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STARTUP BUILDERS AND INVENTORS

Entrepreneurship is in our DNA

Since opening our doors in 2009, we’ve founded or co-founded six different companies—some flourishing, others now-defunct, all profoundly worthwhile. Launching our own startups and entrepreneurs has always been an integral part of GoKart Labs’ culture, giving us the empathy, speed, optimism and agility we need to best help our clients of all sizes.

GOKART VENTURES AT A GLANCE

$1MM

INVESTED SERVICES IN 2017

6

COMPANIES
STARTED SINCE 2009

125

JOBS CREATED
(AND COUNTING)

$17MM+

RECEIVED IN VENTURE FUNDING

Our incubator is just heating up

In 2009, we launched one of the first Startup Studios in the country (before it was even a category). Nearly a decade later, we formalized GoKart Ventures, a startup partner that invents and invests in new businesses. While creating new businesses has always been core to our DNA, we’ve now developed a formalized process surrounding this passion for investing in disruptive ideas that radically improve modern life.

Exits

Bring Me The News Logo, GoKart Labs Startup, Ventures

Started: 2009

Acquired by Pohlad Companies: 2015

The Story

Fast, focused and multi-platform, BringMeTheNews.com filters through hundreds of traditional and non-traditional news sources and social platforms to bring people the news they want and need. Developed in 2009 by award-winning Twin Cities investigative journalist and TV news anchor, Rick Kupchella, BMTN makes it simple to get, share and discuss what’s happening in Minnesota.

Our Role

Co-Founders, technology platform, digital marketing team, brand identity, fundraising, and a board member

Sopia Learning, GoKart Labs Startup, Venture

Started: 2009

Acquired by Capella Education: 2012

The Story

Sophia delivers an engaging, self-paced and flexible online learning experience that combines high-quality curriculum with universal accessibility. Offering free resources as well as low-cost for-credit courses eligible for transfer to over 2000 colleges and universities, Sophia helps thousands of students and teachers transform the way they learn and teach.

Our Role

Invented, designed, built and sold Sophia.

Stories in Progress

The Big Know Logo, GoKart Labs Client

Started: 2014

The Story

Free online courses. Renowned brands and businesses. The Big Know teams major brands and big-name experts with compelling content marketing, entertainment, digital media, and online learning techniques to educate, challenge and inspire audiences to improve their lives in meaningful ways.

Our Role

Creator and founding team for The Big Know.

Kaleidoscope Logo, GoKart Labs Client

Started: 2016

The Story

Kaleidoscope helps visionary organizations and advocates fund the next generation of change-making leaders by designing, building and administering scholarship programs on a cloud software platform.

Our Role

Technology team, strategic partner and investor; helped Kaleidoscope close out their first round of funding in 9 months.

Polco Logo, GoKart Labs Client

Started: 2015

The Story

Polco is a Madison-based startup that’s using technology to enable cities and their citizens to communicate more clearly and more often about decisions facing their communities—from roads to recycling to land use to public spending.

Our Role

Technology team, strategic partner and investor; helped Polco close out their first round of funding in 9 months.

Popover Logo

Started: 2017

The Story

Popover helps us all be better friends by making it easy to ask for and offer help within a close, local circle of friends you can depend on. Friends can then quickly review and claim your asks and offers. The app collects key information to shortcut the logistical headaches we navigate to simply help each other out.

Our Role

Kate Nolan, a Solution Lead at GoKart Labs invented and pitched the business. We are currently testing, designing and building Popover.

Scott Jagodozinki, Managing Director Ventures At GoKart Labs

Have a startup? We want to hear about it.

Our team is committed to hearing pitches, funding great ideas and creating relationships with entrepreneurs who want to make the world better. Scott Jagodzinski, seasoned entrepreneur and Alchemy365 co-founder, spearheads the Ventures team and ensures that our initiatives align with our core values.

To qualify for a pitch you must first have:

  • A beta or version 1 up and running
  • Users in the product
  • Some level of funding already in place
  • A connection to healthcare, education or financial services
Contact Us

HOW WE INVEST

GoKart Labs invests in startups with services, not cash.  We assess what the startup needs, determine how we can help, and then price the project.  We typically take ⅓ of the project fee in equity (whatever round the startup is in) and ⅔ in cash paid by the startup (typically out of the proceeds from the round they are raising).  We like to align our startups with our large corporate clients so that as we grow together, we have identified possible opportunities for the startup to work with the large company.

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