A Missoula technology company is the beneficiary of two grants, worth a total of $187,500, from the Montana Department of Commerce’s Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund.

Submittable Inc., a company that created a cloud-based content curation platform for publishers, will use the money for training and to hire 15 new employees over the next two years.

A large portion of the grant money comes from an unlikely source: coal. The state reserves 50 percent of coal tax revenue in the state for a permanent coal tax trust fund, and a quarter of that amount goes into the Big Sky Development Trust Fund to stimulate job creation and planning grants across the state.

Michael FitzGerald, CEO of Submittable, said $112,500 of the grant money came from the development fund and the remaining $75,000 came from a separate grant for employee training.

“We are a content curation platform used by publishers like the Chicago Tribune,” he explained. “Publishers use us for accepting and curating incoming digital content like manuscripts and films. And once it comes in, there’s an editorial workflow. It takes care of big objects, there’s no IT, and the end user can upload large video files. Editors on the back end can read and curate it.”

Founded in 2010, Submittable is currently located at the corner of North Higgins Avenue and Broadway, but the company plans to move to the third floor of the Florence Building soon. It started with two employees but has grown to eight employees in the past 12 months.

FitzGerald said the company is profitable and growing at 17 percent per month.

“We recently launched a mobile version on the platform and an application programming interface,” he said. “We’ve democratized publishing and are on our way to being the on-board ramp for all content and media in all organizations.”

The company’s new clients include CBS, Simon & Schuster and the NCAA.

The grant application was written by Missoula County, and County Commissioner Michele Landquist was informed of the award by a letter from Gov. Steve Bullock in January.

FitzGerald said he is pleased with the grant, but said Montana has a long way to go toward attracting tech businesses.

“It’s very hard to raise money in Montana, which essentially makes it difficult to have a tech company here,” he said. “This is a huge grant. But these grants are very narrowly focused for traditional Montana companies, and traditional Montana companies are small manufacturers. The grants can be used for equipment, but tech companies don’t really have equipment. Probably 95 percent of my costs are salaries. I wish there were things that were more focused on high-growth or tech companies.”

For more information, visit submittable.com.

Reporter David Erickson can be reached at david.erickson@missoulian.com.

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Business Reporter

Business reporter for the Missoulian.