Fourteen Minnesota High-Tech Innovators Recognized at 2016 Tekne Awards

November 17, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 17, 2016 — The Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA) honored Minnesota companies and organizations committed to advancements in technology and science at last night’s 2016 Tekne Awards. The MHTA recognized 14 recipients throughout the state whose innovative drive and focus seeks to improve the lives of their communities, our economy and our state.

“Minnesota continues to be a national leader in technology and science, and these 14 companies showcase the innovation that continues to occur right here in our own backyard,” said Margaret Anderson Kelliher, president and CEO of MHTA. “At MHTA, we have a goal of growing Minnesota into a top 5 tech state, and we are proud to honor this year’s recipients who help contribute to this growth.”

During the 17th annual gathering, the MHTA Foundation honored undergraduate students who received the Foundation’s STEM scholarships. These individuals represent the future science and tech leaders of our state, and also support MHTA’s goal of building and fostering Minnesota’s next-generation workforce.

Paul Douglas, meteorologist and founder of Aeris Weather Services, hosted the ceremony at the Minneapolis Convention Center that celebrated innovations and developments within the state’s manufacturing, agriculture, software and healthcare areas.

Public Service Awards were also presented to Governor Mark Dayton, Speaker of the House Kurt Daudt, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, Representative Sarah Anderson, and Senator Dan Sparks.

The 2016 Tekne Award recipients are:

Advanced Manufacturing – Proto Labs, Inc.

Proto Labs, Inc. (Maple Plain), is the world’s fastest source of custom prototypes and low-volume production parts. The company’s propriety analysis and programming software translates 3D CAD models into instructions for advanced additive manufacturing, CNC machining and injection molding equipment. The result is quality parts shipped in a matter of days creating unprecedented speed-to-market value for produce developers and design engineers. Customers can upload a part and receive an automated quote with design feedback and pricing information within hours.

Agriculture and Food – Recombinetics

Recombinetics (RCI) (St. Paul), is the premier gene-editing company in livestock, with applications in therapeutic development and testing, and in animal breeding and care. RCI develops precise swine models of patient congenital and progressive diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The use of RCI’s proprietary pig models is facilitating more rapid commercialization of safe and effective drugs and medical devices, with lower costs.

Applied Analytics – FPX

FPX (Minneapolis), is an independent software company and leading provider of platform-agnostic, enterprise Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) applications that enable companies to increase sales and profit margins while decreasing their IT footprint. By taking a consultative approach toward product implementation, FPX seeks to transform the business processes of its customers. With more than 30 years of experience in solving complex sales operations challenges for multi-channel organizations, FPX creates the most impactful solutions for modern businesses.

Collaboration for Community Impact – Minnesota Computers for Schools

Minnesota Computers for Schools (Bayport), trains and employs inmates at the Stillwater Correctional Facility to refurbish and recycle computers donated from businesses. MCFS places the refurbished computers in schools and educational nonprofits throughout the state. In addition to providing computer technology, MCFS works closely with organizations to provide customized technology solutions and skills training to individuals in need. Since 1997, MCFS has put more than 80,000 computers in the hands of students in need.

Cyber Security – SIFT

Smart Information Flow Technologies (SIFT) (Minneapolis), is a research and development consulting company with strengths in Automated Planning, Cybersecurity, Supervisory Control, Healthcare and a range of Human-Automation Interaction technologies. We make the information flow between humans and technology better for both sides – more efficient, productive and safer. SIFT employs top researchers in Computer Science and the Social Sciences with specializations in Artificial Intelligence (planning, plan recognition, machine learning), Software Engineering (testing, verification, formal methods), Linguistics, Control Theory, Neuroscience, Human Performance, and Politeness and Etiquette models. Nearly half of SIFT researchers hold PhDs, and more than 75 percent hold advanced degrees.

Education Technology – Auditory Sciences, LLC

Auditory Sciences, LLC (Northfield), develops, deploys and supports a suite of software-based products that enable communications for everyone, anywhere and anytime. The initial market focus is the “graying” of world populations. It's a medical fact, with age comes hearing loss; and it’s a demographic fact that the number of individuals over age 70 is rapidly increasing throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. Auditory Sciences’ products meet the needs of this demographic by providing an affordable and effective means of captioning whatever someone says along with the ability to use this software anywhere at any time, including situations where no internet connection is available.

Energy and Clean Tech – 75F

75F (Burnsville), offers an internet of things (IoT) based HVAC control solution that offers per room individual temperature control while saving up to 40 percent in energy costs. The algorithms are able to process more than 700 data points every 60 seconds, including weather, angle of the sun and room occupancy, to proactively regulate the temperature within the building and keep it stable no matter the time, day or season. 75F targets light commercial buildings, defined as less than 25,000 square feet. More than 90 percent of the buildings in the U.S. fall within this sector with a target market of $100 billion.

Healthcare (Established Companies) – Apri Health, Inc.

Apri Health Inc. (Rochester), combines Data-Assisted MedicineTM with peer-to-peer education to deliver best-in-class data analytics and clinical services. Through partnerships with hospitals, providers and payers, we apply our predictive models to healthcare management and decision-making, enabling the highest level of Value-Based Care. Founded in 2013 to address the over-utilization of blood products, Apri Health has expanded its offerings to include software solutions in the fields of laboratory, radiology and health economics. We translate Big Data into Actionable Intelligence to yield ideal clinical practices and financial savings.

Healthcare (Small and Growing Companies) – GeneSegues Therapeutics

GeneSegues Therapeutics (Minnetonka), invented a proprietary Crystallized Ultra-Small Particle ("CUSP") drug delivery technology that takes RNA-based drugs – right to their target. Our partners (and source of revenue) are drug developers seeking to deliver these breakthrough therapies to the most challenging targets to help stop, and potentially defeat, cancer and other devastating diseases. GeneSegues CUSP technology offers drug developers the proven ability to create and deliver nanocapsule therapeutics three times smaller, precision targeted and more stable than competitive nano-particles. This means that drug discovery companies will now be capable of circumventing the human body’s biological barriers that have thwarted previous drugs. CUSP-based drugs will perform to their fullest potential without being “captured and degraded” – ultimately helping patients.

Internet of Things – NimbeLink

NimbeLink (Plymouth), is the innovation leader for today's cellular-based, machine-to-machine and Internet of Things (IoT) Solutions. Our award-winning Skywire™ embedded modems leverage the latest advances in high speed and low power cellular technologies. Combined with our embedded software and customer support, we enable OEM customers to easily develop end-device certified IoT solutions. Our optional cellular data plans allow your products to connect straight out of the box. By taking the complexity out of cellular product connectivity, we reduce your up-front product development costs and accelerate time to market.

Software (Established Companies) – Sovos Compliance

Sovos Compliance (Minnetonka), delivers technologies to empower businesses to succeed as they navigate the challenges of global compliance. We enable more than 4,500 clients to operate with the confidence to thrive in today’s dynamic regulatory environment. Sovos uses a unique ability to convert knowledge into highly functional, scalable software that seamlessly integrates with a wide array of back-office systems, customer facing applications and information technologies. Our mission is to be a trusted partner in compliance by focusing on delivering deep industry expertise and compliance knowledge through innovative products with remarkable service delivery.

Software (Small and Growing Companies) – Medicom Digital Inc.

Medicom Digital Inc. (Minneapolis), develops evidence-based health and wellness software applications that set the gold standard for online consumer engagement. Our products stratify at-risk populations, empower consumers to make healthy lifestyle choices and provide health care systems and hospitals with the consumer information needed to promote their service lines through targeted messaging. Hospitals, clinics and health care systems use our profilers to promote population health and connect with at-risk consumers. The profilers can help our clients reach their business goals and objectives, such as increasing revenue, growing market share and positioning themselves as community leaders in health and wellness.

Startup – Sentera, LLC

Sentera, LLC (Minneapolis), is a Hardware and Data Management Solutions Company producing drones, high-tech sensors, mobile applications and data management platforms. With more than 200 years of combined remote sensing and UAV experience, Sentera is defining the industry through actions, not words. Sentera solutions help farmers increase yields and decrease environmental impacts. They increase safety in infrastructure inspection. And they are making search and rescue operations more successful. Unlike most UAV companies, Sentera products are being used today by real people to solve real problems. As of June 2016, Sentera equipment captured more than 25 million acres of images.

Workforce Development – Tech Dump Electronics Recycling

Tech Dump Electronics Recycling (Golden Valley), is a fast-growing 501c3 social enterprise providing stable jobs and a learning pathway to self-sufficiency for adults facing barriers to employment. Through recycling and refurbishing consumer and corporate electronics, our on-the-job training program provides a stabilizing stepping stone to gain practical skills and graduate to livable wage employment. Tech Dump responsibly recycles anything with a cable, cord, or battery (except large appliances), with computers recycled for free.

MHTA Foundation Scholarship Recipients

The MHTA Foundation awarded its annual scholarships to undergraduate students who excel in programs geared toward science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. 2016 scholarship recipients include: Justine Boecker of Rosemount; Allison Cordes of Roseville; Catherine Davis of St. Paul; Malik Day of Minneapolis; Mbathio Diagne of Dakar, Senegal; Gabrielle Doran of White Bear Lake; Elliot Doren of St. Paul; Hope Haugstad of Duluth; Lewis Istok of South Bend, Indiana; Paige Meyer of Watkins; Anant Naik of Eagan; Quynh Nguyen of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Bailey Perry of St. Paul; Daniel Peters of Duluth; Kaelt Simpson of Garmishc, Germany; Matthew Stiehm of Northfield; Ingrit Tota of Willmar and Dechen Wangmo of Mcleod Ganj, Dharmasala, Himachal, Pradesh, India.

The 2016 Tekne Awards are made possible by the generous support of its sponsors:

  • Platinum Sponsors: Optum, Thomson Reuters
  • Gold Sponsors: Ecolab, PadillaCRT
  • Tekne Toast Sponsor: Universal Mind
  • Silver Sponsors: AT&T, Demand Chain Systems, MN Cup, Target
  • VIP Reception: Genesis 10
  • Post Event Reception: Computex Technology Solutions
  • Media Sponsor: Twin Cities Business
  • Webcast Sponsor: Implex
  • Website Sponsor: Irish Titan
  • Event Partners: COCO, Medical Alley Association

About Minnesota High Tech Association (MHTA)

MHTA is an innovation and technology association united in fueling Minnesota’s prosperity. We help bring together the people of Minnesota’s science and technology ecosystem and lead the charge in directing science and technology issues to Minnesota’s state capitol. MHTA is the only membership organization that represents Minnesota’s entire science and technology-based economy. MHTA members include organizations of every size − involved in virtually every aspect of science and technology creation, production, application and education in Minnesota. Find out more online at or follow MHTA on Twitter at