2018 Early Stage MT winners

2018 Early Stage MT winners

After months of refining their business plans and pitches, Sellout from Bozeman and Superior Traffic Services from Missoula tied for first and were named the 2018 Early Stage MT winners on Saturday.

“It feels pretty amazing to have won Early Stage MT,” said Joel Martin, one of the founders of Sellout. “We have been struggling to figure out how to pitch this product the best way for the last couple of months ever since the accelerator ended. For it to finally come together this week and to bring it to the stage, we were so nervous for the presentation. But it’s gratifying to have won and to have done this whole process with the amazing core we have.”

Both of the Early Stage MT winners will receive $25,000 and have the opportunity to present at the Frontier Angels meeting in October. Alosant from Bozeman finished third overall and will also present to the Frontier Angels, a Montana based angel fund group. The other businesses that participated in the Early Stage MT showcase included Elation, WebBuy, Elebase and Cardsetter.

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Dean Folkvord and the Wheat Montana legacy

Dean Folkvord, Wheat Montana

Dean Folkvord didn’t want to go to Hawaii.

“The first part is, we were young and he didn’t want to go,” said Dean’s wife, Hope. “I had to beg him to go on this trip to begin with. Finally he said, ‘Quit nagging, we’ll go.’”

But it was on this trip during a visit to a pineapple farm in the mid 1980’s that the idea for Wheat Montana was born and the Folkvord family’s entrepreneurship journey began.

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Check out these five stories from across Montana that highlight entrepreneurship, the high tech sector, and everything else that makes Montana great!

picture of a headframe in Butte, Montana

Headframe in Butte, MT

1. ATG Conference Kicks Off in Missoula

For the second year, Advanced Technology Group (ATG) in Missoula will host its conference called Quote to Cast with the theme of Teaming for Success.

This conference attracts the top national and international tech leaders for a dive into what ATG does. The company expects 170 people to fly in from 31 states and nine countries, including Africa, Australia, Canada, France and Germany. Keynoting the conference will be Peter Coffee, the vice president of strategic research for Salesforce.

“It’s a marketing industry event, and the idea is to generate new ideas,” said Tom Stergios, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development with ATG, in a Missoula Current story. “These conferences happen all over the world, typically in Las Vegas, San Francisco or Chicago. There’s a few boutique events, but we’re trying to break the mold and do something different.”

Click here to read more about the event.

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Check out these five stories from across Montana that highlight entrepreneurship, the high tech sector and everything else that makes Montana great!

Biking, Mount Helena City Park, Helena

Biking, Mount Helena City Park, Helena

1. Montana cracks top 5 in Wallethub list

According to Wallethub, the Treasure State is one of the top five places to start a business. In its study, Wallethub compared all 50 states across 25 key indicators of startup success to determine the best place to start a business. Wallethub ranked states on business environment, access to resources and business costs.

Texas ranked No. 1 while Montana came in at No. 4. You can read more here.

If you need even more convincing on why Montana is a great place to start a business, check out this story from Inc.

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rolins family and cricket farms products

The Rolins Family

While eating insects as a source of nutrition is common in countries around the world, it’s still considered by some a taboo in the United States. For this reason, Kathy Rolin with Cowboy Cricket Farms in Belgrade recommends eating a chocolate “chirp” cookie as a first step into entomophagy.

“At first people are hesitant,” Kathy said. “But once they try it, they all say the same thing: that was actually quite good. The biggest challenge is education.”

As the only cricket farm in Montana, Cowboy Cricket Farms is making waves across the Treasure State.

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Next Frontier Capital is a venture capital fund in Bozeman that was founded in 2015. Next Frontier Capital’s newest partner, Les Craig, took some time to answer some questions about the company, venture capital investing in Montana, and Montana’s entrepreneurial makeup.

logo for next frontier capital

1. What is Next Frontier Capital?

Next Frontier Capital is Montana’s most active venture capital fund. Our mission is to provide access to early stage capital (Seed and Series A) in the Northern Rocky Mountain Region, with a strong preference for Montana based companies. We partner with mission-driven, talented entrepreneurs to build high-growth potential companies of impact, utility, and value.

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“A New Frontier: Entrepreneurship Ecosystems in Bozeman and Missoula, Montana” is the first major study of entrepreneurship in Montana, funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Kauffman Index has ranked Montana the #1 state for startup activity for four straight years, and this case study helps explain why.

Based on 42 first-person interviews with Montana entrepreneurs and support organizations, surveys, and public data, the report sheds new light on Montana’s ecosystem – our high level of entrepreneurship, dense networks of support, global businesses, high quality workforce, and high quality of life.

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