Found In The Rockies

John Temte (Temte Capital & WY Global Tech Partnership) \\ Bringing capital and attention to the Wyoming ecosystem

March 09, 2022 Les Craig Season 2 Episode 14
Found In The Rockies
John Temte (Temte Capital & WY Global Tech Partnership) \\ Bringing capital and attention to the Wyoming ecosystem
Show Notes Transcript

In today’s episode, I talk with John Temte. He is a general partner with Temte Capital and the co-founder and chair of Wyoming's Governor's Global Technology Partnership. John talks about his background and how he turned from entrepreneur to investor. We discuss what Boulder was like in the mid 2000s. He shares with us a little bit about the Wyoming Tech Partnership, how it got started. He talks about Wyoming’s ecosystem and what’s unique about it. He talks about the current trends and the energy industry. John makes predictions on the future of tech in Wyoming. 

Here’s a closer look at the episode:

  • Entrepreneur turned investor
  • Boulder in mid-2000s
  • The importance of networking
  • From Boulder to Wyoming 
  • The Governor's Global Technology Summit 
  • Wyoming's ecosystem 
  • Trends and the energy industry 
  • Crypto and Wyoming 
  • Future of tech and entrepreneurship in Wyoming 



2022 Global Summit:

John’s LinkedIn:

John 00:00

Randall handed Shawn, entrepreneur from Cheyenne, Wyoming, his business card and says, I might have some business for you. Why don't you, and I thought like that is the coolest thing because here in Jackson in this barn, this CEO of one of the biggest companies in the US, AT&T, Randall Stephenson is like the most polished guy, he hands Shawn his business card. I thought that is very cool. That just happened here. I mean let's keep it going. And then I also thought about the outcomes, and how the outcomes are really important.

Les 00:39

This is Found in the Rockies, a podcast about the startup ecosystem, and the Rocky Mountain region, the founders, funders and contributors and the stories of what they're building. I'm Les Craig from Next Frontier Capital. And on today's show, we have John Temte. He is a general partner with Temte Capital and the co-founder and chair of Wyoming's Governor's Global Technology Partnership, which was founded to find new technologies to advantage rural peoples and accelerate accessibility on a global scale. Today, John is going to share with us a little bit about the Wyoming Tech Partnership, how it got started. What's unique about Wyoming and what the future of venture looks like, in that great state. Hi, John, thanks so much for joining us today.

John 01:25

Hi, Les. It's great to be here with you. I'm excited. 

Les 01:29

Yeah, I'm excited too and I'm excited that we found you in the Rockies because I hear that you're not always the easiest person to pin down.

John 01:38

I kind of come out of my hole for the Tech Summit and then I kind of you know, so when you say you but you know your your pod’s called, you know, Found in the Rockies, you definitely found me the Rockies, which I think for some people might be a little bit hard to do so.

Les 01:52

Well, all the more reason why we're excited.

John 01:55

I'm in Cody, Wyoming in my small office and very happy here in downtown Cody.

Les 02:01

super excited to start off, why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about your story and your journey as an entrepreneur? Who who turned investor?

John 02:11

Sure, sure. Sure. So I grew up in Laramie, why I have three brothers and I have been I kind of grew up as an entrepreneur, I remember about the age of five or six, my father told me, you know, you could either work for yourself, or you could work for someone else. And so we started, you know, like a lot of people probably do a little lawn mowing company, my brother and I, and then I got into bicycles. And so I had a little bike shop out of our garage, and I would service all of the neighbors bikes, and so on and so forth. So I've always been sort of a, you know, the kind of guy that's kind of naturally been an entrepreneur, I was kind of like the, you know, the flexibility and kind of the ownership over your day that comes along with that. And so, that being said, I left Wyoming, I wanted to play college basketball. So I ended up out in California, I went to California State University, Chico, I played varsity basketball there. And so then I realized when I was there, that I wasn't probably going to be playing basketball much longer. I thought I wanted to be an athletic director, I thought I wanted to work in sports. And so I had a meeting with a gentleman who was kind of a senior level at the athletic department at the University of Wyoming. He mentioned to me that if you want to be in athletics, it's helpful if you know how to sell. And so I thought, Here I am at this kind of low budget University, and how am I going to get experience so that I could get picked up by a pro sports team or college athletic department, what's going to separate me from everyone else. And so one day, I'll never forget it, my junior year, we were stretching before practice. And I'm looking up at all the signage in the arena, and it looks pretty old. And I remember that, you know, they used to do these fundraisers, which I always thought were, you know, a total joke. And so I thought, you know, I'm gonna go create my own job here. And so I went, and I asked the athletic director, I said, ‘Hey, are those signs current?’ And she said, ‘Well, no, because we don't have anyone doing that job to sell them.’ And so I said, ‘Great, I will sign up.’ I said, ‘I have a deal for you. You don't have to pay me anything. But if I sell it, I want a percentage.’ And so I ended up creating a little company, my first little startup doing that, and kind of the light bulb turned on when I realized that I could make the pitch about why college athletics was something to support, you know, from a community perspective. And so I cut a multi year deal with these sponsors before I left. So after I was gone from college, I was still getting paid 

Les 04:33

Mailbox money, nice. 

John 04:34

And I'm all about the mailbox money. That kind of enabled me to get a job at the San Francisco 49ers where I got exposed to some of the people that eventually became some of my very good friends. Those guys happen to be a few of the kind of early stage guys that started PayPal. And so when people talk about ‘it's it's all about who you know,’ you know, I through sports. So I ended up meeting these folks. And they were just I realized that I had met some people that were very, very smart. And and I thought about, okay, like, you know, how am I going to sort of, you know, take what I love about entrepreneurship and somehow get involved in tech. And so that was kind of my first kind of, like, kind of idea about, you know, Okay, I gotta figure this out here. So yeah,

Les 05:22

what a metaphor, I love the metaphor of stretching, stretching before practice like that is so cool. Stretching is one of those things that I feel like, you know, especially when you're young, it's like, I don't need to do that. I'll just kind of go through the motions, but like, you actually use that experience to be present. Right, have an idea and an inspiration. Like, that's so cool.

John 05:43

Yeah, and I really wasn't thinking that it would lead me to tech or, or anything, I was just looking to figure out a way to, you know, I probably had sent out, I remember, I used to get the mail at my college, you know, apartment, and I would get all these rejection letters from a wide variety of pro sports teams. But I really thought it was kind of cool, because these letters would come in the mail, and it would have like the Miami Dolphins logo on it, or the NFL logo, or like the PGA Tour, and I was just like, they were all rejection letters. But nonetheless, I was like, they actually sent me something back. So…

Les 06:15

Yeah, just just the fact there's a logo on it kind of makes it kind of frame-able. 

John 06:19

I saved them all. I still have them. 

Les 06:20

That’s so cool. 

John 06:21

But yeah, eventually I was able to get get a job just because I had had, you know, I kind of created my own sales experience.

Les 06:30

And so was that the inspir…like some of that experience of that inspiration then for, you know, starting starting a company, you said, is that was that a eSwarm? Or?

John 06:39

Yep, yep, yep. And so basically, what I did is I, you know, I was involved in business development and pro sports. And so when I got there, you know, they, they had hired some very, you know, what I still consider today to be top notch sales trainers. And so they would take you through a script about how to properly open a dialog, and then take people through, and then eventually close them. And so I thought, after a while, you know, I'm going to move up over the years, you know, and I ended up really, you know, I worked very hard in pro sports, and they would have competitions and, you know, humbly, you know, I'm still pretty proud of the fact that I won to a few of them. And they were, you know, kind of more than just one team kind of, you know, they would kind of separate the league a little bit. But anyway, I thought if I if I can do this for someone else, I could probably do it for myself. And I had already had the kind of the confidence I had the mailbox money coming in. And I was like, I'm out of here. I'm going to go venture out. And so I moved to Palo Alto. And and then I met someone, I met an older gentleman who is actually from Wyoming. He was a constitutional basically like an appellate law attorney. But he had a big education from NYU, very smart, respected guy, and he wanted to start this group buying website. And so I thought, that's interesting. He's in Wyoming. So I invested. And I thought, Okay, I'm gonna just get in the game here with some of my, you know, mailbox money. And so…

Les 08:04

Put some chips, you gotta put some chips on the table, right? 

John 08:08

Yeah, spreading some chips out here and there. Trying to get it on these little deals in Palo Alto. And then the eSwarm deal kind of came up. And it turned out that I invested. And then I ended up running because it was like, I realized that nobody really knew what they were doing. And I didn't really there, but I jumped in. I called my buddy just was a part of selling PayPal. And I said, ‘Hey, man, like, will you become an advisor?’ And so we kind of went down that road. At which point, you know, the burn rate was getting up there. And Palo Alto, pretty expensive town, I realized that we had a lot to figure out. And so I said, You know what, we're gonna go to Boulder, because Boulder’s half the cost at the time. And I know there's a little tech community there. And it's close to Wyoming. And I know people in Wyoming and, you know, this will be a good way for me to kind of get back toward, in the region, you know, so

Les 09:02

Pretty forward, leaning back then. I mean, how many? What was Boulder like? Because this was like in the what early early 2000s?

John 09:07

was like, this was yeah, this was like mid 2000s. And so this was kind of like, you know, I remember they had, like, some of the very first tech meetups where they use like And and I think people still use that. But you're definitely huge. 

Les 09:23

Sure, sure. It’s huge.

John 09:24

Definitely, like right around it shortly after we got there. Or I guess, a little bit after we got there. TechStars kind of popped up. And so it was this tiny ecosystem, but it was great because we could go recruit from CU. There were other tech companies around there were a lot of smart people in the town. They had a big outdoor gear presence, which is something that I definitely tapped into, over the years of trying to figure out that group buying company which was definitely the one of the experience that are the experiences that I've had in my life that I think really kind of shape my views on investing and also kind of toughened me up in a way. And so in the end, we spent a few million bucks trying to figure that out. We were fighting Groupon in the early days, then Living Social popped up. And I thought, you know, based on what we're seeing, should we like, you know, do what they're doing? Or should we go on our own, and I kind of talked to some big investors and made a couple of decisions that in the end, you know, we so eSwarm never actually never actually worked out. But a couple of companies that I personally started to feed those big group deals, those ones ended up, you know, being successful. So, 

Les 10:35

Oh, that's, that's fascinating. 

John 10:36

Yeah. So there was a company called Adventure Shed, which actually sold more tents and sleeping bags than anyone in the Rocky Mountain region over one summer. So it was a pretty old school company, where we focused a lot on backlinking, and bundling deals, but we would try to run these massive group buying deals on eSwarm, where we would just unload a ton of product. And, you know, it was probably six or seven different iterations of trying to figure that out. And what Groupon did, I never really believed in it. And so we kind of we went down that path, and it kind of led me to the point where I was able to say, okay, you know, I'm ready to start investing more and keep starting companies. And so I've just kind of kept going,

Les 11:15

That's awesome. I mean, what a journey to to really pour yourself into something and then see the other things that you have your fingers in on the side, sort of be the be the actual ones that you know, kind of, rise to the top.

John 11:27

I kind of wanted to be my own customer, you know, so I was like, I have to learn, you know, how to have that sort of, like look at like one vertical and really get involved in you know, one space and because Boulder had such an outdoor presence, outdoor gear presence, a lot of companies developing there, that just seemed like a natural fit. I also am someone who, you know, I remember I probably hiked you know, the Flagstaff or flat iron Flagstaff trail on the flat irons up to the Flagstaff House Restaurant. I bet I've done that hike a few thousand times. So I would think about the, you know, the group buying, you know, company in the space as I would hike that trail trying to basically banging my head against the wall trying to figure this out. 

Les 12:11

Boy, that's, that's a challenge. I wonder if there's any other founders that have hiked it more. That seems like it could be a record for tech founders in Boulder.

John 12:18

I definitely saw a lot of the same people every day. Okay, so yeah.

Les 12:24

Amazing. So then what was it? So as part of the journey then so you were in Boulder for what about a decade or so? Or?

John 12:31

Yeah, I was probably there for probably, I would say eight years.

Les 12:35

Yeah. And what did what was that like? I mean, just observing. I mean, I assume a lot of growth, a lot of change.

John 12:41

Yeah. Yeah. You know, I went to a lot of different, you know, meetups I saw kind of, you know, Brad Feld and Jason Mendelson, like I saw them kind of come in. And really, you know, you know, Brad is, he was like a rock star, and back then in Boulder, and still is, but the bet that they've made on that kind of, you know, part of, you know, kind of the Rocky Mountain region. And that ecosystem is something that you know, that it's really grown since then. They did this thing called cofounder dating, which I thought was very cool, you'd go in, and you would put a sticker on your chest, and it would be like, I have an idea, or, you know, I'm a coder, so and they would try to match people up.

Les 13:22

Yeah, yeah, early days. It’s super fun that you were a part of that.

John 13:24

We'd go to the Boulder, and do, you know, do all those things. And we were, you know, recruiting people. And it was, it was, I had a team of, you know, young people, and we worked you know, very, very hard to try to figure it out. It was a great experience. I, I look back on it. And I learned so much through the during that period of time. And it really kind of gives me sort of a good sense about what I'm looking at, when I look at a lot of deals.

Les 13:54

Yeah, for sure. Well, and then I'd love to talk a little bit about the path of, you know, kind of shifting gears from, you know, operator, founder to investor and kind of what that experience was like, for you and, and, you know, some of some of the strengths you you find as a result of that, that journey.

John 14:12

Sure, sure. So, you know, for me, I, you know, I, so I had my, my win, you know, out of college, and then I went through this journey, and really kind of, you know, the classic kind of tour of duty as a founder. And I didn't go into it wanting to be like a co-founder. But I ended up in that, which was interesting. And then, as I continued down that path, I continued to invest in different companies that were connected to my network, which was largely kind of the, in the initial days, it was just, you know, I happen to meet someone who, you know, was like the ninth employee of PayPal, and then through that, I ended up meeting a lot of people and it just so happened that those people were doing like really, really cool things,

Les 14:57

I've heard of them, I’ve heard of a few of those.

John 15:00

So I continued to kind of like, focus on that, that part of my network from an investment standpoint, and then also, you know, down in Boulder, so my wife, she, she went to CU. And I met her in Boulder. And then when we had an opportunity to exit one of the companies, then I thought, Okay, I'm going to go to Wyoming because it's my home state. It has no state income tax. And so I and I hadn't been home since I left for college. And so I ended up like going back to Laramie, I got a house a block away from where I grew up, and I hung out there, got connected, you know, spent some time with my folks. And then I worked my way up to Cody, Wyoming. And we spend a lot of time over in Jackson as well. But we kind of we still have the place in Laramie, have a place up here in Cody, where we spend a lot of time and Wyoming's kind of it's my place now. So

Les 15:47

That's awesome. That's where we met at. In fact, I think it was at the Governor's Global Technology Summit last last fall. And so I'd love to love to talk a little bit about that, because you were sort of instrumental in getting this initiative off the ground, and it's really become something very special.

John 16:02

Yeah. Well, it's very kind of you to say that Les. You know, so when I got back to Wyoming, I got a call from Governor Matt Mead. And and he basically said, you know, I hear you move back, I hear you grew up here, I want to talk about economic diversification. And so, you know, he asked me to come over for dinner. And so I thought, Alright, this is pretty cool. I'm going to call one of my buddies, who now is like, you know, one of my good friends that I do a lot of investing with. And so I took I took Jack Selby with me, and Jack works with Peter Thiel. And so we went over there to the governor's house, in Cheyenne. And we I remember when the gates opened, were like, was pretty cool, you know? And I never really met him before. So we were just like, sort of, okay, like, this is fun. We'll see how this goes, you know? 

Les 16:53

I'm picturing you guys like riding in on horses. But was that that wasn't the case. No. With hats on, cowboy hats?

John 17:02

That would have been cooler. Yeah, yeah. We did kind of make sure we dressed up in like cowboy boots and like, you're gonna sort of like act the part, I guess. But yeah, we sat down with him. And he kind of just wanted to, you know, chat about, he said, I really want to do something that could help diversify Wyoming's economy because we're an energy ag and tourism state, and we're so overweight, kind of in those areas. And he recognized the tech industry as being something that was, you know, an industry of the future, in his words, and, and so he said, you know, guys, what, what could we do to kind of, you know, what can what do you got any ideas. And so, we sat there for a minute, we thought, you know, the Allen and company guys have that big summit over in Sun Valley. And that's a pretty high profile event. It's pretty cool. And we have Jackson Hole and Wyoming. And that's a pretty cool place that a lot of tech guys like to pop in and out of, and have homes that, you know, there. And so we thought, like, what if we could create a mini Sun Valley focused on tech, just with kind of the local Silicon Valley, you know, kind of crowd at the time, and this was nine years ago. So we were like, you know, I think we could probably identify a handful of people, that would be high profile kind of names that might show up and talk to us about how do we think about diversification and diversify Wyoming's economy? What do you got to do to have a vibrant tech industry in a state like Wyoming? Where do you start? Where do you focus? What are the things that the governor and the state legislature and the delegation, you know, what are all these questions that, you know, you can we can ask of the people that have been in different ecosystems? So remember, we had a gentleman who was a part of kind of the early stages of the Seattle tech ecosystem, and he has a place in Jackson. And so he came over and, and then we ended up having the FIRST Tech Summit, it was that it was in a, we had it at a golf course.

Les 19:01

Of course, of course, it was a high tech barn.

John 19:07

Yeah. Right. And so we had the first tech summit there. And then after that, we, you know, we kind of, were able to sort of get it going. And I remember in the early days, you know, people were kind of wondering, you know, is this kind of going to be a one time event and and I sort of thought, you know, we actually had some really amazing people show up to this thing. The governor is really committed to it. What it really needs is somebody to kind of jump in and have a really good reason to do it, and a good reason to do all the work, right? And and I thought, Okay, we just had a panel, for example, the first year, Randall Stephenson, who at the time was the CEO of AT&T, he was on he was he showed up on a panel. And then we had a guy by the name of Shawn Mills, who was the CEO and founder of Green House Data, and I put them on the same panel together and Randall handed Shawn, entrepreneur from Cheyenne, Wyoming his business card and says, I might have some business for you. Why don't you and I thought like, that is the coolest thing. Because here in Jackson in this barn, this CEO of one of the biggest companies in the US, AT&T, Randall Stephenson who is like the most polished guy, you know, I mean, amazing guy. He's hands Shawn  his business card, I thought that is very cool. That just happened here. I mean, let's keep going. And then I also thought about the outcomes, and how the outcomes are really important. And to me personally, growing up in Wyoming, you know, it, you know, I saw a lot of people that, you know, you know, the jobs would in these little towns, they come and go industries hot when the gas gets hot, and, you know, boom, and bust cycles. And so I think it's pretty cool to be a part of an effort that is helping to create good jobs, high paying jobs, I've got, yes, yeah, it's it for me. So for me, it's like, it's kind of a, it's kind of something that I deeply care about that, and then these little towns, I mean, if you get one company that come in 20-30 employees that are, you know, making, you know, well over the average wage, you can move the debt and a very positive way and it impacts people's quality of life. And for me, that's the real reason why I do the Tech Summit. And then it's a way for me to share my network and, and also just meet people like you and other people that are excited about making a difference. So.

Les 21:32

Well, I, I really appreciated the authenticity of the people that showed up. And with that, with that sort of very unified, you know, mindset of let's, let's work on thinking about ways to diversify the economy, let's work on ways to support local entrepreneurs. And the entrepreneurs that showed up were quite impressive. I mean, it was, so it was really neat to see local people that were actually trying to do the work, and then pairing them with people from outside the ecosystem that had the resources had the network had the that's, that's what it takes to jumpstart an ecosystem. Right?

John 22:08

Right, right. And, you know, what we've kind of figured out is like, you know, we always kind of get the question of, you know, so it's great to have a tech summit, but you know, what are the outcomes and really, you know, from my point of view, it's just about basic blocking and tackling, it's about finding founders that wanted to start a company, it's about hooking them up with mentors that are meaningful to them in the space that they're operating in. And then it's about helping them to find access to capital, which is like a major issue in Wyoming. And that's the, that's a role that we are, you know, that I've been playing kind of on my own. But it's, it's been a difficult thing for me, because when I have access to some of the deals from some of my buddies, you know, I'm looking at those deals, and it's like, well, you know, this guy, like, pretty smart, you know, like, these companies are rolling spinning out of other companies. And like, we've known the people for a long time, and, but I really am dedicated to finding the entrepreneurs in Wyoming that and I think there's a list of them, I know them, you know, and I'm just excited to do to do deals with them in the future as they kind of get further down the line. And that's something that that we're working on, we actually pretty close to closing a deal just did little Jackson Hole Tech Partnership, nonprofit is what runs the Wyoming Global Tech Summit, but that nonprofit is, is has set up a for profit venture are and we just launched it, we just closed our first deal. So and we were Yeah, we're kind of just looking to operate alongside a bigger a bigger investor or a bigger VC and, and really just kind of come in with some value added capital. And I think that the network that is the board at JCP, which, you know, includes it's a pretty good board, which is how we kind of source a lot of our speakers. And then, of course, the speakers come through and you know, I want to sustain this thing, so that it lives well beyond me. And so the way to do that is to give a little bit of the, you know, the carry back to the nonprofit. And so that's sure, and it really allows us to kind of say, okay, like, you came to the Tech Summit, you heard these speakers, some of these guys are like, you know, majorly big guys, but I want it to be inspirational. And I want to be able to say, okay, like, if you go to work, like we're going to be there for you to help walk you into the offices on Sand Hill Road with all these different firms that we have access to that we've known. And and I think it's better if the companies are in this region and in Wyoming because otherwise we lose all those our best and brightest, and they go to other places. And a lot of times, as you know, you know, it used to be the case and it still kind of is the case where VCs, you know, they don't really want to get on a plane to do meeting they kind of want to have you come to them so

Les 24:52

Yeah, unfortunately but yeah, it's changing a little bit. But I yeah, I do want to underscore what you said though, John, ‘cause I think it's it's It's super insightful and very important. It's because it's it's especially in our region. And just more broadly, I'll say, you know, the Northern Rockies or the Intermountain West, it's not just about sourcing that seed stage capital or that early stage capital, that angel capital, because if that's all it was about, we are there'd be this massive trough of just like dead companies, it's about getting them to the coasts or not necessarily just the coast, because we're getting to the next round, right? And it's through, yeah, networks, and people like yourself,

John 25:30

And I really had to ask myself over. So we're gonna do the ninth Summit, right, and we do one every year. But I really had to ask myself, you know, is there any sort of like entity in Wyoming, that that is ready to write a check of from like, 250, up to like 3 million in that space that could be early, it could be, you know, part of, you know, kind of the, you know, and what we obviously really prefer to do is have, you know, someone who really, really knows the space, the right fit for the entrepreneur to come in and kind of lead it, and then we'll kind of come in and help out. And that's kind of where I want to be, but I want to make sure that we're kind of putting our flag up in a way that's meaningful. And when I asked the question about, like, who's out there ready to write that million dollar check? Like, I'm not quite sure who that is?

Les 26:20

Yeah, sure. Well, you know, and sometimes, maybe, maybe it takes a regional strategy.

John 26:25

And there are angel groups, you know, there's a group in Casper, that's, you know, they're doing great work. There's a lot of different groups, there's a group in Jackson that's trying to put together some stuff. But for us, we really do have access to a lot of big relationships that could benefit these companies, as they, as they look to go to their, you know, they get past that Series A, and then they want to, you know, I think we can really help them out. I know, we can

Les 26:53

I've been very impressed with the quality of entrepreneur, the drive, the vision, and just the number of companies that are very early stage, but very quality opportunities that are that I think are going to turn to the you know, have the prospect to turn into something very real. So yeah, its exciting. 

John 27:11

And another really cool thing, you know, I think about, like, what makes Wyoming interesting, because, you know, some people would look at Wyoming and be like, well, you know, I don't know, it's hard to tell what's happening based on our, you know, ranking in sort of venture deals done or whatever. But at the same time, I can tell you that there are a handful of entrepreneurs that are very successful, that are from Wyoming that live in Wyoming, that they've been working at it for quite a while. And some of these people are succeeding in raising VC money. And I think that the beauty of it is, we know them, like we really know them. Right? It's not like we're just, you know, kind of running through a massive amount of, you know, sort of meetings trying to find the needle in the haystack, so to speak, like, if I do a deal with someone, like I've known that person for a long time. 

Les 28:03

Right. The trust.

John 28:05

That gives me a confidence, you know, you really want to know who you're putting money behind. So, in that way, that's that's, that's one way we can use our small size as kind of a strength is because the networking comes, it's pretty straightforward in this area.

Les 28:18

Yeah, it's like the the population, the population of your entire state is like less than San Jose, California. Or something like that

John 28:25

Yeah, it's like 550,000 people, you know, 

Les 28:30

Half the population of San Jose there. 

John 28:32

Yeah. And I look to what you guys are doing in Bozeman, I think about Greg Gianforte, your governor and what he did with RightNow Technologies, and then and the impact that that had on Bozeman, and really the Montana tech ecosystem. And I think, you know, if I could be a part of, in whatever way, a company that really kind of plants that kind of flag in the ground, and that says, like, here is kind of our big, you know, sort of sort of win, then all of a sudden, you've got, you know, RightNow, I think at the time had like 500 employees, maybe in 2000 Was it 11 or 11 I and then you think about all of the kind of like, you know, all of the capital that, you know, got sort of cycled back into the the area. And then you have all those experienced people and they got that win and they got Greg and you know, it's just the ecosystem that just blows up. And that's happened to Bozeman and I believe that will happen in Wyoming.

Les 29:26

I throw a chip down on that bet. Yeah, sure. I mean, I you know, it's interesting it's your you bring up a great point, though, too, John, it only takes one, right. It only takes one Fairchild Semiconductor or Paypal or RightNow Technologies. That's it. Yeah. And it seeds an ecosystem for generations of entrepreneurs. I mean, it's similar that's happened in Boulder that's happened in Austin. So I agree. I agree with you, I think. Yeah,

John 29:49

Yeah. And then we've got, you know, second, third, you know, fourth time entrepreneurs here in Wyoming that are working on things and again, like some of these people are gonna need some funding at some point, and we want to be a part of that story.

Les 30:03

Awesome. Well, before we kind of shift gears away from the Global Technology Partnership, is it too early to pencil it in on the calendar? Or what?

John 30:11

No, no. Absolutely not, yeah, so the ninth Wyoming global tech summit will be in Jackson, on October 6 2022. And you can go to Jackson Hole tech, to register for the event. And we've got a one of the things that I always try to do is, you know, I like to have new speakers. And we like to, you know, continue to talk about some of the important things to entrepreneurs. So we always have a venture panel. And you know, Les that's how I met you, you were on that panel. And thank you very much for doing that. And so I try to make it a bit of a diverse event, I'd like to see a little bit more diversity at the summit. I'd like to see, you know, some, hopefully some, some more women participating. So if you're out there, and you're listening, and you're interested in participating in the Wyoming Tech Summit in Jackson, shoot us a note, you can email info at Jackson Hole Tech Or you can go on the website and hit the Contact Us link and do it that way. Or you can find me at J-O-H-N at tempte cap. com that's So any of those ways, what are ways for people to kind of get in contact and hopefully we've got a good crowd on October 6.

Les 31:23

Exciting. Well, it's already I was gonna pencil it, but it's in Sharpie on my calendar now. So I am going.

John 31:29

Nice. We really appreciate you Les. I mean, we've been really fortunate to have folks like you pop in and then I think what you're doing with the pod, you know, I just love the name, you know, Found In The Rockies. It's so cool.

Les 31:44

We named it after you, John. Yeah. Wonderful. Well, anything else kind of just just to close out like any anything else you want to talk about with regards to Temte Capital trends you're seeing in Wyoming? Anything exciting?

John 31:56

Yeah. So you know, I think one of the trends that I'm seeing a lot of is, you know, there are, there are different founders, I've got a gentleman coming up to Cody to meet with me next week about his new startup. And it's focused on, you know, the energy industry. And so you've got things like CCUS, which is carbon sequestration, and utilization, storage, right, or carbon capture, utilization and storage. So you've got things like that. And there are different technologies around some of those, you know, major projects that are really energy, big energy companies, you know, storing a lot of carbon, and then you've got a whole slew of energy related tech opportunities that people see because they're in some way connected to that vertical in the region. And this gentleman is someone who came from oil and gas, and he's got an idea. And I've definitely seen that theme kind of pop up over and over again. And and that's kind of a natural thing, right? I mean, it's sort of you would expect that also, we're getting a lot of incoming, you know, sort of inbound requests for calls about, you know, the crypto stuff.

Les 33:01

Ah, I wasn't gonna bring it up, but I thought it’s probably gonna come up. Yeah, no, that's what everybody kind of wants to know about Wyoming. What's what's the, what's the deal? Why is why is it so hot? Why is crypto

John 33:13

So recently Wyoming, the Wyoming State Legislator, so, you know, you talk about you have a small a small state? Well, one of the advantages is we have legislators that can move really quickly. And so one of the things that the state legislature did is they said, ‘We're going to put together a new law that recognizes legally protected property rights for owners of all types of digital assets, including cryptocurrency’ And so you talk about a regulatory sandbox, which in a sense, acts as like a safe haven or a magnet, right. And that's, that's a great way to sort of like use your state, local government, you know, you create a legal regulation or legislation that gives people protection, and all of a sudden they flock to your state. And so that's what's happening in Wyoming we had first mover status on that. And I think that that that is really kind of made people around the globe, really, I mean, it's pretty amazing some of the inbound stuff that that pops up. An interesting thing is it's it's a really wide range and a wide variety of characters talk about the Wild West, Les


Les 34:22

Yeah, I all those crypt crypto punks and crypto cowboy. Yeah.

John 34:30

That stuff is moving way too fast for little Johnny here in Cody, Wyoming. But But I can tell you is fortunately, you know, we do have some folks on our team that really love the space and so we try to have them you know, help us figure it out. And, you know, just to get educated really.

Les 34:49

Yeah, exciting. What about speaking of Cody, I hear there's a lot of activity in Cody, you know, you hear about some of the obviously Laramie, you've got the university there, but like where some of the hubs have been wanna like plug in or find stuff going on? Or like try to get a pulse on the, on the tech scene across this, you know, bigger as a big state? Where do they go?

John 35:08

Yeah, so I think, you know, if I had to sort of say that, you know, the top kind of the obvious ones, it would be Cheyenne. That's a big one. Laramie University Wyoming's in Laramie, the university, the new president, Dr. Ed Seidel. He really is very passionate about entrepreneurship. And they have done a lot of work to kind of reorganize around entrepreneurship. The legislation that came down in Wyoming I think, has given some opportunities or the university sees opportunities for like a center for blockchain. I know that we had someone out talking about that from the university at the summit, and then you kind of move over to Casper Casper has a lot of you know, there's a there's an Angel fund there called Breakthrough 307, which I think is really, you know, we need more of those. And that's kind of the space that we're looking at, sort of help them out with what we do, you know, so that, you know, if they find a winner, we can say, okay, we can help you to get a little bit further along with a little bigger check. And then hopefully, they can go out and close a Series A. So I guess we got a lot going on. Jackson obviously has a lot to

Les 36:19

Amazing. Well, John, any any predictions or any thoughts? Like on the future of tech the future of you know, for the for the state of Wyoming? Final thoughts?

John 36:30

But yeah, that's Yeah, I think that I I'm gonna make I'm making a personal bet on on the fact that in the next I would say five years, there will be there'll be one company I think that will get a pretty good exit.

Les 36:45

Has it started yet?

John 36:47

It’s started. Yeah, it started. I’m watching it, I’m watching it. 

Les 36:50

Oh, so you know, the company All right. Well, yeah. All right after the podcast, let's get together. I’m teasing.

John 36:57

No no no no no. Yet, no, but I see, you know, I have high hopes for a few of these companies. And while

Les 37:02

I agree, well, I gotta I gotta say, I really I really appreciate admire just your your motivation. I mean, you know, growing up in the state returning there bringing your your talents and your experience back to those entrepreneurs, I think Wyoming's a lucky place. I think, you know, my prediction would be, you know, maybe 10 years from now we'll look back and people will be talking on somebody’s podcasts about you as like the Brad Feld of Wyoming. Don’t you remember the rockstar John was getting em, I'm just that's, my prediction.

John 37:32

That's pretty high praise Les. I really hope that we can all kinda yeah, look at the region and work together to really get some things done. And I'm excited to hopefully one day look at a few deals with you as well. So.

Les 37:51

For sure, well, why don't you, well, you've already told everybody where they can find you on the podcast, but why don't you just again, tell them give them given that URL, and we'll put it in the notes sure how they can contact you.

John 38:01

the website is Jackson Hole tech summit is October 6 2022. And if you'd like more information, you can email info at Jackson Hole tech

Les 38:14

John, thanks for being on the show. Thanks for sharing your story. I gotta tell you I will never stretch the same way ever again recognizing I need this could be it this could you never know, this could be the inspiration that launches a career. Thanks so much. Thank you for listening to this week's episode of Found In The Rockies. You can find links in the show notes or go to our podcast page at to get links and contact information for today's guests. If you like what you heard and want more, please rate review and subscribe to get notified as our new episodes drop. We'll see you next time.