Hello from Speedgoat headquarters!
We’ve been asked why, as research scientists, we started a tech company. There are a lot of reasons:
- Our Millennial grad students keep telling us it’s cool.
- The red tape required it. Technically, you can’t house non-research projects under the umbrella of a research institute like the University of Montana. We worked with the U’s Blackstone Launchpad to complete a technology transfer and launch Speedgoat two years ago. It’s a matter of legality; plus, it helps keep research dollars focused on research and taxpayer-funded agency dollars on work that directly benefits management. We still have the same motivation and goals as we did when we started this thing as PopR back in 2011.
- Cash. (Yours, not ours.) We know money is sometimes a dirty word in biology; none of us started in this field because of the hefty paychecks. If anyone is more strapped for cash than biologists, it’s often agencies themselves. The way we see it, everyone in this field is on the same team, quantitative ecologists included. Data are expensive and time-consuming to collect, and we believe that biologists should be able to wring every ounce of information possible out of it. We’re committed to helping agencies maximize their data collection process and the information they can glean from it while keeping costs down. By acting as an independent business, we’re able to capitalize on economies of scale by creating repeatable but customizable software packages and improving our workflow so we can perfect yours.
- As mentioned above, we’re all on the same team, and teams work best when they combine complementary, cohesive talents. Our collaborators excel at many things: data collection, research, boots-on-the-ground management, interacting with the public and making the tough calls. They don’t always have time to fumble with software, spreadsheets, data management and models. That’s where we excel. We think data management and mathematical models fill an important niche, and we see making them more accessible as our contribution to the team and the discipline as a whole.