Chris Heivly, the co-founder of MapQuest met with local tech founders, last week, to share his entrepreneur journey and to discuss ways to develop a thriving startup community in Billings.

Heivly is part of a cohort of successful entrepreneurs at Techstars- a global platform for investment and innovation, that have adopted a philosophy they call, “GiveFirst.” He explained that creating a give-before-you-get cultural norm in Billings is a critical step to attracting talent and creating a vibrant, entrepreneurial culture.

Heivly also encouraged each founder to band together and take on a leadership role. He shared how facilitating regular meetups that bring entrepreneurs together to help each other will have an incredible impact on their own companies over time. “Spend 1 to 2 hours each week meeting and building the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Billings.” He said. “It will benefit your companies in more ways than you know.” After spending almost an hour discussing challenges and opportunities in Billings, the founders ended by sharing why Billings is the right place for them. “I like that Billings is built on a strong foundation, there’s a lot of hard-working people who live here” they said.

Andrew Korf, a business student at Rocky explained how being a part of this entrepreneurial community inspires him to stay here instead of going back home to Boise after he graduates. Founders in attendance included:

Chris Heivly- Co-founder of MapQuest and serial entrepreneur;

 Colter DeVries- Co-founder of Moochdocker;

Josh Toenyes- Co-founder of Cardsetter;

Andy Rahn- Founder of Landsource;

Ethan Kanning- Co-founder of Harken CRE;

Trevor Hartman- Co-founder of Converge and senior staff SRE at Carta;

Kevin Scharfe- Co-founder of Converge;

and director of Rock31 Andrew Korf- Finance intern and business student at Rocky Mountain College;

Michael Rae- Livestock BioTech entrepreneur.

To learn more about Billings Entrepreneur Eco-System visit


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