Can tech startups thrive in a recession? It’s been done before – SC Times

Can tech startups thrive in a recession? It’s been done before – SC Times

At a time when some businesses are meeting their end, a locally based venture capital firm is focused on seeing others get their start.

Brothers Ryan and Rob Weber are founding and managing partners of Great North Labs, a venture capital fund headquartered in St Cloud. Great North Labs continues to commit funding to technology startups, including making four new investments within the past five months.

“It’s been pretty amazing how many very successful large tech companies have been formed in Minnesota and really kind of grew out of a recession,” Ryan Weber said Monday.

Ryan Weber

In a blog posted to the company’s website in late July, Rob Weber provided a list of some of these Minnesota tech companies that got their start in a strapped economy. The list includes their company, NativeX, which the brothers founded in 2000 amid the dot-com bubble and recession) and later sold for $25 million, according to previous Times reports.

Great North Labs has invested in 22 startups in the Upper Midwest since 2017, including 11 in Minnesota and one in St. Cloud. Between them, those 11 companies employ 320 people, Rob said.

However, outstate Minnesota is underperforming in startup production and funding, he said. Though Great North Lab has made investments in Central Minnesota companies, those numbers are still small.

Rob Weber

In early-stage venture capital, Great North Labs is seeing an opportunity in the