Written by,Tim Monroe and published in the Wyoming Business Report
A new organization headed by a pair of highly-successful entrepreneurs is being formed to assist potential new businesses start and grow.
Charles Walsh and Jared Stack are the leaders in Breakthrough 307.
Walsh owns and operates retail stores in downtown Casper. He formed a company in Ohio that enlisted more than 400 “angel investors” that helped new companies. Stack formed Firehole Technologies in Laramie and recently sold it to a large firm. The company provided software for simulation of stress testing of composite products in a variety of industries.
Walsh said their goal is to run Breakthrough 307 as a company. It has been registered as a limited liability company. “We want to enlist 20 members who will each contribute $100,000 that will be used to help companies,” Walsh said. “Forward Casper, the private funding arm of the Casper Area Economic Development Alliance, is one of the initial investors.”
A news release issued Wednesday notes that “there have been multiple efforts to expand our economic base but one constant gap is the ability for a start-up company is to access capital in their early stages.” Breakthrough 307 is a unique approach in Wyoming to helping companies.
The investors will be asked to contribute their time and expertise, as well as cash in order to help new companies start and flourish. Welsh said they hope to find companies with ideas for startups in technology and perhaps the medical field. He noted that an example of an ideal startup which they would like to help is Backwards Distillery. “They are a very successful family operation that is typical of groups we’d like to help,” Walsh said. Investors are being recruited in several Wyoming communities.
“Breakthrough 307 looks to fill the funding gap for start-up companies but will strive to ensure that these entrepreneurs are surrounded by a culture of like-minded individuals, as well as access to the resources needed to become successful,” according to a release from the organization. There will be a threefold approach that makes up the company: BT 307 Entrepreneurs; BT 307 Connections and BT 307 Investors. All these segments will work in unison to create more economic growth in the state.
Entrepreneurs will customize a program around participants that will “cultivate dreams into real and profitable companies.” Breakthrough will provide early stage seed capital to companies with high-growth potential, the release said.
The third phase is Connections 307, a cluster of lawyers, accountants, marketers and others who want to have a hand in creating the next group of champion companies. A formal launch of Breakthrough 307 will be held July 21 at 5:30 p.m., at The Lyric (230 W. Yellowstone Highway).
The Casper group Citizens for a Civic Auditorium is now called “The Lyric,” which is a group of civic-minded individuals who are still working to make their dream of a civic auditorium come true. The group purchased the former Iris Theater in downtown Casper and is renting it out for events. The lobby of the theater was remodeled with the funds from a HUD grant, with new paint, carpet, offices, and a new catering kitchen. The eight existing movie theaters remain intact with seats, lights, screens and two of the eight theaters have audio and visual equipment.