Montana Public Radio

Can Do: GatherBoard Unites Communities Face-to-Face ... Through An Online Platform

Dec 27, 2019

GatherBoard is a software platform designed - a little ironically - to get people off their phones and into concerts, classes and community gatherings. It's a kind of Squarespace or WordPress for online events sites: small-to-mid-sized communities and companies purchase its license and design their own customizable, monetizable events calendars. To date, 44 communities have licensed it, and Missoula's Molly Bradford, GatherBoard's co-founder and CEO, sees faster growth ahead.

In 2019, GatherBoard enhanced its service, launching an app that lets mobile users integrate the program with other applications. Bradford thinks this feature will give the platform a foot in the door to big markets, tracking a huge number of events without overwhelming the user.

Bradford is the quintessential Jill of all trades. Arriving in Missoula with degrees in math and German, she spent 15 years in a variety of marketing and advertising positions. In 2009, she dove head-first into the Montana startup ecosystem, partnering with local musician Colin Hickey at missoulaevents.net. Over the next four years, this online events calendar morphed into GatherBoard.

Bradford's advice to would-be female entrepreneurs: "There are numerous statistics around - some of the more recent ones are about women in politics. They say: "Women needed to be asked 7-9 times before they'll run for office." Well, I think the same thing holds true in running or starting a business. Don't wait to be asked 7-9 times. If you have an idea and you're passionate about it and the numbers work, do it! And then speak unapologetically and strongly about it. You are not begging for a bank loan; you are worth the bank loan. That is a different way of speaking about yourself. If you're really passionate about it and your numbers are good, you're worthy."

This episode of Can Do, Molly Bradford describes how she bootstrapped GatherBoard (hint: bathroom stalls); she explores why most of the entrepreneurial licensees of GatherBoard turn out to be women; and she explains how GatherBoard brings together her passions for the arts, for community-building, and for business done well.