When It Comes To Access To Venture Capital Funding For Startups, Wyoming Trails Behind Every Other State, Even Falling Behind Puerto Rico.


When It Comes To Access To Venture Capital Funding For Startups, Wyoming Trails Behind Every Other State, Even Falling Behind Puerto Rico, According To Microsoft Wyoming Techspark Manager Dennis Ellis. But while Wyoming is typically seen as a flyover state in the startup world, it isn’t due to a lack of entrepreneurs with big ideas. “That’s where gener8tor comes in,” Ellis said.

Thanks to a Microsoft sponsorship, gener8tor’s gBETA startup pre-accelerator program kicked off in Wyoming last fall, taking a cohort of five businesses on an intensive, seven-week program that teaches founders how to scale their companies, and connects them with investors and resources to help them reach the next level.

gBETA’s second Wyoming cohort embarked on that journey seven weeks ago, and all the mentor meetings and lunches spent learning about pitches and business ventures were exemplified Tuesday evening at the gBETA Cheyenne Pitch Night at Array downtown. The five business founders in the spring cohort, from Laramie, Thermopolis, Casper and Jackson, highlighted what their companies do, what funding or support they’re looking for, and, ultimately, why their idea can be the next big thing.

Though one goal of the program is to catapult these founders to their full potential, the ultimate hope is that this access will help grow the tech economy and workforce in Wyoming, and help create stable, high-paying jobs that serve residents into the future. “The idea is to come in and meet the community where it is,” Ellis said, adding that his job is to “learn how we can help the community with technology, whether that’s broadband deployment or getting computer science into the schools.”

The businesses range from tech-based operations to companies pitching their solution to a common problem, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports. Take Laramie’s High Plains Biochar, for example. Founder Randy Yeatts realized that while people could reuse grocery bags or buy a hybrid car to lessen their impact on climate change, there weren’t many options for actually removing carbon from the atmosphere. A process called biocharring converts biomass like wood chips into biochar, a charcoal-like substance, which turns the carbon in the atmosphere into a more stable form. While the process isn’t new, Yeatts said most equipment uses too much energy to be carbon neutral, which is where High Plains Biochar comes in.

“This is one of only a few truly carbon-negative biotech technologies available today,” he said. On Tuesday, Yeatts said his company is a few months out from the fundraising phase, but he is looking for a co-founder to really get the company off the ground and provide a method for combating climate change. The gBETA pre-accelerator was originally started by Wisconsin-based gener8tor to lift up founders with startups that weren’t quite ready for a full accelerator program, but had potential to succeed, so each founder has a different objective in the program

For Teal, the other startup based in Laramie, the goal is to find a venture capital firm with industry connections that can assist them in changing the streaming industry. While the market of influencers is fairly new, it is lucrative, with vloggers and streamers investing in the best technology to build their platforms. Teal offers the ability to take livestreaming to a whole new level, with sleek, stylish glasses that have integrated cameras and displays that make it easy to capture videos. Founder Mark Poderis said the company also hopes to capitalize on the livestreaming technology that would be applicable if other companies come out with similar smart glasses products.

“It really just opens up the opportunity of catching all that content and sharing it with the world,” Poderis said. After Tuesday, Poderis and Yeatts joined a network of gBETA graduates where the connections run deep. Baylie Evans, the gBETA Cheyenne director, said the gener8tor network will continue to support these companies as they grow and pave the way for the other Wyoming businesses that will follow in their footsteps.

“I’m incredibly proud of and inspired by the hard work and dedication that these startup founders have put in over the last seven weeks of the gBETA Cheyenne program,” Evans said. “With entrepreneurs like these representing Wyoming’s future, we have a lot to look forward to as a state.”

This news was originally published at AP News.