2020 Tekne Award Winners Exemplify Technology Innovation in Minnesota
Technology Leaders and Innovators Recognized at Virtual Tekne Awards Event
(MINNEAPOLIS) Nov. 18, 2020 – In a celebration of Minnesota’s thriving technology community, the Minnesota Technology Association honored many of the people and companies driving technology innovation in the State of Minnesota at its 23rdannual Tekne awards ceremony today. Held virtually for the first time, the on-line Tekne Awards highlighted the new and exciting ways technology developed by Minnesota companies is impacting our community and the world.
Companies competed for Tekne Awards in 16 primary award categories, ranging from Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning to Technology for Good. While only one organization was able to bring home the Tekne in each category, the level of innovation amongst all finalists was impressive. Event attendees left inspired by the technological breakthroughs being developed in Minnesota and proud of the important role our state plays in global technology innovation.
Individual awards were also presented to both proven and emerging tech leaders. Receiving special Tekne Awards for Lifetime Achievement were Rick King of Thomson Reuters and John Santelli of UnitedHealth Group. The inaugural Rising Star Awards went to Tarah Beyers of Target, Ja’keh Clark of Best Buy, and Michelle Hermanson of Land O’Lakes.
“The Tekne Awards honor the innovators and tech leaders powering Minnesota’s growing science and technology economy,” said Jeff Tollefson, President and CEO of the Minnesota Technology Association. “This year we were especially excited to honor organizations that showed swift and innovative responses to the COVID-19 crisis.”
Ten organizations were recognized as finalists for a special Tekne Award for COVID-19 Community Response, having risen to the challenge and developing innovative solutions to help minimize the impact of the coronavirus on public health and disruptions to our economy, with three selected for Tekne Awards. All 2020 Tekne Award recipients are highlighted below.
Descriptions of each category are available at: https://tekneawards.org/award/2020-award-categories. For additional information, please visit TekneAwards.org.
The 2020 Tekne Award recipients are:
Winner: Revel Health
Revel Health is a healthcare technology company focused on helping health plans and healthcare organizations make the world a healthier place. Its health action programs are designed to meet people where they are with messages that compel them to take specific actions.
Revel Health was selected as a Tekne recipient for it Revel Connect platform. Revel Connect brings together qualitative and quantitative research to understand members’ personal situations, health beliefs, biases, barriers to care, and habits, so it can personalize messages and do a better job of speaking to people about health issues. This customized messaging drives members to take key health actions, leading to better outcomes.
Hoonuit is empowering educators and communities with the knowledge and insights they need to improve student outcomes. Hoonuit is an end-to-end K-12 education data management solution that includes reporting, analytics, and data visualization all in one.
Sourcing from disparate data sources, the Hoonuit data and analytics platform transforms information using sophisticated data quality processes and data models. Hoonuit’s best-in-class machine learning and statistical modeling approach analyzes longitudinal datasets, predicts outcomes, and proactively addresses student needs, leading the way in the education industry with precision, accuracy, and performance. As a result, educators can leverage insights delivered through reports and dashboards that help them make informed decisions and take actions to tailor instruction for the success of each student.
Code42 safeguards more than 50,000 organizations helping them detect, investigate and respond to insider threats. Code 42 tracks files as they are attached to emails, uploaded to web applications, and moved to cloud accounts, USB sticks and external hard drives.
Code42’s insider threat solution, Incydr, offers organizations an easier, quicker way to secure their endpoint and cloud data from loss, leak, theft and sabotage — from employee hire to exit. A cloud-based SaaS solution, Incydr can detect risky file activity across on- and off-network computers, the cloud and email. Features include a remote worker dashboard, detection lens for departing employees, and another for high risk users.
Tunheim leverages communications to help clients navigate today’s complex business environment. Tunheim’s core services are public relations, digital marketing, public affairs, corporate communications and management consulting.
Tunheim is being recognized for its work with The Minnesota Hospital Association. Tunheim developed a digital campaign to build awareness and educate the public about mental health needs in rural Minnesota, where a high rate of suicide occurs. The campaign positioned Minnesota’s hospitals as a resource for those seeking mental health care. Content included sharable graphics, a social media influencer partnership, radio ads, videos and a landing page.
HGA is a national multi-disciplinary design firm rooted in architecture and engineering. HGA is being recognized for its work with Abbott Northwestern Hospital (ANWH) to design a center for neurological excellence.
ANWH wanted to respond proactively to patients having seizures. The challenge of integrating numerous systems into a seamless operation demanded careful coordination with all disciplines of the design team, contractors and hospital staff to meet the rigorous technical and logistical requirements of the innovative system. At the push of a button, a series of sequential functions are initiated which are specifically designed around helping neurological patients through seizures and improving the efficiency of staff when responding to these events.
Edge Computing & IoT
Medtronic products treat 70 health conditions and include cardiac devices, cranial and spine therapies, robotics, insulin pumps, surgical tools, patient monitoring systems, and more. Its therapies help 75 million people annually.
The Medtronic Teneo Platform is a set of services that provides security-based connectivity to medical devices. A patient’s medical device can be remotely configured or updated while the patient is at home. The same platform can also be used for updates or servicing of capital equipment deployed in a hospital environment. Teneo is built with the flexibility to support all of Medtronic’s device types in various environments, resulting in cost savings, faster device updates, and less burden on the user.
Winner: Diversified Plastics, Inc.
Employee-owned Diversified Plastics, Inc. (DPI) is a custom plastic-injection molder and digital manufacturer of high-precision, close-tolerance parts and components for medical device, filtration, aerospace and a variety of other industrial markets.
The Acceleration Station™ is an additive manufacturing service that delivers the fastest path to market. While there are many facets to a winning go-to-market strategy, design changes, prototyping and building molds can delay a product launch. DPI’s Acceleration Station produces high-quality plastic parts faster. These services, including the Carbon® Digital Light Synthesis™ (DLS™) additive manufacturing technology, produces production and prototype parts in days, not weeks without tooling.
Financial Services Technology
Winner: DNT BLNK.
DNT BLNK is a venture studio, solving problems with innovative business solutions with and for established industries and companies. DNT BLNK builds wholly proprietary startup projects as well as projects with corporate partners looking to move quickly and innovate.
DNT BLNK’s most recent product to market is NetGiver, the fee-free charitable giving app (netgiverapp.com). Provided to credit union members as a mobile app, NetGiver is a unique acquisition, retention and loyalty building tool which delivers a branded, feel-good experience by simply and securely facilitating donations to a member’s preferred nonprofit organization with the satisfaction of knowing that the nonprofit receives 100% of the donation.
Healthcare Information Systems
Winner: Medicom Health
Medicom Health empowers health engagement through software-as-a-service platforms including health risk assessments, and a clinical platform that integrates with EHRs to analyze patient medical records for insights and actionable data to tackle the thorniest of patient/provider issues, including medication affordability and adherence.
Medicom’s Rx Savings Assistant® can instantly increase prescription adherence across an entire health system, alongside existing Patient Assistance Programs, without substantial cost to providers. By leveraging the EHR, it shows the availability of pharma-sponsored discounts. The EHR plug-in monitors every prescription and determines patient eligibility. It searches external databases for matching branded and generic manufacturer discounts, then adds appropriate offers to discharge paperwork and patient portals.
Medical Technology & Devices
Winner: Phenomix Sciences
Phenomix Sciences was established by two leading NIH-funded obesity experts from Mayo Clinic to bring “precision medicine” to obesity.
Its first product is a novel blood test supported by an AI driven algorithm that classifies the unique pathophysiological phenotype of patients with obesity. Results from the test can be applied clinically by healthcare providers to guide selection of more effective interventions for their patients and improve overall weight-loss outcomes using existing FDA-approved medications and devices. Initial data from clinical trials at Mayo Clinic shows that with a phenotype-guided approach, the response rate to medication-based interventions is greater than 70% which drives 2.3X more weight loss than current standard of care.
Retail, Supply Chain & Distribution
Winner: Railbox Consulting
Railbox Consulting is a technology company focused on the intermodal shipping container industry. It uses technology to automate processes and customer quoting.
In the United States, at any given time, there are tens of thousands of containers available for sale, owned by hundreds of different intermodal companies, located at dozens of different intermodal depots.
Railbox Consulting has an eCommerce experience that allows the customer to get pricing and purchase shipping containers online. They also added a new buying experience that locates the cheapest container based on a customer’s zip code.
Winner: Claros Technologies
Claros Technologies Inc. is an advanced materials company that strives to lead the industry towards a holistic approach in material design and innovation to develop more efficient, safe and sustainable products with zero toxic waste.
Using its proprietary Crescoating™ technology platform, Claros is able to directly grow small, reactive nanoparticles within support structures. The resulting materials function as sorbents to capture and detoxify harmful contaminants like mercury, phosphorus and other heavy metals while allowing for reuse and recovery of valuable nutrients, rare earth metals, and precious metals. The sorbents can be used in a variety of industries including industrial water treatment, watershed management, and air pollution control.
gBETA Medtech is a program of the nationally ranked startup accelerator, gener8tor and University Enterprise Laboratories. It is sponsored by Boston Scientific with additional support from Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota and Medical Alley Association.
gBETA Medtech is a free, seven-week accelerator that works with medical device, healthcare-related software, biotech and diagnostics startups for no fees and no equity. Participants receive intensive and individualized coaching and access to gener8tor’s national network of mentors, customers, corporate partners, and investors. The program is designed to help startups gain early customer traction on their product or idea and establish metrics that can make them competitive applicants for full-time, equity-based accelerators or investment.
Tech Talent – Corporate Initiative
Winner: Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is a leading provider of business information services. Its products include highly specialized information-enabled software and tools for legal, tax, accounting and compliance professionals combined with the world’s most global news service – Reuters.
Through its decade-long partnership with Leadhership1, Thomson Reuters has increased retention and advancement of its highly talented mid-career women technologists. The online, virtual curriculum of Leadhership1 created a network of almost 1,000 mid-career women technologists worldwide who support each other’s career advancement through peer mentoring. By preparing more mid-career women for senior leadership positions, younger female technologists have more role models. The initiative is a win-win for gender diversity and tech talent at Thomson Reuters.
Tech Talent – Solution Provider
Genesis10 is a professional technology services firm providing staffing, workforce optimization and domestic outsourcing solutions.
Genesis10 was selected as a Tekne recipient for Dev10, which reskills high potential U.S. citizens for careers in technology. Dev10 recruits, trains and mentors emerging talent to enable companies to effectively onboard and retain high-potential technical talent at scale.
After a rigorous vetting process, those selected for Dev10 become Genesis10 salaried employees with full benefits from the first day of training. Dev10 Associates begin their IT career in Genesis10's industry-leading 3-month coding Bootcamp. Upon graduation from training, they are placed in their first technology role.
Tech For Good
Winner: Tech Dump
Tech Dump is a certified, electronics recycling and refurbishing social enterprise.
In addition to Tech Dump’s proven track record as an e-waste recycler, it is also a social enterprise providing jobs and training to 100 individuals seeking barriers to employment annually. Tech Dump also helped lead the fight for the “Right to Repair” in local and national legislative efforts, co-founded the Impact Recyclers, a national group of certified electronics recyclers that are all social enterprises, and sells affordable technology in their retail and online store with a one-year warranty.
Tech Dump addresses several UN Sustainable Development Goals, including poverty, vocational skills, material footprint, sustainable industry, discrimination, urban waste management, hazardous waste, and climate change.
COVID-19 Community Response
In just two weeks, a team at 3M researched and developed an FDA approved testing protocol for the decontamination of filtering facepiece respirators (FFR). The high demand for FFR means that many healthcare institutions must rely on decontaminating and reusing the supply they have. 3M’s protocol supported two of the first FDA Emergency Use Authorizations and the team ultimately formed collaborations with over 35 decontamination manufacturers around the world.
Winner: KnightKrawler Robotics
Led by an all-volunteer coaching staff, the Irondale High School robotics team, KnightKrawler Robotics, rallied together to manufacture and deliver over 15,000 face shields to critical health care and public safety workers in and around the area. The team then went on to 3D print 10,000 additional plastic shield parts which they shared with other local organizations working to manufacture PPE.
In the face of the pandemic, the University of Minnesota’s Technology Commercialization research institute reprioritized new tech additions to ensure that the innovations designed to prevent, diagnose, treat, and contain COVID-19 received immediate attention. Due to the collaboration between university experts and industry leaders, many new COVID-related technologies are now available for commercialization, everything from a COVID-19 antibody test to a location and symptom mapping tool.
About the Minnesota Technology Association (MnTech)
The Minnesota Technology Association is a coalition of more than 250 member companies united in building a stronger tech ecosystem and innovation economy in Minnesota. Formerly known as the Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA), the organization works to ensure that Minnesota’s technology-driven companies have access to exceptional talent, dedicated public policy advocates, and are part of an innovative, inclusive technology community.