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

kids and bikes

Kids and Bikes

1. Montana Top Tech Employers 2018

Do you want to work for a high tech company in Montana, but don’t know where to start? This week, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance released its list of Montana’s Top Tech Employers for 2018 in the state.

According to the Montana High Tech Business Alliance, Montana’s tech firms expect to add more than 1,200 new jobs in 2018. Companies fit two or more of the following criteria: 20 employees or more, plans to grow workforce in Montana, established in the state for more than 10 years, consistently hiring, and involved in the community.

Click here to find out who Montana’s top tech employers.

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

1. Bozeman venture capital firm eyes Missoula for growth, investment opportunities

Homestake Partners, an upstart venture capital firm based in Bozeman, has hired a Missoula partner to help grow the organization’s membership base. Andy Gordon, formerly with of Clearas Water Recovery in Missoula, was named as its outreach coordinator.

Homestake traces its roots back to 2010, but co-founder Bill Stoddart pins its launch date to 2016. The firm claims around 40 members. Stoddard said the firm’s current membership is capable of providing more than $20 million in financing throughout the state, and it has identified nearly $50 million in opportunity.

Read more here.

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picture of sellout app on phone

Sellout is a ticketing app created in Bozeman by two frequent concert patrons.

Joel Martin remembers the moment he knew there had to be a better way to purchase tickets.  Martin was attempting to buy tickets for a Radiohead concert in Seattle, and like many eager fans he kept refreshing his webpage until 10 a.m. when the tickets went on sale. At 10:01 a.m., the show was sold out.

“I went to StubHub and saw there were already hundreds of tickets for that show,” Martin said. “Literally seconds after I tried buying them. I was super frustrated. People bought these tickets for the purpose of reselling them. For people who are huge fans, it’s unfair.”

This instance (along with several others) spurred Martin and his partner, Henry Vinson, to the creation of their version for a better ticketing platform called Sellout.

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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.

camping near Big Sky, Montana

Camping near Big Sky, MT

1. IronCore raises $1.5 million for cloud privacy and data control platform

IronCore Labs, based in Bozeman and Boulder, announced on Thursday it closed an additional $1.5 million dollars of seed funding. IronCore Labs is a cloud privacy platform.

The round was led by Bozeman’s Next Frontier Capital with participation from Blue Note Ventures, PV Ventures and several others. This round, composed of new and prior investors, brings the total funds raised to $3 million.

You can read more about IronCore Labs here.

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Here are five stories from around Montana about the high tech world and entrepreneurship that you should know about!

1. Sweet Peaks, From Hobby to Success 

As the saying goes, “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!” and this Montana couple has made their mark on the ice cream world. Sweet Peaks, which began in Whitefish, has now expanded across Montana and even outside the state. Learn more about Sweet Peaks here.

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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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During the 2018 Business Days at the Capitol, one of the featured panels focused on entrepreneurs in Montana and specifically the high tech sector.

The panel was moderated by Next Frontier Capital founder Will Price and featured Submittable founder Michael FitzGerald, onXmaps founder Eric Siegfried and Dr. Zeb Barber with the Montana State University Spectrum Lab.

Watch the full video:

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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