Entrepreneur Plus - Short White
For Subscribers

How One Deal Transformed Bozeman Into a Startup City With Global Aspirations RightNow Technologies is just one of the businesses finding space to grow in Big Sky Country.

By Grant Davis

This story appears in the August 2015 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »


In 2012, Oracle bought Bozeman, Mont.-based software company RightNow Technologies for $1.8 billion and single-handedly reset both locals' and outsiders' perceptions of the university town (population 40,000) and its opportunities.

When programmer Greg Gianforte moved to Bozeman 20 years ago to launch RightNow, he had a theory that he could build a successful company anywhere, thanks to the advent of the internet. He was right. That event proved to be a watershed moment for this 151-year-old city.

A handful of newly minted RightNow millionaires have spun off dozens of startups in the past couple of years and attracted talent from both coasts. Bill Clem, an industrial products and medical devices designer who graduated from Montana State University and stuck around, in 2013 formed KERBspace, a sidewalk-based smart parking meter and electronic billboard platform. Former Patagonia director Joe Walkuski came to town in 2002 to launch TEXbase, which streamlines production for clothing companies like Patagonia and Under Armour. He says things have changed since the RightNow sale. "It's harder to find good people in town," he points out. "But it's easier to get people to move here from Silicon Valley or elsewhere."

This is a subscriber-only article. Join Entrepreneur+ today for access

Related Topics

Business News

'Earth Shaking News': Fans Rejoice Over the Return of 'Retired' McDonald's Cult-Favorite Item

The McRib last appeared on menus in 2022 during the company's self-proclaimed "farewell tour" for the sandwich.

Business Culture

Running a Family Business Means You Need to Prepare Your Kids to Take Over — Here's How to Do It Right.

Planning to pass on your business to your kids? Preparing them for the next phase of your business is a complex and multifaceted process — so here's what you need to do.

Business News

75,000 Kaiser Permanente Unionized Employees Launch Historic Strike Over Pay and Staffing Concerns

It's the largest healthcare worker strike in the United States, affecting 40% of Kaiser Permanente's workforce across multiple states and the District of Columbia.

Business News

'Not Much Financial Education' — Yet Millennials Have Boomers and Gen X Beat When It Comes to Retirement Savings. Here's Why.

Millennials might own fewer homes and make less money — but they're on track for a better retirement.

Business News

These 11 Retailers Are Most Likely to File For Bankruptcy in 2023, According to a New Report

Several well-known retailers already filed for bankruptcy in 2023 — now, a new report is highlighting the retailers most likely to follow suit.

Business News

Two of Amazon's Most Popular Prime Features Might Actually Be Illegal

Among the practices under scrutiny by the FTC are Amazon's "Buy Now" button and the shipping component of Prime.