got comfortable with change, overseeing dozens of acquisitions for Marco, which was employee owned from 1989 to 2015. When it was acquired by Norwest Equity Partners, many employees became millionaires overnight. And proof positive of the company’s strong culture of community and collaboration: they kept right on working. “Running a business is a team sport,” Gau says. “We play to our...

55 minAPR 8
Comments
Episode 41 — Jeff Gau, Marco CEO

Replay: Woodchuck USA Founder + Chairman Benjamin VandenWymelenberg

His company makes lifestyle products out of wood, but when the coronavirus crisis hit the U.S. in March, Woodchuck USA founder Benjamin VandenWymelenberg immediately started thinking about how he could help. His wood laser cutting machines proved ideal for making the face shields needed by health care professionals. By the end of March, Woodchuck had produced more than 200,000 PPE products. Last summer, Ben shared his founder's story with host Allison Kaplan and talked about how he stays motivated and engaged as a leader. This episode was originally released Sept. 4, 2019. ****** Wiping out on Rollerblades and cracking his iPhone prompted Benjamin VandenWymelenberg to make his first phone case out of wood scraps. An architecture student who had grown up on a farm, he liked the idea of bridging technology and nature. Friends asked him to make phone cases for them, and that was the beginning of Woodchuck USA. In a matter of months, Woodchuck was selling through Best Buy and Target. No...

64 minAPR 1
Comments
Replay: Woodchuck USA Founder + Chairman Benjamin VandenWymelenberg

Replay: Caribou Coffee co-founder and Punch Pizza co-owner John Puckett

On Monday March 16, in the face of a national emergency, John Puckett joined Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz at a press conference announcing that restaurants and bars must close to stop the spread of coronavirus. It's a death blow for many in the hospitality industry, but Puckett said "it's time to hunker down and protect our vital resources." How do you lead through crisis? This conversation from our first episode of By All Means in April 2019 is sure to provide some inspiration. *** John Puckett and his wife Kim had a case of “the Mondays” that struck almost as soon as they landed corporate jobs after business school. “Life is too short to spend Sunday night dreading going in to work on Monday,” John says. “We felt like life is … too precious to not really feel connected to your work and passionate about what you’re doing.” That conviction led to the creation of Caribou Coffee, now the No. 2 coffee chain in the U.S. It's No. 1 in Minnesota—the one market Starbucks doesn’t domin...

49 minMAR 17
Comments
Replay: Caribou Coffee co-founder and Punch Pizza co-owner John Puckett
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