The roof of the Hudl building in the Haymarket was the perfect spot Thursday to announce the newest expansion of Nebraska's efforts to help startup companies.
NMotion, the Lincoln-based startup incubator, announced an infusion of $3.7 million in new investment that will help it expand beyond the Capital City.
Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird said the organization will be opening an office in Omaha and offering "new support for startups across the state."
She referenced the 1990s glory days of Husker football, when the offensive line was known as the "pipeline" that created space for "skilled players to accelerate into the open field and make dynamic things happen."
"Today, we're here to announce another kind of pipeline," Gaylor Baird said. "One that will increase investments in our local startups and establish a solid foundation for entrepreneurs to continue to transform and grow our city and our state."
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NMotion a couple of years ago partnered with gener8tor, a Wisconsin-based startup incubator, to provide $100,000 to five Nebraska startups each year. The additional money will allow it to more than double the amount, providing investments to 24 homegrown companies over the next two years.
Maggie Brickerman, a partner with genera8tor, said the expansion means NMotion "will be building more companies from scratch in Nebraska over the next two years than anywhere in the country" where gener8tor has a presence.
"With Lincoln, Omaha, and greater Nebraska working together, the entire state will experience the empowerment and investments that NMotion provide."
The new Omaha location will be in the Millwork Commons, a neighborhood in downtown aimed at tech and creative types.
Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said in a statement that bringing NMotion to Omaha "provides our city with a critical economic development tool that will create opportunities for Omaha-grown innovation to start, stay and thrive in our community."
The expansion of NMotion also will mean more opportunities for companies to hit it big.
Dan Hoffman, CEO of Invest Nebraska, which helps fund the investments made in NMotion companies, said 10 of the 46 that have gone through the program have gone on to get outside investment totaling around $30 million.
"We're excited to see what this next two years leads to," he said.
Perhaps it will lead to a company growing as big as Hudl.
The sports video analysis company, which has more than 3,000 employees across the globe, hosted Thursday's news announcement on the top floor of its Lincoln's headquarters building.
Hudl CEO David Graff pointed out that in the company's early years — it got its start in 2006 — while it had lots of informal support, it didn't get to benefit from a "structured support system" like NMotion.
"I think it's awesome that Lincoln and the greater state of Nebraska have that now," he said.
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