Minnesota Startups Make Their Pitch to Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk takes a selfie at a speaking event. Courtesy of VaynerMedia

Minnesota Startups Make Their Pitch to Gary Vaynerchuk

You need an NFT to attend VeeCon, but the Web 3.0 conference will open with a "Massive Minnesota Meetup" featuring local startups.

Admission to serial entrepreneur and social media sensation Gary Vaynerchuk’s star-studded VeeCon event at U.S. Bank Stadium in May is limited to owners of VeeFriends NFTs, which are currently trading on the secondhand market for around $1,200. But there will be opportunity for some locals who’ve yet to set up a crypto wallet to get in on the action. Gary Vee, as he’s known to fans, is, after all, a master at marketing.

VeeCon is billed as a Web 3.0 conference featuring an eclectic lineup of digitally forward entrepreneurs and artists including Snoop Dogg, actress Eva Longoria, writer/director Kevin Smith and Beeple, the digital artist who sold an NFT of his work for $69 million. U.S. Rep Tom Emmer also made the list of speakers. (Why Minneapolis? Get the scoop.) The conference is expected to draw upwards of 10,000 attendees—most of whom will be visiting the Twin Cities for the first time, according to VeeCon.

But before celebrities hit the stage inside the exclusive conference, VeeCon will kick off on May 19 with an invite-only “Massive Minnesota Meetup” outside of U.S. Bank Stadium. There will be music and food trucks and motivational speeches, and just announced this week: the opening party will include a pitch competition featuring nine Minnesota-based startups.

Vaynerchuk’s team partnered on the pitch competition with Launch Minnesota, a statewide collaborative spearheaded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to help grow startups in Minnesota.

Nine companies will get the chance to make their pitch to Vaynerchuk and an audience of “celebrities, investors, companies, and founders.” There’s no prize money at stake, but Launch Minnesota executive director Neela Mollgaard said the value comes in recognition—for individual startups, and the state.

“The startup pitch amplifies to attendees from across the globe that Minnesota has a strong and vibrant startup ecosystem with opportunities to invest and grow,” Mollgaard said. “We are showing that talent and innovation isn’t limited to the coasts.”

So who are the startups? Vote today to help determine which startups make it to the VeeCon stage. Launch Minnesota curated a list of 20 established startups that are ready for national growth. They include Gwoop, an online gaming platform, NETZRO, a food upcycling platform, and TurnSignl, a tele-legal platform that connects drivers to attorneys in real-time.

VeeCon will announce the nine finalists on May 1.

More: From our Feb/March 2022 issue, Vaynerchuk talks to TCB about his vision for VeeCon, NFTs, and his Web 3.0 predictions.