Good Works Ventures

Good Works Ventures is an early stage Missoula, Montana based investment fund.  While we love to invest in Montana companies, we will consider any company that is paradigm changing and has the potential for good financial return.  We invest in companies that show promise in their technology, scalability and management. We are strong supporters of the Slow Money movement and are always on the lookout for sustainable businesses and technologies of all types.  We will consider most investment vehicles including loans, equity or hybrid instruments.  Take a look through our portfolio companies.  If your company is looking for investment and you feel like you would be a good fit, please be sure to contact us.  If you are an investor who is interested in co-investing along side us or you would like us to take a look at your portfolio companies, we are happy to engage in that conversation.  We invite both entrepreneurs and investors to our monthly meetings of the Hellgate Venture Network.

We recognize the value of promoting entrepreneurship throughout Montana and as such and we are also involved with a number of programs that work to catalyze entrepreneurship including: the Hellgate Venture Network, the Innovation Initiative program with the Missoula Economic Partnership, and Missoula's Startup Weekend. A calendar of events can be found on the Upcoming Events page. If you would like more information or to get involved with any of these projects please let us know.


Good Works Ventures Makes 11th Montana Investment in Ranchers Original

Good Works Ventures is proud to announce that it has made a seed-stage investment in Rancher’s Original, LLC headquartered in Helena, MT. Ranchers Original has developed a unique method for processing and marketing Grass Fed, rancher-direct, growth hormone free, pasture-raised beef that will capture substantial extra value for Montana Ranchers. Ranchers Original is primarily owned and operated by the cattle ranchers who are raising the Ranchers Original cows offering them a chance to control all aspects of the production, marketing and sales. Ultimately these ranchers should see premiums of $100-$150 a head helping secure beef production as a viable business opportunity in Montana. Ranchers Original has working partnerships with Hillary’s Eat Well of Lawrence, KS, Montana Meat Company, Montana Fish Company and Grass Fed Beef Crisps, with other distributors coming soon. If interested in Ranchers Original product or partnerships please contact Cole Mannix, Director of Operations, at 406-544-7329.

Missoula Jobs

Two of the Montana companies we are excited to be investors in are hiring! Goomzee is looking for an ETL (Extract, Transform and Load) Systems Engineer to do cool things with all of their big data as well as a Quality Assurance Engineer/Product Specialist to try to break all of the cool things they are doing with big data. Submittable, the Y Combinator alum, is looking for a front-end developer, a full stack developer (C#) and sales. Pay and benefits are top notch including optional work from home Fridays, chairs costing more than my first car, and getting to work just down the hall from me (Goomzee) to season passes at Snowbowl and optional work any day with more than 8″ of new powder (Submittable).

Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America

David Oien, the CEO of one of the great Montana companies we are investors in, Timeless Seeds, has had a book written about the incredible work he and his friends have done pushing forward the cause of sustainable agriculture. I have had the opportunity to read some of the draft chapters and it is going to be well, well worth the read for anyone interested in the formative years of the organic and sustainable ag movement. Lentil Underground is now available for pre-order from the major retailers and will be released January 27th, 2015.

How to Pitch Your Idea Workshop June 26th

We are thrilled that Jeremy Sauter has agreed to run a “How to Pitch Your Idea” Workshop. This will give you the opportunity to apply the concepts and approaches Jeremy discussed at May’s HVN meeting.

The workshop will run from 4.30pm to approximately 6.30pm on Thursday Jun 26. The workshop will start with some introductory concepts and examples from Jeremy but then devote the majority of the workshop to small teams working on each others ideas and pitches and pitching back to Jeremy and the rest of the attendees.

The workshop will be held in the main conference room at MonTEC on East Broadway.

You can attend with an idea pitch that you want to develop or refine or simply attend and help others with their pitches while learning and applying the concepts.

There is no charge to attend but we do ask that unlike other HVN events you register via the link below.

Please contact Paul Gladen (406.396.3534) if you have any questions.

Staring the Pig in the Face

Good Works Ventures believes strongly in the ethos of the Slow Money movement and we are in the early stages of starting a Slow Money Chapter in Montana. If you are interested in being involved in Slow Money Montana please get in touch. For those of you unfamiliar with the Slow Money movement below is a transcript of the keynote address given by Woody Tasch, founder of Slow Money, at last year’s Slow Money conference.

Staring the Pig in the Face

Startup 101 – Free Webinar from Startup Women Montana

Good Works Ventures’ own Dawn McGee will be participating in a webinar on startup basics Wednesday, May 28th from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. The panel will be moderated by Diane Smith, CEO of American Rural, and will additionally include Liz Marchi of the Frontier Angel Fund, Sarah Calhoun of Red Ants Pants and director of the University of Montana LaunchPad/HVN Co-Founder Paul Gladen. If you’re interested in attending you can register at:

Relative Importance of Key Factors in Venture Capitalists’ Valuation of New Ventures:

A 2001 study by Hill and Power1 asked venture capitalists to rate a number of factors when valuating a deal (5 most important, 1 least). The results (below) may be something to consider when putting together business plans and investment pitches.

Key Factor Points
Quality of Management 4.5
Size of market 3.8
Product qualities 3.7
Rate of market growth 3.5
Competition 3.5
Barriers to entry 3.4
Company’s stage of development 3.2
Industry company is in 3.0

1Hill, B., and D. Power (2001). Inside Secrets to Venture Capital, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Brown Bag Lunch – Motivating Your Employees and Influencing Colleagues

I will be attending the Innovation Initiative brown bag lunch tomorrow to hear Jennifer Smith talk about management issues. I have only heard amazing things about Jennifer and I’m very eager to learn how to manipulate…err influence my colleagues. From the announcement:

Do you want to learn how to better motivate your employees or to better influence your colleagues and clients?  Emotional intelligence — the ability to understand yourself and others — is critical for business success. Expert in using applied psychology in business operations, Jennifer Smith will introduce you to a system that will help you improve your emotional intelligence. Participants will gain practical information about the various motivations that people (including you!) may have and how to interact more effectively with them. Handouts with the relevant information as well as a list of further resources will be provided. After her opening presentation, Jen will facilitate a roundtable discussion and answer questions. Bring your lunch.

Cost: Free.

Professional background: Jennifer Smith is a consultant with expertise in developing people and organizations. She has worked in many areas of organizational development such as leadership development, career management, and change management for global organizations in the U.S. and U.K.  She is an adjunct instructor at The University of Montana and teaches courses on organizational behavior and leadership. In addition to her academic training and consultative experience, Jennifer has conducted postgraduate research in the area of work psychology.

Event: Brown Bag Lunch – Motivating Your Employees and Influencing Colleagues
Start: April 25, 2013 12:00 pm
End: April 25, 2013 1:00 pm
Category: Innovation Initiative
Presenter: Jennifer Smith, UM
Updated: January 21, 2013
Venue: MonTEC
1121 East Broadway, Missoula