July 11, 2019 Newsletter
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Montana High Tech News

Mapping the Course for Montana Native American Students in STEM

Students participate in the first cohort of the Montana American Indian Math and Science Program (MT-AIMS) at UM. Photo via UM News Service.
By Christina Henderson

A two-week program for 7th and 8th graders taught by faculty at the University of Montana this June offered hands-on activities designed to get students excited about STEM fields. The 20 campers – a majority from Montana’s Blackfeet Reservation in Browning and five from the Navajo Nation – made up the first cohort of the donor-funded Montana American Indian Math and Science Program (MT-AIMS).

Over the first three days, kids built their own computer – which they got to take home at the end of the camp if they pledged to finish Algebra I by the end of 8th grade.

Campers learned to code Python to fly drones, gained engineering skills by building bridges, and explored biology with specimens collected from the Clark Fork River. The middle schoolers also got a taste of college life— sleeping in dorms, eating in the Food Zoo, and hiking the M trail just off-campus.

Dr. Aaron Thomas, associate professor of chemistry and director of Indigenous Research and STEM Education at the University of Montana, modeled MT-AIMS after a successful program in Alaska to expose students to concepts “a step beyond what they’ve learned in the classroom or learned in books.”

“The goal was to give them an idea of STEM as something they could do in the future,” Thomas said. “To see themselves studying aquatic insects or forestry. Planting seeds for things they could do down the road.”

The UM program is intended not only to help fill a vital workforce need in Montana, but also to address the underrepresentation of Native Americans in STEM fields.

Read more

Video: Alliance explains changes to membership levels and benefits

We're adding three new membership levels and discontinuing the free-level membership. Here's a short message to explain why we're making these changes.

Check out the new membership levels, and feel free to email us with questions or updates.

Last day to register: Bozeman Reception and CEO Roundtable, July 17, 2019, 5-7pm, hosted by Zoot Enterprises

Last year's summer Bozeman reception drew attendees from all around the state. Photo by Katy Spence/MHTBA
 Networking for Montana High Tech Business Alliance members & guests
When:  Wednesday, July 17, 5:00-7:00 pm
Where:  Zoot Enterprises, 555 Zoot Enterprises Lane, Bozeman, MT 59718 Map

You're invited to join the Montana High Tech Business Alliance for an evening of networking and conversation as our guest. Beer, wine, and appetizers will be served. Significant others are welcome.

We ask companies who have attended an Alliance event in the past to please join as a member before registering.

If you have any questions, please contact Maddy Ouellette at maddy.ouellette[at]

Register Now

Member News:

Linn Grove Growth Funds announces first Montana company investment

In June 2019,  Linn Grove Growth Funds announced a seed investment in Restoration Beef Company (RBC), headquartered in Bozeman, MT. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Dennis O’Brien, a managing director of Linn Grove shared, “As a Montana resident myself, I have long desired to find Montana companies that fit our fund’s interest in early-stage companies in our target industries and our region. As RBC completes some market research, asset designs and partner agreements, we will share more of our vision with the public.”

Founded in 2010, Linn Grove Growth Funds (also, “Linn Grove Venture Partners, LLC,) focuses on equity investment in early stage agricultural, food and health companies. The fund has a deep network of investors in Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana and the Canadian Prairie Provinces. It seeks to find inventors and entrepreneurs in the northern Great Plain region with superior solutions for significant unmet needs. The company is currently raising and investing capital from Linn Grove Angel Fund 3.

Read the full Linn Grove newsletter.

Socati Corp. acquires Blue Marble in Missoula to produce hemp oils, extracts; Sova LLC handled acquisition

The Blue Marble Biomaterials facility in Missoula, via Blue Marble's website.
By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current

A Missoula manufacturing facility and its team of chemists and engineers will play a central role in the Socati Corp.’s push to capture the nascent hemp industry by producing a line of extracts under an acquisition announced in May.

Josh Epstein, CEO of the Socati Corp., said the acquisition of Blue Marble Biomaterials will enable the company to lead growth in the hemp industry through manufacturing and product development while ensuring purity and consistency.

“We’re pleased to have found such an optimal facility and talented team to enable this growth and to expand our footprint to Montana – a state that has embraced the potential of the hemp industry for consumers and businesses,” said Epstein.

Under the deal, Socati will acquire Blue Marble’s 22,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and laboratory near the airport development park, where it plans to produce hemp oils and extracts. Sova LLC handled the acquisition.

Read more.

Apply for Early Stage MT September HyperAccelerator

Early Stage MT is now accepting applications for their September HyperAccelerator in Billings. Entrepreneurs from around the state are welcome to apply for this mentorship and training program, provided free-of-charge by ESMT and its affiliate organizations.

Seven Montana-based tech businesses will participate in the week-long program, and top performers from the June and September programs will compete for a $50,000 cash investment at the Statewide Showcase in November.

Learn more and apply.
Cognizant ATG: Cognizant, UM partner to graduate 28 students for jobs in Missoula’s high-paying tech industry (Missoula Current), Integration, workforce training top Amar Juluri’s focus at Cognizant-ATG in Missoula (Missoula Current), Rising stars in Missoula’s tech scene include bartenders, concrete workers (Missoula Current)
onX, TOMIS, Audience Awards: 2019 Best Tech Startups in Missoula (Tech Tribune)
VisionNet, Big Sky Economic Development: Local Billings telecom company stakes a future on fiber (Billings Gazette)
LC Staffing: July newsletter (LC Staffing)
Billings airport: Billings airport gets $1M for expansion, equipment (Billings Gazette)
Bozeman airport: Bozeman’s growing airport gets $3M grant for upgrades (Bozeman Daily Chronicle)

Welcome New Members:

Flying Cloud Tech, Edward Lee, Polson
Superior Traffic Services, Jeff Hollenback, Missoula

Upcoming Events:

Big Sky: Big Ideas - Bozeman. July 16-18. Connect with the brightest marketers, inspiring sessions and conversations, inside tips on specific tactile marketing automation tactics. Learn more and register.
Quote 2 Cast - Missoula. July 16-20. As with the previous summits, the general focus will be on emerging trends and best practices in Quote to Cash, and with celebrating our clients’ and partners’ successes. This year’s theme – Winning Through Diversity – will be woven into many of the sessions as we explore how diversity and inclusion can strengthen your teams and your organizations. Learn more.
Montana High Tech Business Alliance Reception - Bozeman. July 17, 2019, hosted by Zoot Enterprises.
1 Million Cups Bi-Weekly Meeting - Missoula. July 17. 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.
Essentials of Lean - Missoula. July 17. Participants leave with an understanding of and ability to implement basic lean skills and tools leading to cost reduction, on-time delivery improvement, quality improvements, and a culture of continuous improvement. Presented in collaboration with Blackfoot. Learn more and register for Essentials of Lean.
National Science Foundation SBIR/STTR Program Director, Rick Schwerdtfeger webinar- Bozeman. July 19. Montana companies and researchers will have the opportunity to learn more about NSF's SBIR/STTR proposal process and meet one-on-one with Dr. Schwerdtfeger. Please note the date change. Learn more and register.
Hellgate Venture Network meeting - Missoula. July 18. HVN facilitates informal networking among entrepreneurs and advisers engaged in building growth businesses in Montana. Future meetings will be on Aug. 15, Sept. 19, and Oct. 17. Learn more on the HVN Facebook page.
Big Sky Dreamin - Bozeman. July 18-19, the Rialto. ATG Cognizant, Zinovo and Now IT Matters are hosting this second-annual Salesforce conference. The event is expected to bring up to 200 tech-minded individuals for hands-on sessions around all things Salesforce. Learn more and register.
Greater Gallatin Valley Manufacturing Partnership Annual Growth Workshop - Bozeman: July 25. Manufacturers across Gallatin Valley are coming together to make the valley a region of manufacturing excellence. All manufacturing professionals are invited to see how collaboration across a single sector can make huge waves across a single community and eventually a whole region. Learn more and register.
2019 Economic Update Series: Silver Tsunami: Are Montana's Businesses Ready? - statewide. July 30 - Aug. 1, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm. Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Helena, Great Falls, Missoula, Kalispell. The Montana Chamber Foundation's annual series provides brief mid-year updates and economic projections for local, state, and national economies. The series will feature Patrick Barkey with the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business & Economic Research.  In addition to the mid-year projections for each region, we will take a look at the impact Boomer retirement will have on the workforce. Learn more and register.
1 Million Cups Bi-Weekly Meeting - Missoula. August 7. 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. August 7. 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.
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.
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.
Montana Code School Full-Time Course - Missoula & Bozeman. Full-time class dates: Sept. 16, 2019 – Dec. 6, 2019, Monday-Friday, 9 am - 5 pm. 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 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.
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.
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.

Find more events at

Past Newsletters: 
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
05/16/2019 - ESMT announces 2019 finalists; MHTBA membership update; ATG graduates, hires AIM cohort; GoodWorks launches Evergreen; Purse for the People investment
05/02/2019 - Photos: Billings reception; Gatherboard & UM CS Dept launch app; MT Code School coming to Billings; Hellgate Venture Network Celebrates 10 years
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