May 16, 2019 Member Newsletter
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Montana High Tech News

Early Stage Montana announces 2019 regional finalists, wild card competitor

Early Stage Montana Chairman Pat LaPointe, third from the left, stands with the Billings Regional Showcase competitors after the May 14 event in Billings. On November 7, the finalist companies will gather in Missoula for the 2nd annual Early Stage MT Statewide Showcase to compete for a $50,000 investment provided by Frontier Angels. Photo by Julia Quigley for ESMT.

By Katy Spence

Within a year of competing, the top seven companies from the 2018 Early Stage Montana cohort have raised more than $6 million in growth capital and created more than 20 new jobs.  Pat LaPointe, Early Stage Montana Board Chairman and managing director of Frontier Angels, expects even more from the newly-announced 2019 program finalists.

“We have equally high expectations for this group and more, given that we’re expanding to accommodate more companies this year,” LaPointe said.

Tech startups from all across Montana pitched their companies to judging panels in three regions. Judges assessed companies on dimensions such as leadership, the potential to create Montana jobs, and the effectiveness of their solution. With the final regional pitch competition wrapping up in Billings on Tuesday, Early Stage Montana has announced the finalists from each region and the wild card competitor, chosen by the Montana High Tech Business Alliance Board of Directors.

The finalists are:

  • DRIMS, a Missoula company, focuses on aiding disaster recovery programs around the world by offering a digital platform that streamlines communication and planning for all the various agencies involved with helping victims of natural disasters.
  • Charmed is not your typical dating app. The Missoula-based company actually complements numerous other dating services by leveraging artificial intelligence to provide messaging feedback and dating advice to individual users while they’re searching for a potential mate.
  • Vision Aerial, from Bozeman, is building sophisticated drones to assist in the inspection process of public and commercial infrastructure.
  • Tadpull, a Bozeman company, offers a software platform to help mid-market, e-commerce companies improve their digital marketing, resulting in better insights and increased sales.
  • DugalHealth is a Bozeman-based company working to transform the lives of those suffering from Type 1 diabetes with a software tool that helps individuals more closely track their eating habits by using machine learning tools that determine proper insulin dosages.
  • RavenCSI, a Billings company, is striving to help healthcare organizations improve customer retention and health outcomes by speeding up the feedback cycles from patients to administrators to caregivers.
  • MyShippingPost is a Butte company with software and tools to make shipping packages easier and less expensive.
For more information on these companies and the program, visit our website using the link below.
Read more

MHTBA to expand member offerings during summer 2019

With the continued growth of tech in Montana, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance is looking for ways we can continue to support the growing needs of our member companies and the high tech ecosystem.

In the last year, we've implemented a few new upgrades to make your company more visible and give you more control in how your information is shared.

Our new jobs board has brought Montana positions to the attention of job-seekers around the country, including more than a dozen applicants and the final hire for a position at Alosant.

The new events calendar, powered by GatherBoard, connects you to business events around the state and empowers you to add your own events to our calendar using the tag #MTHIGHTECH.

Our newest upgrade, the member directory, gives you control in managing your membership and your company listing. As we continue to settle into this new software, we'll add more features like a community forum.

In the coming months, we'll be revamping our membership levels to better reflect membership demographics and needs.

We'll be in touch about the changes, but if you'd like a reminder of your membership benefits and a sneak peak at what we're planning to expand, check out this member value chart. As always, you can update your membership level through this form on our website.

Thoughts? We'd love to hear them. Feel free to reach out to Christina, director[at] or katy.spence[at] at any time with questions or feedback.

Startups: Apply to attend TechCrunch Disrupt in October with an MHTBA discount

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

Member News:

All 26 students graduate from new UM program with jobs at Missoula’s ATG

Amarnath (Amar) Juluri, Cognizant AVP, was key in coordinating AIM and organizing the Cognizant trainers. Juluri participated through the 12-week program and spoke to the graduating cohort last week, saying, “There is no alternate to learning, continuous learning, challenging ourselves, challenging the status quo, and I think that is what drives all of us and makes us all successful.”

Photo courtesy of ATG/Cognizant.
By Mari Hall/Missoula Current

Cognizant’s Advanced Technology Group hired 26 students who graduated from the company’s first class in a new specialized training program at the University of Montana Wednesday night.

The program, called All-In Missoula, trains students in business essentials, consulting, systems analysis and design, data analytics and more. The goal is to prepare students, with the help of UM, to work for companies like ATG and Cognizant.

University of Montana president Seth Bodnar and ATG senior vice president of strategy and corporate development Tom Stergios planned the program in a matter of months, and are happy to have new employees joining the ATG team.

“Seth and I were in a meeting, and we were so fired up about this program and we knew the potential,” Stergios said. “We knew what might happen. We knew the work ethic of Montana kids. We knew the power of the University of Montana and we knew what Cognizant training and ATG spirit and training could do. We had high hopes: 26 finished and 26 have full-time jobs.”

Read more.

Goodworks Ventures launches Evergreen to retain small businesses

By Martin Kidston/Missoula Current

With a generational shift taking place across Montana’s community of small businesses, some will transition to new ownership but most will not. Those that don’t could simply vanish from the landscape.

Goodworks Ventures of Missoula has quietly launched a new effort to purchase stable, profitable companies and help them grow under new leadership.

In coming years, Goodworks Evergreen, as the program is known, could lead to a perpetual holding company open to investors who find value in transitioning small businesses to community ownership.

“Our goal is to be a perpetual holding company we can make publicly accessible through a stock or a bond,” said Kiah Hochstetler with Goodworks Evergreen. “We’re probably five years down the road from that. But really, what we’re looking to do is build this community capital of community-owned businesses.”

Read more.

Deadline today: Apply to participate in Milipol Paris Montana booth

Milipol Paris is a leading event dedicated to homeland security and safety. With more than 1000 exhibits and 27 educational seminars, Milipol Paris attracts 29,939 attendees annually. 

Using Federal grant funds from the SBA’s STEP program, the Montana Dept. of Commerce contracts for a large booth space and provides kiosks for Montana companies to promote their products, test-market the show and how their product will be received in the European market.

There is no cost for the booth space, furniture, carpet, etc.; MDC pays for everything with the STEP grant, funded by the SBA. They can also provide a $2,000 travel stipend to cover travel costs. The cost to Montana companies would be any freight costs, as well as travel costs in excess of the $2,000 travel stipend. 

Learn more by reading the flier. To apply, fill out this application and send it to by the end of the day on May 17.

Purse for the People operates Mass Customization Manufacturing in Montana, opens investment round

By Carole Murphy/Purse for the People

Purse for the People is in the business of producing eco-friendly handbags tailored specifically to their consumers’ needs and styles. The Butte-based startup and Public Benefit Corporation, is raising capital to build out manufacturing and create local jobs.

Manufacturing has experienced significant dips since its peak in 1979, due in large part to offshoring. The manufacturing workforce lost five million jobs between 2000 and 2015, according to Stephen J. Rose of the Urban Institute. As a percent of GDP, manufacturing is today at approximately half of what it was in the ’70s. However, almost eight in 10 American consumers would rather buy an American-made product than an imported one, and 60 percent say they would pay up to 10 percent more, according to Harry Moser and Sandy Montalbano. This represents an opportunity for manufacturing companies like Purse for the People.

Purse for the People is shifting their focus to reshoring tactics – where outsourced jobs are brought back to the U.S. to produce goods. Here in Montana, we’ve experienced a sector wide increase of 21 percent, adding 3,500 manufacturing jobs between 2010 and 2017, compared to only 8 percent across the nation. The state’s manufacturing workers earned 1.2 billion dollars in 2016, and in the most recent count, there were 3,372 manufacturing businesses in Montana in 2016. In 2015, manufacturing represented roughly 27.5 percent of the economic base, and the sector is a significant contributor to the statewide economy.

Read more about Purse for the People and their new investment campaign.

Last day to submit nominations for Montana Business Hall of Fame

MT Business Hall of Fame logoThe Montana Business Hall of Fame recognizes business leaders who have been successful in private enterprise in Montana. By identifying outstanding examples of business leadership, the Hall of Fame recognizes, shares, and documents stories of success and innovation. The Hall of Fame creates an awareness of appreciation of Montana's rich heritage of business leadership.

Request for Nominations

You are invited to nominate a business leader you believe is worthy of recognition. Please use the form below to submit your nomination by May 17, 2019.

Learn more and submit nominations.

Register now for GovMatch 2019 in Billings on May 29

GovMatch 19 is a free event designed to facilitate introductions and discussions between Montana businesses and federal, state and local agencies.

With assistance and support from Senator Daines, GovMatch 19 will bring 35 federal, state and local agencies to the Billings event, including several new attendees such as NASA, Idaho National Labs, VA, U.S. Marshals Service, FEMA, DOE, and DOL. Additionally, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon will be on hand to discuss subcontracting opportunities. 

The event is free, but you must register. If you are interested in exploring government contract opportunities for your business, click here to learn more and register for the event.

Alliance members support Make-A-Wish Montana Walk for Wishes event

Stockman Bank and ATG, a Cognizant company, are sponsoring the June 14 Walk for Wishes in Missoula. Make-A-Wish Montana President Doug Koester said Stockman Bank’s employees are very involved raising money through peer to peer fundraising. Two Alliance members also sit on the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish Montana: Bob Burns, President of Stockman Bank in Missoula, and Danielle Wanderer, CMO of Quiq, who is also involved in fundraising in Bozeman and is a volunteer wish-granter.

Make-A-Wish Montana will be hosting another walk in Billings on September 22. To learn more about how you can become a sponsor for either event, view this flier and check out the website.
Montana High Tech Business Alliance, Sellout, Early Stage MT: As Montana's Tech Sector Grows, Pitch Competition Aims To Support Startups (YPR)
ATG, LMG Security: Can Do: Lessons Learned In Season Two (Can Do, MTPR)
ATG Cognizant, Missoula Economic Partnership: Missoula Economic Partnership: 400 new high-paying jobs could come to Missoula (Missoulian)
Blackfoot, Missoula Economic Partnership, DermaXon, Big Sky Economic Development: Business leaders: Missoula economy peppered with advantages, challenges (Missoula Current), City Club: Missoula entrepreneurs discuss economic challenges, opportunities (Missoulian)
EduLog: Edulog Hosts Roundtable Discussion on Seat Belts and Technology on School Buses (EduLog)
NorthWestern Energy: NorthWestern, Billings reach agreement on largest solar project in Montana (Billings Gazette)
Big Sky Economic Development: Big Sky Economic Development aiming to buy downtown building (Billings Gazette)
Big Sky Economic Development, Frontier Angels, Early Stage MT: Montana technology entrepreneurs get a chance to make a big splash (KTVQ)
ExcelliMatrix, Liz Marchi, Code Girls United: 2019 NW Regional App Competition Results, Code Girls United (Code Girls United)
Figure: Figure Technologies, Jefferies and WSFS Institutional Services Close $1 Billion Financing Facility on Blockchain (Figure)
LMG Security: Banking Trojans and financial risk (Junto)
Montana Dept. of Commerce: Governor Bullock Signs Bill to Support Business Growth and Entrepreneurship (Montana.Gov)
Missoula Economic Partnership: High Country owners of Coca-Cola Bottling in Missoula break ground on new plant (Missoula Current), Missoula Economic Partnership expands focus beyond business attraction (Missoula Current)
Next Frontier Capital: NVCA Member Spotlight: Next Frontier Capital (National Venture Capital Association)
Pulsara: PULSARA Named SIIA Business Technology Product CODiE Award Finalist for Best Healthcare Technology Solution (Pulsara), Pulsara Platform Part of Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) IMPROVE Stroke Care Project (Pulsara)
Cowboy Cricket Farms: State Agriculture Grant Helps Cricket Farmers Scale-Up (YPR)
GatherBoard: Missoula startup GatherBoard launches new app, set to enter new markets (Missoula Current)

Welcome New Members:

DRIMS (Disaster Recovery Integrated Management System), Tom Donohue, Missoula
Eyehear Technology Group, David Hermann, Kalispell
Glacier HR Services, Inc., Bob Marsenich, Missoula
Montana Telecommunications Association, Geoff Feiss, Helena

Upcoming Events:

Hellgate Venture Network meeting - Missoula. May 16 at Workiva, 140 S 4th St W Unit #2, Missoula, MT 59801. 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.
Building Community, A Community Building Forum - Big Sky. May 16, 6 - 8 pm, Lone Peak Cinema. As part of National Infrastructure Week, the Big Sky Chamber is proud to partner with Beartooth Signs and First Security Bank in convening a forum of community stakeholders to provide updates on current and future development projects in Big Sky. This public presentation is a great place to hear about the growth in Big Sky and engage in the Q&A following the speakers. For more information, visit the website or email Caitlin.
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.
Montana High Tech Business Alliance Reception - Bozeman. Summer 2019, hosted by Zoot Enterprises.
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.
Lean Operations - Glendive. June 18. 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. More information coming soon. 
1 Million Cups Bi-Weekly Meeting - Missoula. June 19. 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.
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.
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.
Big Sky Dreamin - Bozeman. July 18-19, the Rialto. A Salesforce conference in the Big Sky State. More information to follow.
Tech Bites: Cybersecurity for Montana Manufacturers - Missoula. August 15. Save the date!  More information on this "lunch and learn" event coming soon. Presented in collaboration with Morrison-Maierle Systems.

Find more events at

Past Newsletters: 
05/02/2019 - Photos: Billings reception; Gatherboard & UM CS Dept launch app; MT Code School coming to Billings; Hellgate Venture Network Celebrates 10 years
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
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