MISSOULA – University of Montana student Walker Milhoan is headed to New York City to attend the Blackstone LaunchPad Demo Day. Milhoan’s business venture, RanchLogs, is one of 20 selected to take part in the event, which organizers plan to host annually.
Representatives from Blackstone LaunchPad programs from around the country will convene Tuesday, Oct. 28. During the conference, participants will share best practices, discuss strategies for program implementation and innovation, and as part of the Demo Day segment, showcase the most promising student ventures from their respective schools.
Milhoan founded RanchLogs in August. RanchLogs is an interactive, Web-based software platform that serves as a livestock inventory and range management tool that can be used to create custom ranch maps, track key performance indicators and perform analysis within any ranching operation.
The IX Ranch Company, located in Big Sandy, is a RanchLogs user and already has seen a significant increase in its profitability. The ranch reported a 39.5 percent increase in gross revenues and an 8 percent decrease in total unit costs. The software also has helped improve other business indices, such as increasing total herd size and increasing native forages.
Demo Day participants will compete for first-, second- and third-place prizes of $25,000, $15,000, and $10,000, respectively, to be used to further their business development. Judges at the event include Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone’s chairman, CEO and co-founder, and other Blackstone executives, who will assess the ventures’ products, business models and scalability potential. Schwarzman also will deliver keynote remarks.
“Entrepreneurship is central to Blackstone’s culture, and is the single most effective way to spur economic growth and job creation,” Schwarzman said. “The new and innovative companies participating in the Blackstone LaunchPad Demo Day have the potential to impact their local economies, and we look forward to seeing them do so.”
“Blackstone LaunchPad plays a valuable role in equipping students to pursue their passions and create the next generation of entrepreneurial Montana businesses,” said Paul Gladen, UM’s Blackstone LaunchPad director. “Building a business is about networking; it’s who you know or who can help open doors. That’s why the Blackstone LaunchPad National Demo Day is so exciting. One of our up-and-coming Montana entrepreneurs has the opportunity to take his business to the next level through networking with top business professionals from Blackstone as well as the Blackstone network.”
Blackstone LaunchPad is a co-curricular, experiential campus program designed to introduce entrepreneurship as a viable career path and develop entrepreneurial skills and mindsets through individualized coaching, idea and venture-creation support. Modeled after a program at University of Miami and further developed and expanded by Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the program is currently available to more than 350,000 students at 15 colleges and universities nationwide. Since its establishment at the University of Montana in February 2014, more than 100 ventures have been advised, including RanchLogs.
Located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, UM is a place where top-notch students, educators and researchers from across the country and around the globe come to thrive. Founded in 1893, the University has nurtured a tradition of cultural and scientific education ever since. Today both UM and Missoula are home to an increasingly diverse population and rich culture. Roughly 15,000 students attend UM and Missoula College, where they receive a world-class education in a broad range of disciplines that include the trades, liberal arts, graduate and postdoctoral study and professional training. Blackstone LaunchPad is open to all UM students, regardless of the discipline they study.
The Blackstone Charitable Foundation was founded at the time of Blackstone’s initial public offering in 2007 with substantial commitments from the firm’s employees. Influenced by the enterprising heritage of the firm and its founders, The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is directing its resources and applying the intellectual capital of the firm to foster entrepreneurship in areas nationwide and globally. For more information, visit http://www.blackstone.com/foundation.