Bettering Our Community Through Innovation and Investment
At Nelnet, we are constantly seeking diversification and growth – it’s one of our core values. We take great pride in doing this through innovation and investment in our community. Our various innovations begin inside our own walls, with our Innovation Studio, and span into communities across the Midwest where we make corporate venture and real estate investments
Through our years of experience, we know that our business succeeds when our communities are vibrant. That’s why we are proud to support innovation and improvements in our community by investing in start-ups and real estate that we believe can make a positive impact.
Investments and Start-Ups
Nelnet Ventures invests in young, promising companies, accelerating growth by providing access to our ecosystem, assets, and expertise. We are key collaborators in building the startup ecosystem in the Midwest with active investments in over 50 portfolio companies including Hudl, ALLO, and many more. Nelnet Ventures is actively looking to invest in Series A/B technology startups in markets such as FinTech, SaaS, payments, consumer and commercial lending, and smart home/city infrastructure and in technology areas including AI, Big Data, Voice, and IoT. Typical investments range from $500k-$2M.
Internal innovation is driven by our Innovation Studio framework that helps our teams develop and scale new ideas. The Innovation Studio provides a hub of resources and a center of influence to help manage and de-risk new opportunities.
Through a partnership with Speedway Properties, we are currently involved in a revitalization effort of the Telegraph District in Lincoln. We purchased an outdated building that we are refurbishing so that a portion of our customer contact center can operate there. Additionally, our Lincoln ALLO Communications retail store moved into the district in late 2016.
The vision for the district includes vast expansion, including the addition of restaurants, coffee shops, living and working space, small shops, and more!
Nelnet and Speedway Properties announced a partnership in mid-2016 to complete a major development of Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket, including the addition of a grocery store within a three-building complex. The Canopy Street Market opened in August 2018, with apartments geared toward young professionals and retirees, as well as office space, on the way.
We partnered with Speedway Properties and the founders of FUSE to expand FUSE Coworking, a space in Lincoln’s Historic Haymarket that houses a variety of start-up companies and provides all of the necessary office amenities, including desks, high-speed internet, and complimentary coffee and snacks.
The high-energy coworking space is utilized by companies at various stages of growth, which supports development and networking opportunities. It is also regularly used for community events.
In 2017, Nelnet introduced Rally Workspace, a co-working space in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The convenient suburban location and stunning Rocky Mountain views make Rally Workspace stand out, and has attracted over 125 freelancers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs since the space’s opening. Rally facilitates strong engagement among entrepreneurs, start-ups, and businesses with remote office needs, while offering the perks of an effective coworking space. Nelnet’s continued support of Rally Workspace provides innovators in and around the Denver area an awesome place to do great work — one of Nelnet’s core values.
Nelnet, along with Hudl, WRK LLC, Chief Industries, and Speedway Properties, invested in the construction of a new headquarters for Hudl, a sports video editing software company, located in Lincoln, Nebraska. The seven-story building, located in the west Haymarket at P and Canopy streets, broke ground in the fall of 2015 and opened in the fall of 2017. The Hudl building now houses many of Nelnet's creative minds, including technology teams, startu-ups, Marketing, and Corporate Communications.