by Annette Trinity Stevens
With its first client ready to move in, a high-tech business incubator facility officially opened
its doors last month in Bozeman during a reception that drew more than 200 people.
Named Tech Hatch, the 4,700-square-feet facility is facilitating the rapid start-up and
commercialization of software, Internet or e-commerce companies.
eWrangler is the first tenant of the facility, which is located in the Advanced Technology Park
near the Montana State University campus. eWrangler specializes in providing secure Internet
protocol communications for small businesses.
"Hi-tech businesses are the future for Bozeman and much of Montana," said Dennis Dixon,
president of the Tech Hatch board and manager of the Bozeman division of EDS. "They create
high-paying, environmentally friendly jobs that will help maintain and improve the quality of
life in this area."
Tech Hatch is a non-profit corporation supported by NASA, the Department of Defense, the Gallatin
Development Corp., the city of Bozeman, and several Montana businesses. Long-term funding will
come from donations, rent from Tech Hatch tenants, grants and equity positions in Tech Hatch
Modeled after the Boulder Technology Incubator in Colorado, Tech Hatch will provide fully furnished
and equipped offices for up to four people, a secure T-1 line for high-speed Internet access and
In addition, Tech Hatch clients will receive one-on-one mentoring from a business team with
expertise in software, the Internet, finance, venture capital, marketing, telecommunications
and related fields.
Based on the experience of similar incubators, venture clients are expected to go from start-up
to self-sufficiency within two years, which makes room for additional clients and contributes to
local economic development, according to a Tech Hatch press release. Eighty-four percent of
incubated firms stay in the community, according to the National Business Incubation Association.
Open house speakers included MSU President Terry Roark, GDC director Cristina Boyle, Tech Hatch
president Dennis Dixon and representatives for Senators Burns and Baucus. The senators originally
had planned to attend but were kept in Washington on Senate business.
For more information about becoming a Tech Hatch client or mentor, contact Nick Zelver,
(406) 994-7706 or visit Tech Hatch.