Real Tech Leaders

Real Tech Stories.

Pavan

Software Engineer, Web Architect at Best Buy, Transforming E-commerce

Lives – Eagan | Works – Richfield | Moved from – Charlotte, NC

About MSP

I think the strongest asset in MSP is that we have the headquarters of so many big companies. There’s Best Buy, Target, General Mills, Supervalu, 3M and so many more. I worked at Thomson Reuters in Eagan and Travelers in Saint Paul before joining Best Buy. My wife works at another of those companies, and we both love it here.

We have a great tech community in MSP. It’s different than the bay area. We’re growing. There are more and more software symposiums and conferences that are happening within the area. We’re building the tech world and helping people grow. One of my favorite events is the “No Fluff Just Stuff” Java symposium.

Problem I’m Solving

I’m helping transform customers’ retail experience – making it easier for everyone!

Matt

Entrepreneur, Co-founder & CEO, Astropad, Winner, Minnesota Cup

Lives – Minneapolis | Works – Minneapolis | Moved from – Chicago, IL

About MSP

It’s a combination of a well-run metro area coupled with tons of nature and outdoor activities. You can go kayaking at a place like Lake of the Isles and it’s hard to believe you’re in a major city, minutes away from great restaurants. The parks and bike trails are phenomenal, and for those that want more wilderness it’s a few hours north. Top that off with lower cost of living and it’s hard to beat.

The tech community specifically is vibrant but still feels approachable. There’s a sense of community here, of working together to better the tech ecosystem that I haven’t seen elsewhere. Other places have a very competitive vibe, but this is a much more supportive tech community. There is massive untapped talent here! The Minnebar and Minnedemo events are some of the best tech events I’ve been to anywhere.

Problem I’m solving

We’re making professional art and design tools dramatically more accessible. Astropad replaces the need for very expensive hardware that used to be the domain of only Hollywood studios. Now even a kid with an iPad running Astropad can have access to the same tools as a Disney or Pixar animator.

Sharon

Community Builder, Civic Changemaker, Co-founder, Blacks in Technology – MSP, IT Management Consultant, Trissential, Former developer, University of Minnesota

Lives – Eagan | Works – Saint Paul | Moved from – Atlanta, GA

About MSP

It’s a very active gathering place for tech-savvy programmers, developers, entrepreneurs, investors, seeker and executives. There are dozens of tech, social and interactive media forums, accelerators and Meetups taking place daily. We also face an opportunity gap for communities of color. I co-founded Blacks in Technology – MSP to help open and activate more avenues for individuals of color to actively participate in the industry. My hope is not only to encourage people of color to enter the tech field, but also to help them thrive and advance.

Problem I’m solving

My life purpose is to connect people to opportunities and resources and promote inclusion and equity, ensuring all people (especially marginalized groups) have access to economic and social well-being. I have a strong desire to create pathways for people of color to enter and thrive in the field I have grown to love. I want to be at the forefront of driving change to make the industry more inclusive. That begins by offering real opportunities, helping individuals increase their social capital.