We have talented people, great businesses, and an unparalleled entrepreneurial spirit in Montana. By raising capital, Montanans can leverage those assets to start new businesses, expand existing ones, and create more good-paying jobs in every community under the Big Sky.
As your Securities Commissioner, one of my jobs is to encourage and help facilitate investment in Montana’s businesses. That’s why I launched my statewide “Invest in Montana” tour to promote capital formation.
At our recent Invest in Montana event in Libby, we discussed sources of capital, types of securities, how to properly offer and sell securities under Montana law, investor disclosure requirements, and crowdfunding, among other topics.
State Representative Steve Gunderson, County Commissioner Jerry Bennett, and a wide variety of business owners and community members came out to join the discussion. Tina Oliphant and the Small Business Administration talked about lending programs that are available through the Port Authority and SBA, and getting investment into small, rural communities like Libby and Troy.
Many Montana businesses have already successfully raised funds to launch their products or grow their existing operations. Missoula-based onXmaps recently announced a record $20.3 million in venture capital as they rapidly become “the Google Maps of the backcountry,” providing hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts with top-of-the-line mobile mapping systems covering our vast public lands.
In addition to tech companies, we’ve had breweries, radio stations, and even a Belgrade business that raises edible crickets use crowdfunding and other capital formation methods to start or grow their businesses.
Unfortunately, we’ve also had some bad actors and outright fraudulent schemes mixed in with all the successes. My office recently reached a $5.7 million settlement with a large securities firm after several Missoulians lost money in a bad deal.
That’s why a big focus of my Invest in Montana tour is to educate both investors and business owners on how to legally and responsibly invest. While there are some exemptions to registering securities, anyone looking at soliciting money with the promise of a return on investment should contact my office to make sure the proper procedures are followed. This not only protects investors, it also encourages future investment by limiting bad experiences.
By having these discussions and working together, Montana’s businesses can raise the money they need to create jobs, buy equipment, and launch new products and services. By investing at home, Montanans can build a strong future for both themselves and Montana’s businesses.
To learn more about how you or your business can Invest in Montana, visit our website at www.csimt.gov/invest-in-montana or call us at 406-444-2040.
Matt Rosendale is Montana’s State Auditor, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance.