Montana Needs to Develop a More Robust and Active Funding Environment for Entrepreneurs and Startups

Each day we read about startups in Seattle, Silicon Valley and many other communities receiving substantial funding from either Angels or Venture Capital Firms but not in Montana. MATR News: Developing Funding Opportunities in Montana

The 2005 Legislature passed two pieces of legislation that would have provided for the development of both a $60MM Venture Fund (Senate Bill 133) and an Investment Tax Credit Opportunity for Angel Investors (Senate Bill 511). Unfortunately SB 511 was vetoed by Gov. Schweitzer and SB 133 was not passed with the necessary administrative funding to develop it

Many of us would now like to launch a concerted effort to address the lack of startup funding in Montana by developing acceptable legislation and raising the level of awareness among legislators and professionals throughout Montana.

Sen. Jeff Mangan is leading this effort and is distributing this to encourage more to participate:


By way of introduction, my name is Jeff Mangan, and I currently serve in the Montana State Senate from Great Falls. I have met and talked with many of you over the past couple of years and I sincerely appreciate the advice and information supplied regarded investment in Montana. It is that advice, information, and perhaps most important, your insight I seek now. I asked Russ Fletcher (MATR) & Webb Brown (Montana Chamber) to assist in the development of an initial list of Montanans involved in business, investment capital, entrepreneurship, etc. in an effort to form what might best be described as a working group to brainstorm and develop ideas in the area of angel investment & venture capital, including SB133 (Montana Equity Capital Investment act) from last session. It is my hope we could present information, policy, ideas, etc. developed through this type of process to both the Governor and the Economic Affairs committee for the purpose of the implementation of SB133, any legislative action required for revising SB133 and new legislation in this area. Additionally, there is a role to play in the private sector as well.

I am not suggesting a number of meetings or gatherings, but rather the sharing and dissemination of information via the web, email, and perhaps a conference call or two. It may be necessary to meet later in the year as a group, also may be necessary to meet with the Governor and the Economic Affairs committee. I plan to make this a success with a framework that will address capital formation issues & needs with government, the private sector, and continue to progress. I will forward details later with a substantive correspondence regarding SB133, SB511, potential topics, process, etc.

Please let me know if your interested and willing to participate. You may also recommend others to participate, and Russ will announce on MATR the creation of the group when ready. Upon positive response, I will also be inviting members of Montana Economic Developers Association’s (MEDA) various committees to participate with us as well.

Let me also take this opportunity to get any politics out of the way. Although I remain a sitting Senator through the end of this year, I am not seeking re-election (I have formally & publicly made that announcement) and will not be serving in the next regular legislative session. My role is as a private citizen, like yourselves, working to develop a better business & investment environment in the State of Montana.

I look forward to your response, and thank you

Jeff Mangan

1223 7th Ave North

Great Falls, MT 59401

406-455-9602 (cell)

406-453-6784 (w)

406-452-6966 (h)

[email protected]


Capital Investment Action Group – Proposed Process

NOTE – Please note the following:


If you would, forward to me a brief statement of why you want to be involved and what your goals are for the group/topics in general

(I will compile and distribute all responses)

2. Once all participants have confirmed, a list of names and email addresses will be forwarded



The introduction of topics/issues/information will be disseminated to participating professionals. Initial goals will be developed and forwarded. All participants are encouraged to disseminate information they have available or as they acquire new & interesting information


General discussion, sharing of thoughts and ideas, etc. can be made via email, website (in development), person to person, phone, meeting, etc. Meeting notes can be forwarded to participants. Email will be the primary method of delivery


Following discussion, an action plan including what is to be accomplished, what needs to be done, a timeline, and those responsible & participating will be implemented

Follow up

With the group on status, progress, and outcome

Time Line

February 2006 – Initiate

Spring – Discussion underway on topics, action plans initiated

Late spring/early summer – Discussion with Governor

Summer/Fall – Legislative priorities to Economic Affairs Committee

Fall – Follow up with Governor

January 2007 – Legislative session


A) General Introduction

MATR News: Developing Funding Opportunities in Montana News

B) Identify successful programs from other states

What worked, why

What hasn’t, what to avoid

Personal experiences

C) SB133 (Montana Equity Capital Investment act)

Fiscal Note:

Study Issues


Proposed “cost” of tax credits in future

Suggested Revisions

Substantive Changes

Action to persuade executive to implement

D) SB511

Fiscal Note:

General Discussion

Pursue as legislation

Suggested Revisions

E) Proposed Legislation

F) Angel Networks



G) Attracting Angel Funding



H) Venture Capital



I) Attracting Venture Capital



J) Other States/Governments successful approaches

Discuss working with Executive; encourage Peer to Peer meetings

K) General Education


Executive Branch


Local Governments

Private Industry


Action group

MATR Roundtables

Private Business Entities

Person to person

L) Other

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