MSU $50K Venture Competition
The MSU $50K Venture Competition is took place on Wednesday, April 27, 2022 from 4:00-7:00 pm in Inspiration Hall, in Norm Asbjornson Hall.
Schedule of Events
4:10-5:00 pm Live Pitches: Traditional Category
5:10-6:00 pm Life Pitches: Social Ventures
6:00-7:00 pm Reception and Winners announced
This year we have 10 finalists (5 traditional ventures and 5 social ventures). Click here for the official announcement: https://www.montana.edu/news/22054/.
Traditional Ventures (alphabetical order):
- Aizy Tech, which is focused on specialized robotics solutions. Its initial products are drones for first responders.
- Hear It Clear, a production network connecting people and resources for executing live events.
- Ignis Technologies, which provides tools to modernize how firefighting organizations communicate and distribute information.
- Morel Technology, a platform enabling mobile apps for local and regional restaurants.
- The Giddy Thrifter, a media and e-commerce venture that aims to inspire and educate budget-conscious young people on styling their homes and wardrobes using primarily thrifted goods.
Social Ventures (alphabetical order):
- High Morel, which is developing a mushroom-based water filtration system to make safe drinking water more accessible.
- Homecoming Seed Co., an organic vegetable seed producer focused on bio-regionally adapted varieties of seeds.
- Plus, which connects college students to provide a peer-based social support system.
- Sweet Grass Woman, a retail store promoting and empowering producers of authentic Native American products and services.
- TrialWear, which provides technology for clinical trial participant safety.
Click here for a KBZK segment featuring three student ventures: https://www.kbzk.com/news/local-news/student-entrepreneurs-gear-up-for-third-annual-msu-50k-venture-competition.
A special thank you to our panel of judges:
ERIC LADD is the founder and Chairman of Outlaw Partners, L&K Real Estate, Outlaw Real Estate Partners and Boundary Expeditions, all based in Big Sky. He received his Bachelor of Arts in marketing and real estate from University of Colorado. Eric has over 30 years of experience in real estate sales and development, marketing, events, media, restaurant management, resort operations and expedition guiding, and has worked in leadership or consulting capacities with brands including Vail Resorts, Yellowstone Club, Baldface Cat Skiing and Everlands.
APRIL LAMON is the CEO and co-founder of Alosant, a software company that provides a comprehensive, community-branded lifestyle app. She also co-founded two platforms for state-of-the-art community website research and analytics. April had previously served as Marketing Director and Marketing Manager for PepsiCo. and Kraft Foods Group, respectively. She also spent six years as Chief Marketing Officer for Armstrong World Industries, a leading building materials corporation. She obtained her MBA in Marketing from Indiana University Bloomington.
GARRETT LEACH is an analyst at Next Frontier Capital (NFC), a venture capital firm that partners with mission-driven, talented entrepreneurs to build Rocky Mountain technology companies of national impact, utility, and value. Prior to NFC, Garrett worked as an analyst at BlackRock. He is a 2018 MSU business grad and he earned a Master’s in Management Science in Global Affairs from Tsinghua University as part of the Schwarzman Scholars program. While at MSU, Garrett also served as the ASMSU student body president. He is currently working with the college to establish a Young Alumni Board.
SCOTT PETERSON is the Vice President of Development for United Properties where he oversees and is responsible for site acquisition, project underwriting, financing, design, development and construction for the following industry sectors of hospitality, Office and Multi-Family real estate. Scott's career spans several companies, over $1B in projects and across 8 different states. He is a 2006 MSU business grad and earned his MBA from the University of Arizona. Scott serves on the Jabs Advisory Council.
This competition is open to all MSU-Bozeman and UM students (undergraduate and graduate), MSU-Bozeman and UM faculty and staff, and recent MSU-Bozeman alumni and UM (10 years or less). Venture Award winners (1st, 2nd, 3rd place) from previous MSU $50K competitions were not eligible to complete. The venture must not have received any institutional funding (Venture Capital or Angel) at this time, but grants such as SBIR/STTR or MSU/UM funding is allowed.
*If you do not qualify to compete in this event, we have other services available and would love to connect with you. Please contact us at [email protected] or click here to schedule a meeting with the LaunchPad.
This unique event will feature $50,000 in prize money as well as access to experienced entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and numerous network resources. Aside from monetary prizes, participants will receive valuable feedback from judges and capture the attention of investors, potential customers, and supporters.
Schedule an appointment with the LaunchPad for venture coaching: https://www.montana.edu/launchpad/schedule.html
Questions? Contact the LaunchPad: [email protected] or 406-994-4383.
2021 Winning Ventures:
Traditional Venture Track:
1st Place, $14,000: Resilient Computing
2nd Place, $6,000: SporeAttic
3rd Place, $4,000: TWEERL
Judges' Choice Award, $1,000: Flux Motion
Slanted Digital Design Services, $5,000: Medicine Mountain Scrub Company
Social Venture Track:
1st Place, $14,000: Foothold
2nd Place, $6,000: The Growing Health Tea Project
3rd Place, $4,000: Positivity Outward
Judges' Choice Award, $1,000: Round Table
Slanted Digital Design Services, $5,000: Positivity Outward
*official winners announcement: https://www.montana.edu/news/21093/
The 14 finalists were selected from among 36 entries submitted by MSU students, faculty,
staff and recent alumni.
Traditional Venture Track to pitch Wednesday, April 7:
- Big Sky Mountain Products, building the world's most reliable, durable, and affordable climbing skins.
- Flux Motion, Innovative new helmet inserts to greatly improve protection for athletes.
- Ignis Technologies, the tools to modernize how firefighting organizations communicate and distribute information.
- Medicine Mountain Scrub Company, producing sustainably sourced, ethically manufactured medical workwear for women.
- Ninja Marmot Bicycle Company, high-performance solid-state full suspension bike frame.
- Resilient Computing, novel computer technology that can survive space radiation.
- SporeAttic, LLC, a commercial gourmet mushroom farm in Bozeman, MT.
- TWEERL, connects friends and family in the real world - helping them easily explore activities and make plans together.
Social Venture Track to pitch on Thursday, April 8th are:
- Bonbon Bouye, which translates to “Baobab delight”, is a children’s peanut nutrition bar, produced by women who have small farms in Kaffrine, Senegal, in efforts to boost economic development and provide job opportunities.
- Foothold, building high-quality, sustainable, and affordable prefabricated homes.
- Positivity Outward, aims to help improve the mental health of rural youth by connecting them to service opportunities that encourage personal development and community improvement.
- Roundtable, facilitating dialogue around racism in America to challenge and change the status quo within communities and political systems.
- Success Prints, innovative products and services to help students excel in the transition to college.
- The Growing Health Tea Project, creating and supporting a local tea marketplace in the Blackfeet Nation.
2020 Winning Ventures:
Traditional Venture Track:
1st Place: OptimaLabs -- $15,000
2nd Place: NanoMagnetic Solutions -- $6,000
3rd Place: Agile Focus Designs -- $4,000
Social Venture Track:
1st Place: Freats -- $14,000
2nd Place: The Ant Network -- $6,000
3rd Place: Turtle Island Tales -- $4,000
Judges Choice Award: PATH -- $1,600
*official winners announcement: http://www.montana.edu/news/20038/
Our 14 finalists: Agile Focus Designs, The Ant Network, Authors A.I., CuraVoice, Dugal Health, Freats LLC, Make Kin Milkweed Apparel, Nanomagnetic Solutions, Optima Labs Inc., PATH, SkyCivic, Sky Oro, Success Prints, and Turtle Island Tales. Click here for the full announcement.