ViZn Energy on business alliance’s watch list

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ViZn Energy of Columbia Falls has been named one of 15 Montana companies to watch in 2017 by the Montana High Tech Business Alliance.

To form the list, the alliance looked for startups and growth companies either founded or headquartered in Montana that have experienced high growth, received substantial venture capital investment, are poised to launch high-potential products or services and plan to expand operations or add jobs this year.

ViZn Energy was the only Flathead Valley company to make the list. The company was founded in 2009 as Zinc Air, with the idea of developing a one-of-a-kind grid energy storage system. Now called ViZn Energy Systems, the company includes a team of scientists, engineers and business leaders who have been working for over eight years to commercialize a revolutionary energy storage solution for use wherever economical and safe energy storage can add value.

Ron Van Dell, ViZn Energy president and chief executive director since 2014, had stints at GE and Dell Computer and was CEO of three startups in Austin, Texas, and California’s Silicon Valley before coming to Montana. During Van Dell’s tenure, the industrial-scale battery manufacturer has grown from about 15 employees to more than 60 scientists, engineers, and software technicians working on the forefront of the clean energy revolution.

ViZn previously raised more than $37 million in independent investments and was closed up another $25 million round of funding in late 2016.

The Montana High Tech Business Alliance created its top 15 list to raise the visibility of Montana’s growing high-tech and manufacturing business sectors. Several Missoula companies make the watch list, including Audience Awards, Clearas Water Recovery, LMG Security, onXmaps and Orbital Shift.

Company profiles are hosted at http://mthightech.org/15-montana-companies-watch-2017/

“Montana has more than 540 high-tech and manufacturing companies,” Christina Henderson, executive director of the Montana High Tech Business Alliance, said in a press release. “We hope that by featuring a small sample of the many world-class businesses we have across the state more people will see the momentum in our entrepreneurial community and seek job and investment opportunities in Montana.”

According to a 2016 survey conducted by the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Montana’s high-tech and manufacturing firms are growing seven times the overall Montana economy and paying twice the median wage. The top challenges for Montana’s tech industry are finding enough skilled talent and access to capital.

The Montana High Tech Business Alliance is a statewide membership organization made up of more than 300 high-tech and manufacturing firms and affiliates.

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