Startup Sunrise marks a new era for entrepreneurial connections in Sioux Falls

On the first Wednesday of every month, Startup Sioux Falls hosts an exciting event geared toward connecting and inspiring local entrepreneurs — Startup Sunrise. 

“When we retired 1 Million Cups in 2022, we decided to take some time to assess the evolving interests and needs of the startup community before launching a new event,” said Sara Lum, vice president of Startup Sioux Falls.

“With Startup Sunrise, we hope to create a gathering for entrepreneurs to connect over coffee, learn from other founders’ experiences, and gain inspiration to continue the hard work of starting a business.” 

The event opens at 8:00 a.m. with a dedicated half-hour for coffee and socializing. Attendees can start their day with the complimentary ‘Rise & Shine’ coffee blend, provided by The Source and roasted exclusively for Startup Sunrise. 


Each month, Startup Sunrise features a local entrepreneur as a greeter, there to welcome guests and facilitate connections. The inaugural gathering on September 6 featured brand photographer and creative educator, Maddie Peschong, as its greeter.

Every event also includes a local arts element, thanks to a partnership with the Washington Pavilion’s Live & Local series. Attendees in September enjoyed a preview performance by hip-hop artist Gabriel Night Shield.


Once everyone has had a chance to fuel up on coffee, the agenda shifts to Founder Stories. Two founders or business leaders share five-minute presentations, followed by a facilitated conversation about the theme of the month. September’s event was geared toward the theme of “Igniting Innovation,” and speakers were Melissa Goodwin, executive vice president of Innovation Labs, and Peter Burghardt, executive director of The Batchery.

Andy Ott, founder of IT company, Verity Networks, appreciated the value provided by those intentional elements.

“Startup Sioux Falls gathers an immense and diverse group of entrepreneurs at its events, and I'm excited to meet them so that I can keep the conversation going between founders. The community that Startup Sioux Falls has created will likely be one of the largest factors when I look back in 10 years and consider how Verity Networks got to where it is,” he said.

Watch the news story on the first Startup Sunrise event


Startup Sunrise will focus on a specific topic or theme each month — the October event is all about evolving family businesses featuring speakers, restauranteur Riccardo, whose businesses include R Wine Bar and Maribella Ristorante, and Anthony (AJ) Saigh, CFO for Burwell Enterprises, Inc. Other upcoming themes include startup to scale, builders, health and fitness, and “New to Sioux Falls.”

After the conversation concludes, attendees are welcome to stay for free coworking until noon — an excellent opportunity to check out the space and see what being a member of Startup Sioux Falls is all about. 

“Startup Sunrise was created to fuel innovation, forge new partnerships and connections, and ignite problem-solving utilizing the latest advances in technology. We can talk abstractly about innovation and technology until we’re blue in the face, or we can choose to engage like-minded change agents with a shared passion for implementing solutions,” said Brienne Maner, president of Startup Sioux Falls.

Don’t miss the next Startup Sunrise on Wednesday, October 4.

Startup Sunrise is sponsored by Startup Sioux Falls’ Builder Level Sponsors: Boyce Law Firm, USF Entrepreneurial Studies Program, Eide Bailly, First Bank & Trust, First National Bank in Sioux Falls, First PREMIER Bank, Homegrown Capital, MarketBeat, Midwest Employee Benefits, Pendar Properties, Sanford Health Plan, Tiger29 and Voyage Federal Credit Union.