April 18, 2019 Newsletter
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Montana High Tech News

Four Trends Impacting Montana Tech Businesses in 2019

Morgan Hausauer, Perficient Managing Director – Technical Delivery, discusses her company’s 2018 acquisition as part of a conversation about how Montana can keep momentum and address future needs in 2019. Other featured speakers (left to right) included Andrew Field, CEO of PFL, and Chris Hamilton, onX VP of Product Management. Photos by Photos by Mallory, 40 Watt Photo.

By Noah Hill

As the Montana high tech economy continues to grow, high tech businesses have become an increasingly integral component of life in the Big Sky State. According to a survey released by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, the high tech industry now employs more than 7,500 workers in jobs that pay double the state’s median wage. Moreover, the industry as a whole is growing at nine times the statewide economy.

Growth in the business sector, however, also can present new challenges for companies who must adapt in a rapidly changing ecosystem. In late February, Montana tech executives braved the cold winter weather to discuss some of the challenges they anticipate facing in 2019 at a Montana High Tech Business Alliance CEO Roundtable hosted by Foundant Technologies in Bozeman.

1. Increasing Access to Capital Investment

The ability of Montana companies to attract capital has been rapidly improving over the last few years. In 2018, Andrew Field, CEO of PFL, inked a deal with Goldman Sachs for an investment of $25 million, one of the largest ventures ever made within the state.

According to Field, until recently one of the primary barriers to finding investors was the location.

“Over the years, we have had a number of venture capitalists say ‘Look, sooner or later every company gets in trouble. When that happens, I have to spend more time with them, and I am not getting on a plane from San Francisco to Montana,’” Field said.

Ten years ago, attracting investors in tech businesses based in Montana was a difficult endeavor for a variety of reasons, including distance from major tech hubs (compounded by lack of airport infrastructure) and a relatively small community of entrepreneurs and businesses in the tech sector. However in 2015, Will Price, a former CEO of a tech company eventually bought by Snap, moved to Bozeman. There, he established Next Frontier Capital with the specific mission of supporting technology companies in Montana.

Read more

Startups: Apply Now for TechCrunch Disrupt SF Discount

"[We] made some investor connections, connected with a lot of developers for our developer pilot; heard some good info and also watched some good pitches that we used to help improve our investor pitch." - John Frandsen, co-founder and CPO, Elebase (second from left). Read about MHTBA's experience at last year’s conference. Photo by Katy Spence/MHTBA

What: Discount package for startup conference, including three passes and feature in startup exhibition
When: Oct. 2-4, 2019
Where: Moscone North Convention Center
730 Howard St, San Francisco, CA

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 for TechCrunch Disrupt SF for a discounted price.

"Great experience! Highly recommended to other startups next year." - Sam Lucas, partner, managing director, Triple Tree

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

Submit Nominations for 2019 Montana Companies to Watch lists

Read last year's articles on Startups to Watch and High Growth Companies to Watch. What tech and manufacturing startups do you have your eyes on this year?
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. 

Use the form below to email your nominations of exciting startup and high-growth companies to katy.spence [at]
Email nominations

Member News:

Register now for the Business Transition Readiness Workshop in Bozeman on May 7

Find more information online, and register here.

Final days to register for Early Stage Montana Regional Pitch Competitions

If you’re a Montana-based tech company with less than $2 million in revenue, enter for the opportunity to scale your business and receive mentorship from business experts. Applications are due to the website on April 22.

Call for applicants to help revise K-12 computer science and technology standards

The Content Standards and Instruction Division is accepting applications for revision teams to work on revising the following standards for K-12 education in Montana:

• Technology
• Library Media - Information Literacy
• Computer Science
• Social Studies
• Career and Technical Education
Revision work sessions will be held in Helena on the following dates:
• July 24-26, 2019: Social Studies, Career and Technical Education/Workplace Competencies
• July 31 - August 2, 2019: Computer Science, Technology, Library Media

Applications are due May 3. Visit the Montana Content Standards Revision website to learn more about the standards. The application to be part of a revision team is also found on the website.
NorthWestern Energy: NorthWestern Energy removes harmful twine from iconic Euclid Avenue osprey nest (Helena Independent Record)
MonTEC: Major award to Missoula’s MonTEC a big boost for state’s bioscience industry (Missoula Current)
Blackfoot: Advanced Communications Technology (ACT) and Blackfoot Communications Announce Strategic Partnership (Press of Atlantic City)
Foundant Technologies: The 50 Best Places to Work in 2018 (Outside Online)
Montana economy: Housing, enrollment, land use top this year’s State of the Community address (Missoula Current), City leaders eye new investment tool as path to affordable housing, office space (Missoula Current), Montana’s Economy at a Glance (Montana Business Quarterly)
SweetGrass Associates: Friendly persuasion: Tackling a contentious issue in rancorous times, the Citizens’ Climate Lobby brings an even-handed approach to advocacy. (The Rotarian)
Tech education: Helena High teacher to be honored at national computer science summit (Helena Independent Record)

Upcoming Events:

Montana Veteran Business Summit - Helena.  April 18, 12-1pm, Supreme Court Room 303, Reception in room 137 from 11-12pm. This is a social networking event like no other where all veterans across Montana are welcome to participate, to share, and connect with fellow Veterans, Legislators, and Representatives at the Capitol. Learn more on the Facebook page, and see the flier for more information.
Hellgate Venture Network 10th Anniversary meeting - Missoula. April 18, 4:30pm, Goodworks Place, 129 W. Alder, Missoula Mt, 59802. HVN facilitates informal networking among entrepreneurs and advisers engaged in building growth businesses in Montana. Future meetings will be on May 16, June 20, and July 18. Learn more on the HVN Facebook page.
Finish Strong: Secrets to a Winning Business Exit - Bozeman. April 19, 9:30am - 11:30am, 2310 University Way Building 2 Suite 1, Bozeman, MT. An insider look at what drives value in your business, and how you can take steps to make the right choices for your company. Presented by: Bryce DeGroot, Christopher Gregory, and Brian Ortega. What you can expect to learn: 1) Common trends in business exits, 2) Why transferable value matters, 3) Steps you can take now. Learn more and register to attend.
2019 Western Montana Career Fair - Missoula. April 23, Missoula Hilton Garden Inn, 2:30 - 6:00 p.m. Western Montana's Largest Career Fair is brought to you by Job Service Missoula. Learn more about registering as an employer.
Better Off in Billings - Billings. April 25, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm, The Pub Station, 2502 1st Ave N, Billings, MT 59101. Attendees can once again expect an exciting day filled with information from BillingsWorks regarding the State of the Workforce, announcement of our Space2Place Micro-Grant Awardees, “In the Ground” & “on the cusp” projects throughout Billings and Yellowstone County, and of course FREE food truck meals with your registration! This year we will hear from local “hidden gems” to discuss their successes and what makes Billings, MT attractive to them. In addition, The Chapman Group will share their findings thus far in the Better Off in Billings (led by BillingsWorks) external talent attraction campaign. Learn more and register.
Montana High Tech Business Alliance Reception - Billings. April 24, 2019, hosted by Diamond BTS and Nemont Communications.
SBIR/STTR Proposal Writing - Bozeman and Missoula. April 30, MSU TechLink Center, Bozeman; May 1, Gilkey Executive Education Bldg, Missoula. These full-day workshops will teach skills appropriate for all agencies, including the Department of Defense, Energy, National Institutes of Health, or the National Science Foundation. In order to provide specific examples, we will focus on DoD for the Bozeman workshop and on NIH for the workshop in Missoula. Learn more about the Bozeman workshop. Learn more about the Missoula workshop.
1 Million Cups Bi-Weekly Meeting - Missoula. May 1. 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. May 1. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Big Sky Dreamin - Bozeman. July 18-19, the Rialto. A Salesforce conference in the Big Sky State. More information to follow.
Past Newsletters: 
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
02/21/2019 - ATG launches new office, training; PatientOne raises $1.2M; 2018 MT Cyber-Security Report; LC Staffing in Columbia Falls; MT VC Will Price on Can Do
Click to view more past newsletters.

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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