2017 #INDIETECH COLLEGE TOUR

An American road trip fueled by independent entrepreneurship & the exploration of freedom

#INDIETECH is a movement celebrating the culture of sustainably-built technology companies that guard, above all else, the power of independence.

Wisetail’s Founder, Justin Bigart, is hitting the road to tell our #INDIETECH story to the next generation of the software industry with the goal of inspiring an alternative to VC-backed entrepreneurship. He’ll be visiting Computer Science and Entrepreneurship classes in universities across the country. Along the way, he’ll be chronicling the stories of people  who have tapped into true freedom amidst the growing uncertainty in America.

We believe that the new faces of freedom are software pros and entrepreneurs that consciously choose lifestyle over luxury and fuel their freedom by working from vans on the beach, mountain-town bars, downtown coffee shops and #INDIETECH companies. They are free from the control of venture capital and razor focused on their three stakeholders: customers, employees and their communities. The result is companies with innovative products, meaningful customer experiences, genuine care for their employees, deep community roots, sustainable growth and freedom through independence.

The #indietech logo.
Justin Bigart

Justin Bigart

Founder & CEO

The Roots

Montana-native Justin Bigart bucked the Silicon Valley tech startup culture by starting and building Wisetail as an #INDIETECH company in Bozeman, Montana without venture capital, dedicated to independence, profitability and rapid, self-funded growth. The software-as-a-service (SaaS) company powers great places to work with it’s next generation learning management system (LMS). Since launch in 2008, Wisetail has grown to 35 team members, 2 million users and has been recognized as one of the fastest growing AND best places to work in the country. Justin is passionate about inspiring #INDIETECH entrepreneurship, proving the value of being a great place to work and time spent moving through the mountains. He’s originally from Missoula, Montana, a graduate of the University of Montana and, prior to Wisetail, he wasted some time learning the hard way on the New York Stock Exchange and at Accenture in San Francisco.

I think [the INDIETECH philosophy] is important for our students to hear – that not all graduates must go to work for corporate America. And not all entrepreneurs must find venture capital backing and go into debt in order to be successful. In fact, the message was about following one’s passion in both work and lifestyle, and integrating the two as much as possible. Justin’s love for Montana and the lifestyle it can provide, along with his passion for growing a company that follows the values for which it stands, were the heart of his talk, and the heart of his company. The message was to know who you are – what you love and hate, to stand up for that which is important to you, to go for the slow and steady growth, not the instant and unsustainable rock star path, and to enjoy the journey along the way. If you have the opportunity to host one of Justin’s #INDIETECH Tour 2017 presentations, I would highly recommend it.

Michele Van DyneProfessor and Department Head, Computer Science Montana Tech

Justin's business acumen speaks for itself, but what particularly impressed me was his passion and gift for teaching. He instantly related to students in an authentic way, tapping into their anxieties and hopes for the future. Contesting prevailing narratives about millennials, which pigeonhole them as lazy, entitled, or tech-besotted, he understands that students today are in fact looking to find real sources of value in their work, but are sometimes confused about how to get there. By sketching his own journey, Justin illuminates a compelling path for enterprising young people, which avoids the scylla and charybdis of greed and burnout in favor of sustainable, fulfilling growth.

Aaron Rosen, PhDProfessor of Religious Thought, Rocky Mountain College

Justin Bigart, Founder & CEO of Wisetail debunks the mainstream tech startup narrative by showing how to build and grow a world class SaaS business without funding and without locating yourself in a startup hotbed. Justin’s #INDIETECH tour tracks his journey from Missoula, Montana to the worlds of finance and tech on both coasts before returning to Montana to start Wisetail, a business focused on just three stakeholders – community, customers and employees (that’s right – no investors). Justin’s talk will demonstrate that there is an alternative for software startups. His point is not that one path is better than the other but that every entrepreneur should mindfully choose the path that is best for them and what they want from life and their business.

Paul GladenDirector of Blackstone LaunchPad

The new faces of freedom are software pros and entrepreneurs that consciously choose lifestyle over luxury and fuel their freedom by working from vans on the beach, mountain-town bars, downtown coffee shops and #INDIETECH companies.

Justin BigartFounder & CEO of Wisetail

TOUR DATES

With the goal of inspiring an alternative to VC-backed entrepreneurship, Justin will be sharing our #INDIETECH story on college campuses across the US. Stay up-to-date on tour dates in your area and follow the journey on Medium.

MONTANA   //   WINTER LEG

open to the public  students only 

JAN 30 (FRI) 12 – 1 PM

Bozeman’s 20 Under 40 Luncheon Keynote 

Bozeman, Montana (Hilton Garden Inn)

FEB 06 (MON) 3-4 PM

MT Tech: Computer Science Department 

Butte, Montana (MT Tech Campus)

FEB 08 (WED) 6:30-8 PM

Rocky Mountain College: Religious Thought Department

Billings, Montana (Fraley Lounge in Bair Student Center)

FEB 13 (MON) 4-6 PM

University of Montana: LaunchPad 

Missoula, Montana (U of M Campus, Gilkey Building)

FEB 14 (TUE) 12-1:30 PM

University of Montana: LaunchPad, Hellgate Venture Network & Montana Code School

Missoula, Montana (The Public House)

FEB 22 (WED) 4:30-5:30PM

Bozeman, Montana (Jabs Building, The Innovation Lab)

FEB 28 (TUE) 10-11:30AM

Montana State University: BMGT 461 Class (Business Management)

Bozeman, Montana (Jabs Building)

SOUTHWEST   //   SPRING LEG

MAR/APR 2017

San Francisco > Los Angeles > San Diego >

Phoenix > Las Vegas > Austin (April 21st for MotoGP)

SUMMER & FALL LEGS   //   TBD

Learn More

NOUN IN·DIE·TECH \IN-DĒ \ TEK \ – A TECHNOLOGY COMPANY THAT IS INTENTIONALLY INDEPENDENT AND SELF-FUNDED FOR PHILOSOPHICAL REASONS THAT DRIVE INNOVATION, PERFORMANCE, CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND COMMITMENT TO PLACE