To say the leadership at Triple Tree Software is motivated would be an understatement.
Triple Tree Co-Founders Sam Lucas and Paul Burton started their integrated software development firm in August 2016. Since then, they’ve been named one of Montana’s tech startups to watch, helped launch multi-million dollar startups, and hired 4 full-time staff members.
The team at Triple Tree is young, hungry, and experienced beyond their years. Aligning themselves with area venture capitalists, Triple Tree is carving out their niche as a software accelerator for early stage startups across the country predominantly working in healthcare and ed-tech. Most of Triple Tree’s work begins with an idea and a whiteboard drawing, and ends with early revenues, new investment for their clients, and a phased handoff to an internal client engineering team.
Montana State University is where Paul and Sam met, and were given the skills and resources to pursue their mutual business goals.
Entrepreneurship was a relatively new course of study when Paul and Sam started school in 2012. The Blackstone LaunchPad had just opened its doors, and the College of Business had just added "Entrepreneurship" to its name. The result was a newly formed blank canvas for students interested in making entrepreneurship a career path. Paul and Sam dove in, and found themselves working in similar networks.
Paul had started a club that brought Honors students in Computer Science together to discuss app ideas. Sam founded a club where a selective group of business students consulted for local businesses. The two attended each other’s events and quickly recognized the other's leadership and complimentary skillsets.
The Blackstone LaunchPad at MSU became the proving grounds for their first business concepts.
Paul and Sam spent more time in the Blackstone LaunchPad than in their classrooms, and were both consulting local business owners as much as they could. Those consulting gigs were the beginning of Triple Tree before they realized they were starting a company.
As Sam says “we didn't know what we were doing, but we knew we were doing something different - something that wasn't being taught in the classroom – something that was an obvious need for Montana businesses. We just wanted to be in business. It didn't matter what type of business. And the more that we worked, the more projects came our way. Our specialty was clearly in software development and design.”
Triple Tree Puts Down Official Roots
Triple Tree got its official start when Paul was a junior in Computer Science and Sam was a senior in Business Marketing. As Sam puts it, he would pitch and sell business, and Paul was the brains behind the technology deliverables. He half-jokingly recalls their ignorance was their biggest advantage because they talked a big game, and had to learn fast to keep up. Once they started making money, they were hooked. There was no going back. That ultimately meant dropping out of college and quitting day jobs.
Triple Tree is now building and launching software companies across the United States - with all work coming in from word-of-mouth referrals. As Sam notes, the work speaks for itself and is a testament to the incredible team of engineers and designers that work at Triple Tree.
Bozeman Helps Triple Tree Bring in Top Talent
Montana State University is producing exceptional talent for Triple Tree’s workforce. And the city of Bozeman is a melting pot. Executives are moving to Bozeman for opportunities and to raise their families. They are bringing experiences, connections, and capital with them.
The network of mentors Paul and Sam have created here, mixed with the pipeline of student talent from MSU, has created a great economic matrix for the firm in Bozeman. They can hire locally, and bring in revenue from out of state. They can enjoy the quality of life they want, while operating and competing within the same business landscape of a metropolitan area.
Seeking Growth in Meaningful Markets
When asked for a five-year projection, Sam says Triple Tree will continue to provide custom software engineering services and product development for high growth startups. He notes they are very selective of the projects they engage in, and look for meaningful work first and foremost. They then look for the right founding team, revenue model, and go-to-market strategies before ever writing a line of code. The team wants to see their software used by real people, solving real problems, and driving revenues for growing businesses.
On the client front, Sam believes they’ve been fortunate to continue to attract exceptional founders that want to work with Triple Tree- and give the growing firm the leadership to direct product development, and the autonomy to experiment with new technologies. Through their experiences working with startups with $500k - $35M in funding, launching products, and learning from their mistakes along the way, they plan to leverage their learnings and skillsets to help launch the growing population of Montana entrepreneurs and local technology businesses.
As Sam summarizes, Triple Tree is a dream come true for him and Paul. In 5 years, he hopes they can realize a few more dreams for those around them.