January 20, 2021

Bozeman's Alosant Launches Cannery District App with Support from COVID-19 Montana Innovation Grant


By Martina Pansze | Originally Published 10.29.20

Bozeman-based software company Alosant has developed a mobile-native, community branded app for Bozeman’s up-and-coming Cannery District.

The Cannery District app was partially funded through the COVID-19 Montana Innovation Grant, intended to help small companies expand the capacity of products or services developed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Steve Bullock piloted the Montana Innovation Grant and spoke at the Cannery District app’s official launch, broadcasted live on October 27th. Attendees donned masks and down jackets to gather under the district’s iconic water tower, a safeguard against warehouse fires in the district’s early days.

The Cannery District is a newly renovated, mixed-use neighborhood located on the northeast end of town within walking distance of downtown Bozeman. The Cannery District houses tech companies onX, LumenAd, MeatEater, Perficient Digital, and Alosant itself. The district is also home to restaurants and drinkeries including Seven Sushi, Lot G Cafe, Pizza Campania, 406 Brewing, Wildrye Distilling, and Dean’s Zesty Booch, as well as a number of real estate and architecture studios.

The free app is targeted to current and future residents of the district as well as the broader Bozeman community, and is available on smartphones through the App Store or Google Play.

“I’m certainly confident that we’ll emerge from this pandemic that much more resilient and innovative than ever before,” said Bullock at the launch event. “And I think we’re really seeing a great example of that innovation at work here today. It’s so encouraging to see Alosant and the Cannery District coming together to form a new partnership that allows businesses and, ultimately, residents and individual workers to connect in new ways at a time where reliable information, communication, and community is absolutely so critical.”

With the help of the Innovation Grant funding, Alosant rolled out a new ‘Neighbors Helping Neighbors’ feature not only within the Cannery District launch but across the platforms of 40 current clients.

Alosant CEO and Co-Founder April LaMon described how the inspiration for the new component came from her observation of local businesses’ communication challenges.

“All of a sudden, with COVID, the parking lots are empty. And the businesses were making makeshift signs on old wood pallets saying ‘We’re open,’” she said.

LaMon saw the opportunity to add a more robust communication component to Alosant’s platform. Under Neighbors Helping Neighbors, locals can follow their favorite businesses and receive push notifications for safety measures and other updates in real time. Rather than a one-way promotional broadcast like you see on most social channels, she said, Alosant’s interface is intended to be more direct, immediate, and interactive.

Another feature easing the challenges of COVID is the Alosant Amenity Pass, wherein businesses and community leaders can manage the number of residents using public spaces such as pools and fitness centers at any given time. Last week, Alosant surpassed the one million milestone for individual reservations through the Amenity Pass program since its launch this spring.

The Cannery District app has integrated maps, community events, and even an augmented reality feature where users can point their device’s viewfinder at a street or building to reveal the geolocated shops, restaurants, and bars within.

Over the past three years, Alosant has developed similar apps for dozens of communities across the country including Moonlight Basin, Spanish Peaks, and Big Sky in Montana. The Cannery District, however, is the first project that the Bozeman-based company has taken on in it’s own backyard.

“We’re having so much fun with this app because we can walk outside the door and talk to the businesses who are our neighbors. We have special connections to them individually and want to do everything we can to help these businesses succeed and prosper again,” said LaMon.

Alosant was founded in 2017 when co-founders LaMon and Michael Swanson started a pilot project with a master plan developer in California to develop an app for the community. In the fall of 2017, the pair had launched the RanchLife app to the development’s population of 3000. Within three months, over 90% of residents were active users of the app. By spring of 2018, LaMon and Swanson had branded the platform and taken their show on the road to other developers.

Alosant’s customers are the fastest-growing and fastest-selling communities in the nation. The company’s bullseye is developments with one thousand or more homes that are 20-25% sold.

The Cannery District will soon welcome occupants of Cannery Flats, a 52-unit rental apartment complex in the final stages of construction. The Cannery District App offers a webcam of the building’s progress in addition to live footage of Bridger and Gallatin Mountains.

Before and after recent renovations to the historical 28,000 square foot Bozeman Canning Company. The factory shut its doors in 1958 and sat dark until efforts to renovate the building into a four story mixed-use facility began in 2014. Photo via Cannery District.

The Cannery District was named after the historic Bozeman Canning Company, founded in 1917. The pea, bean, and carrot cannery was opened when Gallatin Valley was known as the ‘pea capital of the nation.’

As Cannery District partner Barry Brown pointed out in his remarks during the launch event, the Canning Company opened its doors in 1918—the same year as the Spanish flu pandemic.

“It’s all kind of coming full circle,” said Brown. “So to have over 60 tenants, multiple businesses, 52 apartments coming in January … we’ve begun building a community for the next hundred years.”

Jason Mittelstaedt, a board member of Alosant and the Montana High Tech Business Alliance and co-founder of Yellowstone Growth Partners, said that the value of Alosant solutions increased ‘like a light switch’ when the pandemic hit the United States.

“It’s now required as the direct line for unfiltered communication with the residents and other constituents of a community,” said Mittelstaedt. “Enabling in-app messaging, time sensitive communications and alerts to be pinned to the top feed within the app, all those things went from casual or recreational … to a safety requirement with communications that can’t wait 15 minutes and need 100% exposure, immediately.”

In an age where home screens are filled with single-use amenity apps for refrigerators, garage doors, and light switches, Alosant brings many facets of users’ living experience into a single touch point.

“We see a huge opportunity to create a really unifying platform,” said LaMon. “We’re all on our phones constantly. And so your community can be part of the device that you turn to as command central for your life. We think that that is a real win for the community, the people who live there, and the businesses that serve them.”

About the Author: Martina Pansze is the Communications Director for the Montana High Tech Business Alliance. She graduated from Whitman College with a degree in Film and Media Studies, and has worked as a freelance journalist and grant writer.

About the Publisher: Launched in 2014, the Montana High Tech Business Alliance is an nonpartisan nonprofit association of highly-engaged high tech and manufacturing companies and affiliates creating high-paying jobs in Montana. For more information, visit MTHighTech.org or subscribe to our biweekly newsletter.

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