The Beta Group is a 501(c)(3) that develops Minnesota’s next generation of business leaders by inspiring and educating first-time founders. We nurture these scalable small businesses so that they can grow to become our next Fortune 100s.
The organization runs two main programs - Twin Cities Startup Week (TCSW), which inspires would be entrepreneurs to start a business and the BETA Cohort, which trains founders on the topics required to grow a business.
MISSION - Accelerating the success of Minnesota-based technology founders.
Here at BETA, we’re committed to putting Minnesota founders first and doing whatever we can to help them find success in their companies.
We’re open to partnering with anyone who has this same vision and dedication to innovation. If you’d like to partner with us, we’d love to hear from you and discuss ways to work together that benefits the whole community.
Twin Cities Startup Week is the front door to Minnesota’s startup ecosystem. The week includes countless events featuring the area’s brightest innovators and creative hotbeds. What began as intimate gathering of local technologists has ballooned to a regional festival celebrating the leaders who are creating impact within their community, startup, Fortune 100, nonprofit and more.
The week functions as an unconference, where a majority of the content comes from local community and business leaders. The TCSW team includes a full time Director, plus a lean group of part-time contributors who execute the operational and promotional activities of the week, in addition to hosting its own events.
BETA’s Cohort experience is a series of programs where founding teams learn and grow together. Their education is similar to a coding school, but in place of training programmers, we groom the next great non-technical business leaders. Each program is designed to provide founders with resources and relationships to accelerate the growth of their business.
The cohort experience includes access to space, education and events geared toward introducing founders to the people that will positively influence their business.
Casey joins us from the Bay Area with a host of relevant startup and accelerator experience. She was one of the original employees of CouchSurfing International—a precursor to AirBnB —where she helped the company raise its $7.9M Series A-round. She then moved into the capital side of the equation as a lead of the Citrix Startup Accelerator. Most recently, Casey was the head of Business Operations at Serverless, Inc.
Casey was wooed to Minnesota via the Twin Cities Startup Week Fly-in Program, where she was first introduced to our thriving startup ecosystem. Casey lives in St. Paul with her husband, daughters, and goldendoodle—Bumper. She holds an MBA from Presidio Graduate School.
Kelly has worked in people operations for Fortune 500s, nonprofits, and startups where she’s created and implemented operational systems that empower people to do their best work. Kelly is a graduate from the Carlson School of Management.
Kelly grew up in MN and loves the snow, lakes, and people that make this place home. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Peter.
Cihan Behlivan is a technology entrepreneur and operations executive, who led the first tech IPO out of Turkey in 2000. He joined his first tech startup in 2002 as the first employee, and oversaw product development and engineering teams, while managing sales and marketing efforts. Cihan started his own tech company in 2009 and sold it to a CRO company in 2017.
Cihan has over 18 years of digital health startup experience from cloud-based clinical documentation systems to clinical outcomes data collection and analytics platforms. He also has eight years of financial and operational experience in the long term care industry. He has been actively advising startup founders since, while working on a new healthcare startup.
Allison is a Philanthropy Executive and Cross-Sector Leader. Most recently, she served as the Strategy and Learning Vice President at the Bush Foundation. Previously, Allison was a strategy consultant with McKinsey and Company and directed the Itasca Project, an alliance of CEO’s and civic leaders addressing economic competitiveness in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. She also worked at a technology start-up in San Francisco and as a Plant Engineer at 3M. She earned her MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, where she was an all-American gymnast.
Allison was a Presidio Institute Cross-sector Leadership Fellow, a "40 Under 40" leader named by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal in 2013 and a Humphrey Institute Policy Fellow. She currently serves on Emerging Prairie and BETA Boards of Directors and on the Her Next Play Advisory Council. Allison is a devoted member of two book clubs. She has also participated in seven WorldLoppet cross country ski events and has ridden her bike across several states.
Reed Robinson is a founder, community builder, and investor. His direct startup experience ranges from co-founding a small consumer-tech company to an acquisition as an employee of a venture-backed startup. As a Co-founder of BETA and Twin Cities Startup Week, Reed has developed programming and channeled community investments into Minnesota's most promising early stage startups. With Groove Capital, Reed is providing first check investments to the area's top innovators whose products and services make the world a better place, starting in Minnesota.
Clarence is a seasoned entrepreneur who has worked with dozens of startups and Fortune 500 companies to drive business momentum and success. He’s been written about in fast company, MPR and the observer. He brings a wealth of business knowledge, networking acumen and passion to the service contract industry. Prior to starting Upsie, Clarence created 2nd Chance Staffing and secured contracts to staff distribution centers for local businesses. Before launching 2nd Chance Staffing, Clarence assisted in launching 43 Hoops, a premier basketball training academy. In its first two years, 43 Hoops reached $1.5 million in revenue, and Clarence’s sales skills were responsible for more than 70 percent of that success. In 2005, Clarence also assisted Gravelick, a local trucking startup that served clients such as Menards and Stock Builders. In less than one year, Clarence negotiated new contracts and increased revenue by 200 percent while managing a team of 10.
Today, Clarence is founder and CEO of St. Paul based, Upsie. Upsie is a venture-backed tech company disrupting the extended warranty industry by creating a win, win solution for consumers. He has raised over $10m from some of the top venture firms in the country including True Ventures, Techstars, Matchstick Ventures, Syndicate Fund (Bread & Butter Ventures) and has a team of 13. He lives in Prior Lake, Minnesota with his wife, Jenny, their daughter, Addison and son, Austin. Clarence is a committed mentor to young people who are seeking a career path in business and entrepreneurship.
Aneela Idnani is Co-Founder & Marketing/Design Lead at Minneapolis-based HabitAware. HabitAware is a mental health tech startup and TIME Magazine Best Invention. HabitAware’s flagship product, Keen, is a patented smart bracelet that uses patented gesture detection technology to bring awareness to - and control over - hair pulling, skin picking and nail biting, issues that negatively impact more than 20M Americans. HabitAware holds SBIR research grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.
Having grown up with hair pulling disorder (trichotillomania), Aneela is now an outspoken mental health advocate, raising awareness of these very common yet unknown conditions. Aneela is a first generation South Asian American, an author, TEDx speaker, and a "40 Under 40" leader named by the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal. Aneela also serves on the advisory boards of LaunchMN, We Dance for Change and The International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation (IOCDF) Twin Cities Chapter. As a native New York, Aneela proudly calls Minneapolis home and spends her free time creating art and playing with her two young kids. She credits the support of the Twin Cities tech community as critical to the creation and growth of HabitAware and looks forward to supporting new tech entrepreneurs through her role on the BETA board.
BETA was founded in 2013 by Reed Robinson, Ryan Broshar, and Justin Cox with a simple vision—to celebrate the efforts of local tech founders. We hosted our first event—the BETA Showcase—in January, 2014. We found a venue, invited the active startups in our network, and convinced 200+ of our closest friends to see what our startup community is all about.
Though the organization has expanded into a variety of offerings, the mission has never changed—BETA brings people together to support and celebrate the efforts of Minnesota-based entrepreneurs. We do that to increase the likelihood of their success, and to inspire others to join in the action.