By All Means

By All Means

Innovation. Drive. Purpose. Conversations with the entrepreneurs and leaders behind some of Minnesota's most beloved and enterprising brands.... Show More

Episodes

March 3, 2021 52 min
“Video games are an amazing covert teaching mechanism,” says Jules Porter, founder of Seraph 7 Studios, a Minneapolis-based videogame development studio on a mission to fight racism and build empathy by creating diverse characters and games that show the BIPOC community in a positive light. The epiphany hit as she toured Rome for the first time and realized she knew her way around because she had learned the city through a video ...
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February 3, 2021 66 min
Never in modern history has office space been more disrupted than during the Covid-19 pandemic. And as CEOs contemplate how to bring workers back—whether they’ll bring workers back—architect and commercial designer Betsy Vohs is helping businesses reconsider the purpose of the office. “When else do you get a chance like this, to rethink the office?” Vohs is the founder and CEO of Studio BV in Minneapolis, a boutique design firm t...
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Renay Dossman built her career with Fortune 500 companies, moving from Cargill to Target, where she found her passion in food innovation. But after years of traveling the world for food trends, developing products, and eventually taking her expertise to Winn-Dixie where she developed concept stores to serve Black and LatinX neighborhoods, Dossman left the corporate world in search of something more. She found her way to the Neighbo...
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January 6, 2021 58 min
Behind every plant-based burger, oat milk latte, and protein shake is one essential ingredient: pea protein. Without it, there’s no Beyond Meat. Minneapolis-based PURIS, fueled by a $100 million investment from Cargill, is the largest U.S. manufacturer of pea protein, and PURIS CEO Tyler Lorenzen says the company is just getting started. “Anything currently consumed as animal protein, PURIS is going to solve with plants to bui...
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After 15 years at Google, Mary Grove made a sharp career turn that baffled many Silicon Valley insiders. She decided to become a venture capital investor—in Minnesota. “We got a lot of raised eyebrows…it didn’t necessarily make linear sense.” But Grove looked ahead, thinking: “where is the future of the innovation economy going to be written?” Serving as founding director of Google for Startups, supporting entrepreneurs in more t...
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November 25, 2020 62 min
In the 1990s, when Lee Wallace told business schools she was interested in studying the intersection of mission and money, they steered her into public policy. It was a time before B-corps and one-for-one brands. “Purpose” wasn’t the business buzzword it is today. But even armed with that master’s degree in public policy, Wallace continued to believe in the power of doing good while doing well. Eventually she found her way to a for...
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Have you ever come up with what you thought was a really clever social media handle, sure to be your key to fame and fortune, only to find it’s been taken? Ahmed El Shourbagy is the envy of all would-be influencers. He’s the guy who grabbed the handle @dogsofinstagram in 2011. It happened not with a business plan in mind—influencer marketing wasn’t even a thing back then in the early days of Instagram—it was just a fun way to...
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“Sales will take you anywhere.” That skill took Jill Blashack Strahan from a small farm town where she ran a café and didn’t dare to dream much bigger to founder and CEO of national meal prep brand Tastefully Simple. At its peak in 2008, Tastefully Simple hit $143 million in sales with 20,000 sales associates executing home parties in small towns and big cities across the country. Mission: bringing people together to answer that...
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“Our vision is to be a role model for inclusion in the industry,” says Rosemary Ugboajah, founder and CEO of Neka Creative, a Minneapolis-based brand development agency that makes inclusion a centerpiece of every project it takes on through a proprietary process dubbed Inclusivity Marketing. She entered the advertising industry without many preconceptions, having grown up primarily in Nigeria, without television. While in college...
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It’s a good time to be in the business of selling immunity. Minneapolis-based wellness company So Good So You makes plant-based juice shots packed with probiotics that support the immune and digestive system. Each variety is named for the “need’ it addresses: Energy, Sleep, Detox, and the No. 1 seller, Immunity. At the start of 2020, the 2-ounce So Good So You shots were sold at 3,000 stores; now they’re at more than 4,000 stores i...
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July 15, 2020 55 min
Abilitech Medical is on the brink of launching the first-of-its-kind wearable assistive device that makes it possible for patients with upper-limb weakness or injury to use their arms for everyday activities. “This is my imprint on the world,” says founder Angie Conley. Even before the Abiliitech Assist device becomes widely available through hospitals and clinics, it has already won numerous awards including the Tekne Award for in...
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Tammy Lee launched a line of wearable cool therapy medical devices in February, 2020, and one month later, she had to shut down her new company due to Covid-19. It wasn’t the start she dreamed of for Xena Therapies. But then, Lee’s entire career is built on unexpected turns. Lee studied journalism and political science and landed a job as a Washington D.C. news correspondent. She crossed over to politics to become press secretary...
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Aneela Idnani Kumar started pulling out hair from her eyebrows and eyelashes when she was a girl. In her early 20s, she Googled her secret habit and discovered it had a name: trichotillomania. An estimated one in 20 Americans suffer from what Aneela calls “the most common disorder you’ve never heard of.” In 2013, she finally revealed her struggle to her husband Sameer Kumar and together, they set out to find a solution—something t...
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“We do not want to go back to being the way we were,” says Chuck Runyon, co-founder and CEO of Self Esteem Brands, the parent company to Anytime Fitness, Bar Method, Basecamp, and Waxing in the City. Anytime, the largest of the brands, has nearly 5,000 franchise locations on seven continents—all of which had to shut down over the course of about five weeks due to Covid-19. For a company based in Minnesota, Anytime Fitness was ear...
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Anticipating that face masks are going to be a necessary accessory for the foreseeable future, Love Your Melon is ramping up its collection and returning to the buy one, give one model that made the beanie brand famous: for every mask purchased, the company will donate one to someone in the medical community. “Seeing how people are being instructed now to wear them whenever they’re out in public, I don’t think there’s any chance t...
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April 21, 2020 30 min
In the course of three days in March, Punch Pizza went from record sales to shuttering its dozen Twin Cities restaurants and furloughing nearly 400 employees. “It took us by surprise how quickly it happened,” co-owner John Puckett said. With businesses like Punch upended by coronavirus, we're checking in on some of the entrepreneurs who have shared their founder’s stories on past episodes of the podcast to learn how they are ...
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April 15, 2020 47 min
Proozy just may be the biggest overstock deals website you’re not shopping—yet. But hundreds of thousands of people have discovered Proozy, which, like Nordstrom Rack or T.J. Maxx, offers discounts on brand apparel from Nike, Adidas and many others. Unlike its big box competitors, Proozy is strictly e-commerce—emphasizing daily flash deals and relying on analytics to determine its inventory. Based in Eagan, Minn., Proozy hit $40...
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April 8, 2020 55 min
Marco was a typewriter dealer when Jeff Gau landed a sales job with the St. Cloud, Minn. company in 1973, fresh out of college after serving in the U.S. Air Force. He steadily rose through the ranks and helped Marco evolve from selling printers and shredders to businesses into a full-fledged IT services provider with 60 offices throughout the U.S. and more than $400 million in annual revenue. Through the years, Marco has continue...
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His company makes lifestyle products out of wood, but when the coronavirus crisis hit the U.S. in March, Woodchuck USA founder Benjamin VandenWymelenberg immediately started thinking about how he could help. His wood laser cutting machines proved ideal for making the face shields needed by health care professionals. By the end of March, Woodchuck had produced more than 200,000 PPE products. Last summer, Ben shared his founder'...
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On Monday March 16, in the face of a national emergency, John Puckett joined Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz at a press conference announcing that restaurants and bars must close to stop the spread of coronavirus. It's a death blow for many in the hospitality industry, but Puckett said "it's time to hunker down and protect our vital resources." How do you lead through crisis? This conversation from our first episode of By A...
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