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Arena to host startup conference

Arena to host startup conference


Pinnacle Bank Arena will play host to what its founders hope will be a national startup conference this summer.

Econic, a Lincoln-based consulting firm that helps corporations engage with startups, is bringing the Inside/Outside Innovation Summit to Lincoln June 19-21.

The summit is designed to bring together high-growth startups and corporations looking to innovate with the goal of creating new technologies and business models and discovering new talents.

Brian Ardinger, co-founder of Econic and the former director of the NMotion startup accelerator, said that the summit is the first of its kind in the region, showcasing leaders in the world of startup and corporate innovation with an aim of economic growth, businesses development and job creation.

“Companies in every industry are looking to innovate faster and more effectively -- inside and outside the organization," Ardinger said. "The summit is a way to speed up these collisions and connections for both startups and corporate innovators.”

Ardinger said he's hoping to attract startups from not only across the U.S. but internationally as well.

So far, most of the corporate sponsors are from Lincoln, including Nelnet, Ameritas, Allo, Select Lincoln, Assurity, Lincoln CVB and TenDot, but he said he's working with corporate sponsors from other states and hopes to make announcements in the coming weeks.

Ardinger said innovation is happening so quickly these days that companies, especially large ones, have a hard time keeping up. To try to innovate, those companies typically follow two tracks, Ardinger said: They either look to internal research and develop teams to come up with innovative ideas or they look to buy startups.

Ardinger is part of a podcast called Inside/Outside, which is where the name of the summit comes from. It's also a nod to the theory that companies have to look both inside and outside for innovation.

Ardinger said the summit will feature hands-on learning sessions, a $100,000 investment pitch competition and a Startup Showcase and Demo Pit designed to foster better engagement between startups and larger organizations. More than 100 high-growth startups from various industries will be featured in the showcase. There also will be a lineup of well-known speakers.

Startups must apply by April 30 to be considered for inclusion in the showcase. Selected startups will be matched with corporate innovators and fellow startup founders (think investor, customer and talent speed-dating). Startups not interested in the showcase or pitch competition are also encouraged to attend.

Ardinger said he is expecting anywhere from 500-1,000 companies and individuals to attend the summit.

For more information or to register, go to

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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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