May 2, 2019 Newsletter
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Montana High Tech News

50 attend Billings member reception hosted by Nemont and Diamond BTS

Nemont Communications and Diamond BTS hosted 50 Alliance members and Billings-area technology workers at the new Nemont Billings office (Parsec Data Management), with food from the Windmill. Attendees from the Montana High Tech Business Alliance mingled with members of the Yellowstone Tech Alliance and the Montana Bioscience Alliance among others during the evening reception. Photos by Marissa Irene Photography and Katy Spence/MHTBA.
View Photo Album

CONNECT: Billings tech leaders discuss rural broadband and infrastructure

Nemont Communications CEO Mike Kilgore speaks to CEO Roundtable attendees about the challenges and opportunities of rural broadband. Speakers at the roundtable generally agreed that rural communications can be an impediment for growth, but striving to provide quality internet access to all parts of the state can help bring opportunities to smaller communities. Watch for an upcoming article on this roundtable.

PROMOTE: Cardsetter and Triple Tree give lightning talks about their growing companies

Cardsetter co-founders Joshua Toenyes and Jessica Baldwin speak about their startup journey and the recent announcement that they have closed their first pre-seed round investment. Last year, MHTBA board members chose Cardsetter as the wild card competitor in the Early Stage Montana pitch contest.
Triple Tree Partner and Billings native Sam Lucas describes his company's continued growth in building custom software for primarily out-of-state clients. He said Triple Tree just wrapped up their services for one client, which you can read about here. Triple Tree was a 2018 Startup to Watch and also attended TechCrunch Disrupt SF last fall.

ACCELERATE: MHTBA members mingle with telecommunications experts and members of the Yellowstone Tech Alliance

Ken Lutton, President and CEO of Technology by Design and coordinator for the Yellowstone Tech Alliance, chats with Geoff Feiss, General Manager of the Montana Telecommunications Association, during the evening's reception. Lutton said the Yellowstone Tech Alliance is designed to help amplify and connect tech companies in Billings and eastern Montana.

Take Your Startup to the Next Level: Apply for TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco

For the second year, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance is partnering with TechCrunch and the Montana Governor’s Office of Economic Development to send a coalition of high-potential Montana startups to San Francisco from Oct 2-4 for TechCrunch Disrupt SF for a discounted price.

Visit our website to learn more about eligibility and application deadlines. Please email katy.spence[at] with questions about the event or eligibility.
Learn more and apply

Who are the 2019 Montana Companies to Watch?

MHTBA is compiling the 2019 lists of startups and growth companies to watch. We're looking for companies with investment and potential; companies that turn heads or win awards; companies with proven leaders or innovative products. 

Read last year's articles on Startups to Watch and High Growth Companies to Watch
Email nominations

Member News:

GatherBoard Launches app with help of UM Computer Science students

Tech startup GatherBoard has launched an app for their online event calendar platform, which includes the flagship site and 40 more calendars across the country, plus Canada and Mexico. The app will enhance the end-user experience by allowing calendar users to set preferences for their own custom event feed, integrate with other apps on their mobile device like voice calling, personal calendar, ride services and social media, migrate between the different ‘Boards and receive event notifications.

The app grew out of an invitation from the University of Montana’s Blackstone Launchpad and Small Business Development Center, which helps entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life. GatherBoard received advice from Blackstone’s staff about how to solve a core customer problem, which led to the idea for an app built by UM’s Computer Science students’ capstone project that improves the calendar platform’s usability.

In a time where achieving an “experiential lifestyle” tops most people’s life-goals lists, and feelings of alienation, isolation and depression are increasing with excessive time spent on screens and social media, GatherBoard’s calendar software is rooted in the “Tech for Good” movement, implementing a free-standing community events calendaring platform that is designed to unite and strengthen communities facilitating real human connection. 

Read more.

Montana Code School launches new full-time coding bootcamp in Billings

New Full-Time Coding Bootcamp Launches in Billings, MTThe Montana Code School, a provider of coding bootcamps in Missoula and Bozeman, and ROCK 31 the entrepreneurial program operated by Big Sky EDA are pleased to announce the launch of a full time coding bootcamp in Billings this summer.

The 12 week full stack junior developer program will begin June 10 and will be housed in the offices of Zoot Enterprises on Hesper Road. Montana Code Schools programs train individuals with little or no coding experience to be ready for entry level software developer jobs or related career tracks in the high tech industry.

“We’re excited to bring the Montana Code School to Billings.” said Montana Code School Executive Director Paul Gladen. “Over the last three and a half years more than 150 students have graduated from our programs in Missoula and Bozeman with the substantial majority securing tech savvy jobs with many of Montana’s leading and growing high tech companies – including ATG, LumenAd, PrintingForLess, Workiva, Submittable and Zoot Enterprises.”

Read more.

Dating to disasters: Missoula entrepreneurs practice their pitch ahead of state event

By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current

When Taylor Margot looks at today’s dating scene, he’s sees a collective wooing. Once upon a time, it played out in public, though times have changed.

And he thinks he has a solution.

“Historically, almost never did dating happen in a vacuum,” he said. “But modern dating is different, and now it often does happen in a vacuum, and that vacuum is the online dating apps.”

Margot joined three other Missoula entrepreneurs on Wednesday in giving his startup pitch a practice run at 1 Million Cups, using its members as a proving ground ahead of Thursday night’s Early Stage Montana pitch competition.

Back in 1995, Margot said, just 2 percent of new relationships formed online. New data suggests that 39 percent of those relationships now start online, though dating apps aren’t so good at the follow-through.

Margot believes that just 30 percent of dating app users have actually met in person by using the service. Their efforts generally fail at an early stage and those that break through find themselves at a loss for words, unsure of what to say if they say anything at all.

Read the full story, and learn more about Early Stage Montana.

Hellgate Venture Network celebrates 10 years of successful start-ups

Image result for hellgate venture networkBy Mari Hall/Missoula Current

The Hellgate Venture Network celebrated its 10th anniversary on Thursday, acknowledging a now-substantial history of monthly meetings and networking events for hundreds of Montana start-ups.

The organization connects Montana businesses to resources or other local companies that can help with background logistics like finance, hiring and site selection.

“Entrepreneurs have a really rough road, and it’s hard to have somebody to talk to in your organization if you’re the boss. You don’t really have a peer-to-peer network of anybody you can confide in,” Hellgate Venture Network co-founder and Goodworks Ventures CEO Dawn McGee said.

The monthly meetings include a short presentation by an entrepreneur who has overcome a challenge or struggle in the business world. Networking always follows, McGee said. About 900 people have been part of the Hellgate Venture Network community.

Read more.

Montana High Tech Business Alliance: Bozeman-based, women-owned company raises largest seed round in state history (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)
Montana High Tech Business Alliance, Oracle, Yellowstone Growth Partners: As the tech industry grows in Montana, are women growing with it? (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)
ATG/Cognizant, MonTEC, Montana World Trade Center, Missoula Economic Partnership: Growing Missoula’s bioscience industry needs focus on workforce development (Missoula Current)
Blackfoot, rural broadband: Gianforte touts rural broadband in Bozeman visit (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)
Frontier Angels, Early Stage Montana: How Pat LaPointe Helps Montana's Early-Stage Tech Companies Grow (MTPR Can Do)
GTUIT: GTUIT Receives Montana State University EcoStar Pollution Prevention Award for 2019 (News Talk)
Missoula Economic Partnership: Missoula leaders adopt philosophy of “innovation” when problem solving (Missoula Current)
Next Frontier Capital: How to build an investor pipeline and raise a Seed round — a step-by-step guide (Noteworthy)
Purse for the People: Carole Murphy (Montana Standard)
Reflex Protect: Reflex Protect: Missoula-made spray offers non-lethal self-defense option (Missoula Current)
Bozeman airport: Bozeman-Yellowstone Airport likely to see another record year (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)
Bozeman growth: Population growth continues in Gallatin County, up 25% since 2010 (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)
Great Falls business, Missoula business: The Best Small Cities to Start a Small Business (
Missoula airport: More flights, carrier competition drive Missoula airfares to lowest in the state (Missoula Current), Missoula airport considers incentives to airlines to offset state’s aviation fuel tax (Missoula Current), Airport approves incentive package for airlines to soften state increase in jet fuel tax (Missoula Current)
Rural broadband: Accelerating Broadband Deployment (Flathead Beacon)

Welcome New Members:

Janna Lundquist Consulting, Janna Lundquist, Missoula
My Shipping Post, LLLP, Aaste Palczewski, Bozeman

Upcoming Events:

Early Stage MT - statewide. Regional showcase events in Missoula (May 2), Bozeman (May 7), and Billings (May 14). Early Stage MT is open to “Seed” or “A Stage” companies based in Montana and have technology at the core of their offerings. Finalists will have the chance to win up to $50,000 in investment capital at the State showcase and will be able to participate in a HyperAccelerator where they will have access to a broad group of successful entrepreneurs and mentors to coach them on how to grow and scale their business. Learn more and get your free tickets here.
Operational Excellence: 8-Week course - Bozeman. 8-Session SME Lean Bronze Certification Program beginning May 2. Join the only Nationally Recognized Lean Certification Credential and the only avenue to qualify for full membership to the Lean Alliance of the Greater Gallatin Valley Manufacturing Partnership (GGVMP). Learn more and register.
Business Transition Readiness Workshop - Bozeman. May 7, 8 am - 12 pm, S 8th Ave, Jabs Hall, Bozeman. 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. Business owners will learn what transition readiness is, why it matters, and how to improve their personal and business outcomes. Learn more and register.
Doing Business in Africa - webinar. May 8, 10 am - 11 am. The Montana Dept. of Commerce team is working with a contractor in South Africa who helps companies enter or expand into markets in Sub-Sahara Africa, Zurcom International. Richard Zurba, the company’s director, has been working in international trade development in South Africa for over 20 years. Zurcom has staff throughout the region and has specific expertise in the health care and mining industries. Email to get the log-in information.
1 Million Cups Bi-Weekly Meeting - Missoula. May 15. 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.
Hellgate Venture Network meeting - Missoula. May 16, location TBA. HVN facilitates informal networking among entrepreneurs and advisers engaged in building growth businesses in Montana. Future meetings will be on June 20, and July 18. Learn more on the HVN Facebook page.
Montana Code School Full-Time Course - Missoula & Bozeman. Full-time class dates: May 20, 2019 – Aug. 9, 2019; Sept. 16, 2019 – Dec. 6, 2019, Monday-Friday, 9 am - 5 pm. Part-time class dates: April 9, 2019 – Sept. 24, 2019; 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 full-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.
Montana High Tech Business Alliance Reception - Missoula. May 23, 2019, hosted by Blackfoot.
Last Best Conference - Missoula. May 30-31, 2019. LBCon is the only experience in Montana where eight, national speakers come together with hundreds of amazing people to share their stories of courage and what it takes to pursue their passion.  LBCon was inspired by the incredible startup activity in Montana, across the state, and the Mountain West. The Kauffman Foundation has ranked Montana as #1 in startup activity four years running. Stakeholders from the across the state have worked tirelessly to get this conference off the ground. Modeled after South by Southwest in Austin, Texas and the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon, Last Best Conference seeks to inspire pursuits of passion that leave lasting impact. This Missoula-based conference hopes to create community, embody creativity, and cultivate courage. Learn more and register.
1 Million Cups Bi-Weekly Meeting - Missoula. June 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.
1 Million Cups Monthly Meeting - Bozeman. June 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.
Big Sky Dev Con - Bozeman. June 8, The Commons, Bozeman. A Montana state-wide tech conference for developers hosted by Montana Programmers. Tickets now available on the website.
Educators' Confluence - Missoula. June 14-16, Holiday Inn - Parkside, Missoula. Gather together with other PreK-12 educators to increase your resiliency and reconnect with yourself and your profession. This Confluence combines three themes — or “streams”— that contribute to that resiliency: Learning, Connecting & Rejuvenating. Dive into this refreshing experience to meet, mix, share, and collaborate with colleagues and stream facilitators. You’ll get to “go deep” into cross-cutting topics driving today’s most innovative practices. Learn more.
Cybersecurity Workshop Training - Bozeman. July 2, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm, Free. Northrop Grumman, in collaboration with the USC Center for Economic Development and the Air Force Mentor-Protégé Program, is offering free cybersecurity training to small businesses nationwide. They are holding 40 workshops across the country, and the only workshop being held in Montana will be in Bozeman on July 2. The primary purpose of the all-day workshop is to ensure that small businesses are aware of the cybersecurity requirements mandated under the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) and understand the risks associated with safeguarding controlled unclassified information. Learn more about the Cybersecurity Workshop Training.
Big Sky Dreamin - Bozeman. July 18-19, the Rialto. A Salesforce conference in the Big Sky State. More information to follow.
Past Newsletters: 
04/18/2019 - Trends Impacting MT Tech Firms in 2019; Apply for TechCrunch Disrupt SF; Nominate Companies to Watch; Apply for ESMT
04/04/2019 - Missoula outdoor tourism marketing firm TOMIS raises $800k; Apprenticeships in MT; iResponse named American Indian Business of the Year; DBTS products
03/21/2019 - Photos: Bozeman RMB reception; MT tech hits $2B; ESMT Pitch Competition; KOA names O'Rourke CEO; Next Frontier VCs invest $141M; Cognizant in Missoula
03/07/2019 - WGM engineering innovation; Startups save on Disrupt; Blackmore makes name in photonics; ESMT accelerates growth; Code Girls competition; TEDx Bozeman
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