At Matter, we believe good things happen when you mix talent, energy and resources with opportunity.

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Matter Worldwide

We seek to Create, Invent & Improve.

We build viable businesses within a culture filled with intelligent creativity. We like to apply new thinking to old models, and we don’t settle for results that are anything short of groundbreaking.

We like things that matter.

Full Service Music Salon

Award winning work from a select group of sonic geniuses, Rumble is a full-service music salon, providing original music for all media — Television, Film, Web, Apps… Rumble covers all of it.

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Driving Digital Innovation

Matter’s digital innovation lab is a business accelerator. Strategizing, creating, analyzing, developing, launching…

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Pioneering. News. Stacks.

A pioneering online and broadcast news aggregator with a scalable, profitable business model, BringMeTheNews understands that newshounds want content, context and filtration they can trust, and that leading brands are seeking meaningful connections with consumers.

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Rethinking Education

Sophia is our peer-to-peer learning platform that brings education to everyone. By inverting the teacher-student paradigm, Sophia makes both classroom and homework time exponentially more effective, accessible, and affordable.

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Don Smithmier

Don Smithmier
Managing Partner & Co-Founder

Don Smithmier is a curious blend of calculations and creativity, keeping the Matter universe focused, on-task, on-budget and all work on-point. Don believes in the unassailable reliability of smart scrutiny and the high-beam examination of all things we create, build and release to the world. Don helped light the fuse under Capella Education Company, which broke out with some of the web's first successful online marketing initiatives. He’s highly regarded not only for his business acumen, but for his musical talents. This combination of left and right hemispheres has resulted in his band, Rocket Club, landing two singles on the Billboard Country charts in 2010 — a big win for an independent band from the North Country.

AJ Meyer

AJ Meyer
Partner & Co-Founder

AJ is a veteran entrepreneur, inspiring big ideas, rallying talent and developing strategy through execution and beyond. He digs deep to identify opportunity and improvements to the status quo. AJ began his career in the agency world and founded a pioneering web design firm during the digital dawn of 1994, where he spent more than 15 years immersed in digital space. As the GoKart Driver, AJ incubates new ideas for how web and mobile applications can optimize business performance. A co-founder of Matter, AJ taps deep reserves of entrepreneurial, creative and analytical thinking. His incurable optimism and decent sense of humor also play in the uniquely collaborative culture that is Matter.

Rick Meyer

Rick Meyer
Partner & Co-Founder

Rick is part contrarian and part pop-culture anthropologist. He’s genetically coded for creative, but keeps a sharply focused eye on the big picture. When the situation calls for a different perspective, Rick provides it with his acrobatic ability to anticipate the other side, the alternate view and the until-now unconsidered. As one of Matter’s co-founders and creative director at Rumble, Rick draws on more than 25 years of experience in the music and film industries. He’s produced a heap of groundbreaking work for clients including Target, DC Shoes, Porsche, BMW, Sesame Street and many more. He’s also composed seven original albums in just under three years, including one self-proclaimed to be the best record to listen to while you try to sleep on a 14-hour flight to Sydney.

Jess Ford

Jess Ford
Partner & Co-Founder

Jess is a speaker of truth and the voice of reason within a world of fiery opinions, unruly creatives and visionary thinkers. He has a knack for synthesizing complex threads, and constantly pushes any discussion toward common ground and action. Jess’s background as a musician and manager slash talent booker for big stars, legendary performers and iconic venues in New York, Minneapolis and Boston have given him a severe allergy to outsize ego and healthy aversion to the celebrity machine. However, his passion for music and genuine delight in the creative life remain pure and blissfully unembittered. A co-founder of Matter and Executive Producer at Rumble, Jess promotes, strategizes, and wrangles ideas and music for commercial spots and plenty of alternative media for clients such as Target, Herman Miller, DC Shoes, Macy’s, and more.


A new model for online learning

By WENDY LEE, Star Tribune

Students who struggle with math homework may have a devil of a time trying to get help from their parents.

They could turn to the Internet, but how would they know which websites are accurate?

The Minneapolis start-up Sophia hopes to provide a solution. The company, named after the Greek word for wisdom, has an online platform that allows people to upload educational videos, lectures and slide shows on topics that range from U.S. history to chemistry.

Click here to read the full article at the Star Tribune.


Four-way Entrepreneur Don Smithmier: They Told Him
to “Focus,” and Luckily, He Didn’t Listen

By MICHELLE BRUCH, the line media

Don Smithmier, the managing partner of Matter Worldwide, is a busy guy. In the last three months alone, he announced two new business ventures and flew to Cancun to perform with his country music band.

Smithmier is a founder or equity partner in four very different companies that operate under one roof in the Warehouse District. The first is Rumble, a company that creates commercial jingles for clients like Target Corp. The second is GoKart Labs, a digital innovation and web design firm. The news aggregator BringMeTheNews joined the office to rent space and acquire help with its business plan. Launching in March is Sophia, a free online educator targeted at students trying to Google their way through classes. Matter Worldwide is the new umbrella company that encompasses all of these startups.

“I joke a lot that this office has become the physical manifestation of my weird brain,” Smithmier said. “I love music, I love journalism, I love education, I love marketing and technology … I can walk around this space, and it’s a giant playground for me.”

Click here to read the full article at the line media.


Rick Kupchella: Bring Me The News


MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Rick Kupchella was one of the most well-known investigative reporters in the Twin Cities. He also anchored the weekend news at KARE-TV. Now, he looks ahead to the future of his latest success, Bring Me The News.

The website has been up and running for 18 months. He, along with his staff of 15, delivers information through his website, radio broadcasts and social networks.

His team of experienced journalists takes news from 400 established sources such as WCCO-TV, Minnesota Public Radio and the Star Tribune and posts it on the Bring Me The News website.

“The rate of engagement that we find for our sponsors online is at least 10 times the norm,” he said.

According to the website tracker, 20,000 people visited his site in December.

Click here to read the full article at CBS.


Capella Education Company Invests in Sophia, an Innovative
Education Technology Startup Company


Capella Education Company (NASDAQ: CPLA), a provider of exclusively online post-secondary education through its wholly owned subsidiary Capella University ( has invested in an innovative startup company called Sophia - a social teaching and learning platform that integrates education with technology. Sophia was designed to connect people who want to learn with people who want to teach, and is expected to become a tool to help support current and potential Capella students as well as the general public. The platform, located at, is currently in beta and accessible by invite only, but will be available to the general public in early March 2011.

"We are excited about the long-term possibilities that Sophia offers. This is a new way to think about how learning can take place, and it aligns with Capella's mission of educational access and history of innovation," said J. Kevin Gilligan, Capella's Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. "This investment is part of our long-term strategy for Capella."

Click here to read the full article at


From four fledgling enterprises, one creative incubator to
bind them

At Matter Worldwide, a quartet of young firms achieve harmony under one roof.

By DAVID PHELPS, Star Tribune

From the fifth floor of the Wyman-Partridge Building in the Minneapolis Warehouse District, fledgling Matter Worldwide has cobbled together an interlocking organization out of four seemingly disparate firms that combine marketing, news gathering and education.

Oh, yeah, and throw in a recording studio.

And, by the way, one of the four partners is a member of a country band with two chart-making hits.

"We're not a company culture. We want to nurture a creative, entrepreneurial culture," said Matter chair Don Smithmier, the lead singer for Rocket Club (the country band) and a former vice president of business management at Capella University. "Each company needs to stand on its own financially. But each benefits from being here together."

Click here to read the full article at

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