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Montana technology entrepreneurs get a chance to make a big splash

Posted at 8:55 AM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 10:56:33-04

BILLINGS – In partnership with Big Sky Economic DevelopmentEarly Stage MT held a regional pitch competition in Billings Tuesday, where five Montana tech-based startup companies competed for a chance to head to the statewide pitch showcase.

The winner of Tuesday’s competition will head to Missoula on Nov. 7 for the statewide event. There, the entrepreneurs will get a chance to show their business to about 500 members of the Montana tech sector.

Also at stake: a $50,000 investment from Frontier Angels investment group.

The pitch competitions are part of the Big Sky Economic Development group’s goal to help early-stage tech companies avoid mistakes that slow growth.

The group also tries to connect entrepreneurs with leadership resources.

The entrepreneurs brought interesting ideas to the table, including an app that would let RV users find affordable spots to boondock, and an app for diabetics that helps better track carbs.

Investors say tech companies tend to grow the economy and create in-demand, high-paying jobs.

“When we invest time, energy, and money into tech companies’ growth, we know that we are going to be creating companies that are going to expand the size of our economy,” said Pat LaPointe, Frontier Angels managing director.

“Not just move dollars back and forth between you and I — as would happen with a retailer or a restaurant or something like that. All of which are very important to our community but they don’t necessarily expand the size of our economy.”

The winner of Tuesday’s competition will be announced Thursday.

-Mitch Lagge reporting for MTN News