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Bozeman? startup community?
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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Jan 13, 2013
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.

Looking at a possible move to Bozeman and wanted to get an impression from locals, and former locals as to the health of the area's startup community.

Is MSU producing quality dev folks, hackers, etc (SaaS, web+mobile apps)? Is there a strong base of experienced dev folks in the area that are out of school?

Any experience with MSU's tech transfer office at all?

Are there established/healthy entrepreneur meetups? Is the community close? Do these people have startup success?

Quality angel network?

Are there startup resources available that aren't super well advertised on the web?

Thx in advance for your replies.


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By T Howes
From Bozeman, MT
Jan 16, 2013

ha.


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By Morgan Patterson
Administrator
Jan 16, 2013
Stoked...

well if it's skiing related im sure you'll be able eek out a poor living...


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By Evan S
From Erie, CO
Jan 16, 2013
Me, of course

People in Montana still heat their cabins solely with wood and trap hares to survive the winter, computers? Seriously?


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By Ian Cavanaugh
Jan 16, 2013

live there for 9 year! the land of no opportunity!! and no ladies!


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By Jon H
From Boulder
Jan 16, 2013
At the matching crux

This question is so bizarre I almost wonder if you're trying to troll.

It's akin to asking "What's the hardcore professional snowboarding scene like in Miami?"


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By JCM
From Henderson, NV
Jan 16, 2013

Evan S wrote:
People in Montana still heat their cabins solely with wood and trap hares to survive the winter, computers? Seriously?


Oh come on, Montana isn't that backward anymore. I hear that they even have electricity now.


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By Will Butler
From Boulder, CO
Jan 16, 2013
ice park

Jon H wrote:
This question is so bizarre I almost wonder if you're trying to troll. It's akin to asking "What's the hardcore professional snowboarding scene like in Miami?"


That was my impression too. Erik I'd say you're in the best place already for tech related jobs and access to the outdoors.


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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Jan 16, 2013
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.

Oof, not a good start. My question is def not a troll. Totally serious.

Inc. magazine actually had a positive article on the area last winter:

www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/new-valley-for-tech-startups>>>

I guess folks can claim it was a sponsored article (e.g., Chamber, etc), but I wanted to see what the vibe is from folks who actually live there and know about the startup community and/or talent pool.

(@Will, believe me, I know.)


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By Patrick Mulligan
Feb 19, 2013
The top of the tufa on Magma

My guess is that the area is richer than most would believe. RightNow Software was started and based out of the area and did just fine. There are also several shops offering services and web services as consultants. I believe the Bike Fit calculators and websites for the two top Cylcing e-commerce sites (one now owned by Backcountry.com) were both built by shops in Bozeman. Look at what's happened to Orem, UT - that area has become one of the more productive alternatives to Silicon Valley in the last 5 years.

You're not going to have to support network, the potentially hireable candidates, the venture and angel community, or the university support that you have in SFO. However, you're also not going to face the same type of proffessional competition in any of the above listed areas as well. Pick up the phone and call people in the area that work in tech - you can find them on linkedin and see what folks are saying.

Also with RighNow's purchase and Oracle now completely taking over, there's probably some low hanging fruit.


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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 19, 2013
Andrew Gram

Orem and Bozeman aren't exactly parallels. The Wasatch front has double the population of Montana in an area smaller than some ranches near Bozeman. The University of Utah is a really heavy duty research institution for computer science with alumni that founded companies like Adobe. Huge money in government contracts with all of the defense/super computing stuff here too. The Wasatch front is more like Denver/Boulder in terms of high tech.

Bozeman will be better for talent than North Dakota, and i'm sure lots of engineers would be psyched to be able to get work in Montana, but it is a big time backwater.


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By lucander
From Stone Ridge, NY
Feb 19, 2013
Lucander off the GT Ledge on p. 2 of Keep on Struttin.

Bozeman is awesome, I don't know why anyone wouldn't want to live there. If I were an engineer type I'd take less money to live there.


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By Scott Reed
From Bozeman, MT
Feb 20, 2013
Summit of Cowen

@ErikW

I have been in bzn since 2008. Showed up jobless and at the time with 14 years of IT experience. I have been in and out of tech jobs in the area starting about three months after the move.

Albeit not "start-ups" as you specifically ask about, here is a rundown of some potential candidates that meet your criteria...

GraniteTCS
Oracle RightNow
Zoot Ent

I myself went back to the wireless communications industry and work part-time at a job that fits my schedule doing WiFi, tower maintenance and network administration.

Key word is "part-time". There's too many other things to be doing around here then getting caught up in all the drama of a full-time tech job for some company that is overburdened with policies, procedures and not enough staff to let a guy breathe and live a healthy life.

Good luck man. If you show up, let me know. Saw another guy sleeping in a tent from CO up Hyalite the other day. Said he moved here.


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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Feb 20, 2013
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.

Scott and Patrick, thanks for both your replies. Definitely appreciated.

My S.O. and I are contemplating a move and Bozeman's high on the list because of the outdoor activities, but at the same time I need a place that has startup potential. I was a serial entrepreneur up until 2 years ago and am looking to have at it again, which is why I wanted to see what the community and talent pool is like up in Bozeman. Sure you can get tech resources around the country to telecommute, but really in the early days of a startup it helps to be co-located in order to get a product hammered out fast. Which means you need a talent pool worth drawing from. Local angels and VCs are also good resources.

Anyway, the decision process kicks into high gear next month. We'll see.

Thanks again for all the responses.


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