August 8, 2019 Newsletter
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Montana High Tech News

Zoot hosts summer Alliance reception in Bozeman

Zoot Enterprises hosted 100 business leaders on July 17 for a CEO Roundtable discussion and member reception. Attendees enjoyed beer, wine, and hors d'oeuvres in Zoot's two-level foyer, which featured photographs by a Montana artist.

Zoot Enterprises is a global finance tech company providing origination, acquisition, and decision management solutions to the nation’s top financial institutions. Zoot’s clients include four of the world’s 10 largest banks. Today, more than 250 people work at the sprawling campus in Bozeman, with more employees in Billings. Zoot was named a Top Tech Employer in 2018.

Photos by Jessie Moore Photography.
View the photo album

CONNECT: Tech and manufacturing leaders connect with bioscience, nonprofit, government reps and more

Alliance members mingled with attendees from bioscience, photonics, AdTech, FinTech, and software companies, investors, and representatives from area nonprofits and national government entities at July's meeting. Folks traveled from cities across the state, including Billings, Helena, Lewistown, Missoula, Kalispell, and Rocky Boy.

PROMOTE: TechLink and MyVillage give lightning talks about their growing companies

TechLink Executive Director Brett Cusker describes TechLink's growth and opportunities for private companies to license technology from partners such as the Department of Defense. With the Montana tech boom, Cusker said TechLink has grown from 14 employees and a budget of $2 million to 42 employees and a budget of $9 million in the last three years and added the Department of Veteran Affairs as a new partner. He anticipates the Bozeman-based firm will soon add the Departments of Energy and Homeland Security as future partners. Cusker, an MSU alum and retired Air Force officer, has worked with TechLink since 2016.
Erica Mackey, founder and CEO of MyVillage, tells her story about building a better childcare solution after experiencing the issues of finding care for her firstborn. Founded in 2017, MyVillage is a platform designed to empower educators to create and run childcare services from the comfort of their own homes, helping them navigate operational issues like setting up a website or filing for insurance. In April, the Bozeman company closed a $5.95 million seed round, the largest ever closed by a Montana company. 

MyVillage was recently named a 2019 Montana High-Growth Company to Watch.

ACCELERATE: Execs discuss business solutions to Montana's childcare shortage

Deborah Neuman, Director of Funders for Montana's Children, speaks about Montana's need for better childcare policies and options at the CEO Roundtable discussion. The conversation featured testimonials from Suzie Lalich, Director of Employee Success at PFL, and Rebekah Nelson, Director of Employee Benefits at Zoot, and Chris Nelson, Founder of Zoot.
Rob Grunewald, Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, also spoke about his organization's research into the need for early education, and Erica Mackey, cofounder and CEO of MyVillage described how her tech startup is tackling the need for more childcare options in Montana and Colorado.

Watch for an upcoming article about the conversation.

Quiq receives $12.5M investment to grow digital engagement platform, add sales, marketing, and engineering jobs in Bozeman

By Katy Spence

Why can’t you text a company just as easily as you can text a friend?

That’s the problem Mike Myer wanted to fix when he co-founded Quiq, a Bozeman-based startup building an enterprise customer engagement  platform. In late July, Foundry Group led the $12.5 million Series B investment into Quiq. The group was introduced to Quiq by Next Frontier Capital’s Will Price, which has also invested in the company.

Myer said the investment confirms the need for Quiq’s platform and paves the way for future developments that will make customer communications easier and more intuitive.

“This investment validates our vision that digital engagement channels, like messaging and chat, are the future of consumer communications and that asynchronous messaging will be the foundation of the next generation enterprise contact center,” Myer said in a press release.

Quiq will use the funding to continue building out the platform and make it “smarter” with bots and artificial intelligence, according to the press release. Myer added that the company is looking for more convenient and innovative ways to engage customers through messaging.

“It’s my belief that more and more of what today happens on the phone or on a website will happen inside a messaging conversation, either with a human or a bot,” Myer said.

For example, Quiq is developing a feature that will allow customers to shop, add items to a cart, and check out all within a messaging window where they are chatting with a company representative. 

The company is also planning to grow their team of 40 by about 50 percent in the next year, increasing their engineering and marketing teams in Bozeman, and sales teams around the country.

Read more.

Member News:

LumenAd develops digital marketing platform and grows 2X each year from Montana

LumenAd’s Founder and CEO Ryan Hansen has a focused niche in the shifting landscape of digital marketing, and an ideal place to grow his business in Missoula, Montana. Photo via Innovate Montana.
By Innovate Montana/Governor's Office of Economic Development

LumenAd’s Ryan Hansen comes from family of serial entrepreneurs in South Dakota, and - in his words- grew up completely unfamiliar with the idea of a traditional 9-5 job. Throughout his childhood, Ryan saw risk taking, hard work, and how it pays off in the end. Not surprisingly, he decided early on that entrepreneurship was his path.

From the first time he arrived in Missoula on a college visit tour, he knew the growing city with a serious business hustle and great access to outdoor recreation was the place he wanted to call home. He graduated from the University of Montana in 2009 with a degree in accounting, and went to work for Montana Community Development (now MoFi ), a Montana/Idaho organization that provides access to capital for economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs. At MoFi, Ryan cut his teeth on financing and understanding the realities of running a small biz.  

Read more.

Register now for the UM Computer Science Career Fair on October 17

What: Computer science career fair
When: 10am-4pm, Thursday, October 17
Where: University Center (UC) atrium, 32 Campus Drive, Missoula

Register now to attend the University of Montana's annual campus-wide career fair for high tech full-time, part-time, and internship positions, hosted by the UM Computer Science Department. Several hundred students attend every year from various majors, including computer science, business, and management information systems.
Register now

Big Sky Care Connect, Montana’s statewide Health Information Exchange, seeks proposals for onboarding consulting services

Big Sky Care Connect (BSCC) is a health information exchange (HIE) organization established to enable enhanced sharing of clinical data, behavioral health data, determinants of care data, claims data, genomic and ancestral data, and other data among providers, payers, and patients across the state of Montana. 

In this request, BSCC is seeking a consulting firm that can bring subject matter experts and specialized consulting services to drive procurement, implementation, vendor management, project management, and bring both technical and clinical expertise to every aspect of the BSCC program. 

Read the full document here: Request for Proposal: Health Information Exchange Onboarding Services

Special offer: Alliance members eligible for a discount for the 2019 Missoula Chamber Annual Banquet, featuring Daymond John

Alliance members can register and receive the Chamber member discount for the October banquet. Register now on the Missoula Chamber website.

Startups and mentors: Register now for Early Stage Montana HyperAccelerator in September

Applications are open for Montana tech startups to apply for the Early Stage Montana HyperAccelerator, September 9–13 in Billings. Early stage tech startups should apply for the opportunity for training, mentorship, and financial support.

ESMT is also looking to expand their mentor base. Their current mentors are successful entrepreneurs and senior corporate executives who have worked in large and small organizations across the country and around the world.  

Learn more on their website.
Montana High Tech Business Alliance, Alosant, Alter Enterprise, DataSmart Health Solutions, Figure, MyVillage, Superior Traffic Services, Vision Aerial, XY Planning Network/AdvicePay: Three Missoula firms make Montana High Tech Alliance’s list of companies to watch (Missoula Current), Montana tech alliance names up and coming businesses, five in Bozeman (Bozeman Daily Chronicle), Tech alliance lists Montana companies to watch (Daily Inter Lake), Business Buzz: New restaurants open in Merc; local tech companies on the rise (Missoulian)
Montana Chamber of Commerce, BBER: UM economist discusses workforce shortages, possible solutions at Bozeman seminar (Bozeman Daily Chronicle) 
Cowboy Cricket Farms: Chomping on Crickets (G.I.) 
JCCS: Moving Helena forward: Here are the IR's 20 Under 40 winners for 2019 (Helena Independent Record) 
Missoula airport: Missoula airfares lowest in Montana; closing in on national average (Missoula Current) 

Welcome New Members:

AstroHire, Ron Brien, Phoenix
Dillon Software, Sean Dillon, Whitefish
Equity Catapult, Steve Bendzak, Bozeman
Eric Hathaway, Bozeman
TEKsystems, Austin LeSage, Bozeman
Variant, Matt Parker, Whitefish

Upcoming Events:

Hellgate Venture Network meeting - Missoula. Aug. 15. HVN facilitates informal networking among entrepreneurs and advisers engaged in building growth businesses in Montana. Future meetings will be on Sept. 19 and Oct. 17. Learn more on the HVN Facebook page.
Tech Bites: Cybersecurity for Montana Manufacturers - Missoula. August 15. Manufacturing companies, in particular, small and mid-sized organizations, are becoming more susceptible to cyberattacks including data breaches. Join MMEC and Morrison Maierle for a free program and lunch to learn more about developing actionable, flexible strategies to secure your present-day and future success. Learn more and register.
1 Million Cups Bi-Weekly Meeting - Missoula. August 21. Meets the first and third Wednesday each month at 9:00 am. Please note the new location will be in the Southgate Mall in the Leonard + Bonnie Hamilton Community Room, located in a hallway near JC Penney, in-between metroPCS and Tradehome. Start your morning with coffee and start your business with 1MC Missoula, a place to percolate your startup. Entrepreneurship runs through it. For more information visit the website or Facebook page.
Business Transition Readiness Workshop - Missoula:  August 27, Goodworks Ventures, 129 W Alder St, Missoula. A half-day workshop designed to help business owners, especially those in manufacturing, achieve more successful transitions. Montana’s first and only certified exit planning adviser will help owners identify action steps to begin “de-risking” their businesses, increase value, and improve their transition outcomes. Transition readiness is “just” good business, and owners who commit to becoming more transition ready will enjoy greater financial success, better legacy outcomes, and increased personal fulfillment.  Business owners will learn what transition readiness is, why it matters, and how to improve their personal and business outcomes. Learn more and register.
UM Student Employment Fair 2019 - Missoula. Sept. 5, 9:00am - 2:00pm, University Center Ballroom, 32 Campus Road. Career Success at the University of Montana invites jobseekers and employers to attend this employment fair. This is an excellent opportunity for recruiters to network with students to fill employment opportunities. Log into Handshake to register or contact or call 406-243-2239 for assistance.
1 Million Cups Monthly Meeting - Bozeman. Sept. 5. Meets the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 am at Red Tractor Pizza, Bozeman. Creating conversation around Bozeman startups, business development, and economic growth in the most entrepreneurial state in the nation (plus, coffee). For more information and application to present, visit the website.
1 Million Cups Bi-Weekly Meeting - Missoula. Sept. 5. Meets the first and third Wednesday each month at 9:00 am. Please note the new location will be in the Southgate Mall in the Leonard + Bonnie Hamilton Community Room, located in a hallway near JC Penney, in-between metroPCS and Tradehome. Start your morning with coffee and start your business with 1MC Missoula, a place to percolate your startup. Entrepreneurship runs through it. For more information visit the website or Facebook page.
Montana High Tech Business Alliance Reception - Kalispell. Sept. 10, 2019, hosted by Glacier Bank.
32nd MSU Annual Fall Career Fair - Bozeman. October 2, 2019 - Networking Events; October 3, 2019 - Career Fair, in all SUB Ballrooms; October 4, 2019 - Interview Day. Join MSU for the 32nd Annual Fall Career Fair. Students and alumni from all majors and year in school should attend to meet with recruiters from organizations large and small regarding internships and full-time positions. Employers are invited you to attend to meet with qualified students for your internship and full-time employment opportunities. Consider the full-spectrum of your organization needs - MSU has over 130 majors in Agriculture, Arts & Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Education, Engineering, Health & Human Development, Letters & Sciences, and Nursing. Learn more and register.
Montana Code School Part-Time Course - Missoula & Bozeman. Part-time class dates: Oct. 8, 2019 – April 14, 2020; Location: Missoula & Bozeman, Tuesday & Thursday for 6 months, 6pm – 9pm + 1 immersive weekend a month. Financing available. Montana Code School’s part-time immersive program gives you the skills and fundamentals you need to land a job as a full-stack Jr. Web Developer. Contact 406-219-1392 or Learn more here.
2019 Chamber Annual Banquet - Missoula. October 9, Cocktails at 4:30 pm, Banquet at 6 pm. Featuring guest speaker Daymond John, known for judging on Shark Tank. Learn more and register here.
2019 Innovate Montana Symposium - Butte. October 14th - 16th, 8 am, Clarion Inn Copper King Convention Center. With the Butte Local Development Corporation, Innovate Montana will host 400 entrepreneurs, small business owners, and business leaders to ignite innovation and inspire entrepreneurship in Montana communities. Learn more and register. 
UM Computer Science Career Fair - Missoula. October 17, 10am-4pm in the University Center (UC) atrium (the center portion of the building on the ground floor). The University of Montana Computer Science Department is hosting its annual campus-wide career fair for high tech full-time, part-time, and internship positions. Several hundred students attend from various majors. Companies interested in attending can register on the event's website.
Value Stream Mapping for Brewing - Missoula. October 30, Imagine Nation Brewing. This class will teach you how to Value Stream Map any process, to identify, characterize, and quantify wastes, and convert those wastes to real dollars.  It will provide practical strategies, tools, and techniques for incorporating environmental considerations, improving business results and adding value to your organization. Sponsorship opportunities are also available for this program. Learn more and register.

Find more events at

Past Newsletters: 
07/25/2019 - 2019 MT High-Growth Companies to Watch; Bozeman's Quiq raises $12M for customer engagement platform; MSU wins $750K EDA grant to support tech startups
07/11/2019 - Native students in STEM; Alliance membership update; Linn Grove Growth Funds MT investment; Sova LLC & Blue Marble acquisition; ESMT Sept accelerator
06/27/2019 - Cybersecurity tips from MT experts; PFL expansion in Livingston; Early Stage MT HyperAccelerator; Big Sky Dreamin' Salesforce conference in Bozeman
06/13/2019 - Improving rural broadband; SoFi brings high tech to Helena; LaPointe on ACA board; MHTBA discount for Big Sky Dreamin'; Cybersecurity workshop July 2
Click to view more past newsletters.

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Montana High Tech Business Alliance
1121 E Broadway St, Suite 108
Missoula, MT 59802
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Montana High Tech Business Alliance · 1121 E Broadway St, Suite 108 · Missoula, MT 59802 · USA