In our winter newsletter, we wrote on the exuberant conditions of the public and private markets of the preceding year. Now in mid-summer, after nearly two years of post-covid exuberance, prices in the public and private markets, especially for high-growth money losing technology companies, have completed a painful mean reversion. Broad-based headwinds to global economic growth persist, with the war in Ukraine, global supply chain disruptions, and a brisk hiking cycle from the Federal Reserve all creating a significant amount of uncertainty. Recent median and top quartile revenue multiples for the Bessemer Cloud Index were 6.7x and 9.52x, off highs of 18.4x and 29.3x at the beginning of September 2021. With multiples reset, what now remains unclear is the path of earnings over the next few quarters, which could create more pain for investors if results surprise to the downside.
The business press has provided a steady flow of negative headlines, with titles like Fear and Loathing Return to Tech Start-Ups. Our view of the world is always distorted by the media we consume. Hannah Ritchie from Our World in Data highlighted this fact in 2019 when she published a piece titled, “Does the news reflect what we die from?” While media coverage in the New York Times and The Guardian would suggest about two percent of all deaths are caused by heart disease and 23 percent the result of homicide, those two causes account for 30 percent and .9% of deaths in the US, respectively. The point here is while founders and funders are most definitely feeling pain as a result of challenging market conditions today, the incessant dribble of glum news disguises a lot of positive momentum behind the venture ecosystem in our region, especially in Montana.
A great Montana success story continued, with Submittable closing a $47M Series C financing, led by Accel-KKR, to continue expanding its platform which enables organizations of all types and sizes to launch, manage, and measure social impact programs. This was a landmark financing for Montana, almost unthinkable just a few years ago. The 2020 census confirmed Montana, Idaho, Utah, Colorado and other Rocky Mountain states attracted big net population inflows as our region continues to attract talented entrepreneurs who will eventually start or work at early stage software companies that NFC will back.
A Slack workspace of 605 Bozeman based tech workers we co-manage with several local entrepreneurs has members working at Airbnb, Google, a16z, Uber, Apple, Stripe, and Sequoia, among others. Early research on pandemic induced migration flows seems to indicate the trend of the talented urbanite exiting the city for the Rocky Mountain lifestyle will continue. Weighing the good news and the bad, we find lots to get excited about in our region, and remain optimistic that our ecosystem will be flourishing five to ten years from now, regardless of the vicissitudes of the coming months.
Our firm continues to grow and mature. We recently welcomed Scott Holton, long time Bozeman based partner at Rudd & Co, to our team as CFO. We have adopted new tools and processes to ensure we are building relationships with driven and talented founders across the Rockies. We continue to build robust relationships with other firms in our region who share our values, and are excited to announce NFC, in partnership with the RMVCA, will be co-hosting an event for early career VCs in the Rocky Mountains in Bozeman later this month. We take pride in being a local provider of capital to Rockies based founders building technology companies of impact, utility, and value and if you know founders we should meet, put us in touch. And remember, in the face of a lot of gloomy news, there is a lot to be excited about in the Rocky Mountain technology ecosystem!
As always, thank you for your continued support,
Will, Richard, Les, Kirsten, Scott, Garrett, and Mandy
BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front):
We are excited to announce that Scott Holton, CPA, joined Next Frontier Capital in July 2022 as Chief Financial Officer.
Prior to joining NFC, Scott spent 24 years in public accounting. After graduating from Montana State University with a Masters of Professional Accountancy degree, he joined PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP in their audit department. At PwC he spent over 5-years primarily performing audits of publicly traded, and other middle market, companies in the energy and utility industries. Scott left PwC as an audit manager in 2003 and returned to Bozeman.
Upon his return to Bozeman, Scott joined the regional accounting firm, Rudd & Company, where he helped build and grow their local audit and tax professional services practice. Scott spent over 18 years with Rudd & Company as one of their senior partners growing the Bozeman office from 8 to nearly 50 employees. During that time he also was instrumental in building this local firm into a major player in the Montana market. He believes the experience he gained advising clients, growing the firm and mentoring employees will be extremely valuable in this next chapter of his career. Scott is excited about joining NFC, having enjoyed his partners, staff and clients at Rudd, but wanting to pursue his other dream of helping early stage start-up companies. The chance to work with the NFC team is quite an honor as their character and ethics are second to none.
Scott has been actively involved in the Bozeman community having been a member of the Bozeman Sunrise Rotary club for 15 years, 5 of which the Treasurer. He served as the past Chair & Treasurer of the Greater Gallatin United Way and serves on the Accounting Advisory Counsel for the Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship at Montana State University. He referees youth and high school soccer and enjoys running, biking and generally being outdoors in one of the greatest places in the country.
Scott lives in Bozeman with his wife, Jennie, of 22 years and their two children Alexis and Allister.
Please help us congratulate NFC’s Garrett Leach on his promotion to Associate! We are so happy to have him on our team and are excited for his future with the firm. INVESTMENT UPDATES
Since our last update we have been able to invest in two new, exciting companies. We look forward to announcing more in the coming months.
More Portfolio Company NewsPORTFOLIO UPDATES
Venture In the Rockies Newsletter (Will Price):
Found In The Rockies (with Les Craig):
Recent Firm/Partner Mentions:
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN OUR NETWORK - UPDATE
Our portfolio companies are still still growing and hiring for over 100 different roles. If you or someone you know would be a great candidate for any of these opportunities, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from you!
UPCOMING REGIONAL EVENTS
And finally, if you know a great company in the Northern Rockies, send them our way!
Reach out to us on our website to submit a pitch deck. We would love to hear from you!
Until winter, Scott, Les, Kirsten, Will, Garrett, Richard, Mandy, and The NFC team