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New West Daily Roundup for Oct. 6, 2015

Today in New West news: Bozeman Fiber is putting in 23 miles of fiber infrastructure, an Idaho timecard software company receives a huge investment, an Albuquerque-based IT firm is expected to double revenue next year, and the Denver Office of Economic Development compiles a funding guide for entrepreneurs.

Bozeman Fiber Inc., based out of Bozeman, Montana, is building a new network for the entire city. They’ve already secured funding for phase one, raising $3.85 million in private financing. Bozeman tech firm Elixiter announced Friday the funding would come from loans made by Bozeman-area banks: First Montana Bank, Bank of Bozeman, First Interstate Bank, Big Sky Western Bank, Rocky Mountain Bank, U.S. Bank, American Bank, and Opportunity Bank.

Construction is expected to start next spring, with service available in the fall, with downtown and North Seventh Avenue (the “Midtown” corridors, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle) receiving service. This will include Bozeman High School.

“The education of today is not just in the classroom. They reach out to everywhere in the world. And in order to do that we need good solid internet access that is reliable,” said Steve Johnson, Deputy Superintendent Operations of Bozeman Public Schools, in a video for KAJ18 News.

Bozeman Fiber President Anthony Cochenour also said he expects the organization will expand coverage across the community over time.

Now over to Idaho, where an Eagle-based timecard software company announced a $15 million investment received from Summit Partners, a prominent American growth equity firm. TSheets plans to use the investment to build up, doubling to 200 employees in 2016. The move comes after some troubled history; TSheets nearly folded just after its founding in 2006, and only just became profitable in 2014. Now, they’re clearly on the rise. From the Idaho Statesman:

Often, successful startups need to raise millions in investor money in order to grow to the point where they can turn a profit. Other than accepting “modest” angel investment in 2008, TSheets funded its own growth, Rissell said. Today, the company has 80 employees and tracks time to process $8 billion in payroll annually from companies in more than 100 countries.

“We could have raised money over last two years without problems,” Rissell said. “We were profitable. We had (venture capitalists), private, growth and equity investors beating on our door to try to invest in TSheets. we’re profitable. It wasn’t about the money. It was about getting the smartest people on the planet wrapped around your company to help grow to the next level.”

The company waited until Summit Partners came calling, Rissell said. Summit holds more than $6.5 billion in investments in more than 400 companies, including Boise tech companies Clearwater Analytics, Extended Systems and ProClarity, the latter of which was bought by Microsoft.

TSheets also has a satellite office in Sydney, Australia, but its headquarters mainly employs Idaho residents, citing the potential of graduates from Boise State University and locals.

Down in Albuquerque, New Mexico, tech business is booming too. Kemeth Group, an information technology management and engineering firm, is expected to double its revenue in the next year, thanks to new contracts with federal agencies and medical clinics. If their predictions come true, they will pull in more than $60 million. From the Albuquerque Journal:

The company, which provides a comprehensive suite of IT services to clients in 26 states, signed a new, $20 million contract in September with Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. The General Services Administration also selected Kemtah in early October as part of a team that will manage a new five-year, $50 million IT services contract. And, the company is now finalizing an agreement with a medical provider in Louisiana and Tennessee that could generate up to $25 million annually.

“In addition to the new contracts, we’ve have a bunch of other contracts that we previously signed that will hit in the final quarter of the year,” said Kemtah President and CEO Stephen Wade. “Taken together, the new contracts will add about $30 million in revenue over the next year.”

That would nearly double the company’s revenue, which reached $35.4 million in 2014. Last year’s total was up from just $14.9 million in 2010, representing a 138 percent increase that landed Kemtah the No. 2 spot this year on the Journal’s Flying 40 list of fast-growing technology companies with more than $10 million in revenue.

The company expects accelerated growth to continue in the next few years, which could mean hundreds of new jobs in New Mexico. That’s because Kemtah is moving to a fully remote-controlled operations strategy that would allow it to manage all contracts around the U.S. from its headquarters here.

“My goal is to employ a few thousand people here over the next few years,” Wade said. “We plan to aggressively expand and grow in New Mexico.”

The company currently employs 300 people at an 85,000-square-foot facility in the Journal Center business district. It employs 250 people in other states that it plans to relocate to New Mexico.

Its two latest contracts with Argonne and the GSA will create another 50 positions here before the end of the year, Wade said.

And finally, up in Colorado, after a smashing Denver Startup Week, the Denver Office of Economic Development has released an updated edition of a resource directory aimed at educating entrepreneurs on their investment opportunities. The Denver Capital Matrix lists almost 400 funding sources, covering bank loans, private equity firms, angel investors, mezzanine sources, and others, giving entrepreneurs a full span of options.

“Access to capital remains one of the top challenges faced by our city’s startup and small business communities,” said OED Executive Director Paul Washington in the Denver Business Journal. “There’s a very healthy mix of investment and financing resources that are supporting our entrepreneurs. To that end, we’re proud to continue sharing these leads through the Denver Capital Matrix.”

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