RIVERTON – Serial entrepreneur Jason Kintzler is getting out of Dodge, so to speak, after selling his last place-based business and embracing the gig economy.
Kintzler started a handful of “community news streams” like County 10 for Riverton and Lander, County 17 for Gillette and Buckrail for Jackson that report hyper-local news and pass along press releases to the public, largely via social media. However, in recent years he’s been selling those news streams to local entities in their respective markets.
As recently as December 2018, Kintzler still owned County 10, but confirmed today he has also divested that final news stream. The sale occurred in March to former reporter Will Hill, who had told his boss, “I’d like to buy this thing.”
The transition freed up Kintzler’s remaining businesses from a physical presence in Riverton, where he’d amassed 20,000 square feet of highly branded office space after a move from Main Street in Lander.
“We’ve moved into a corner of 1,000 square feet [as we prepare to move],” Kintzler said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Kintzler said the move also coincides with a transition from an in-office workforce to one that’s largely remote. That leaves his remaining businesses, digital public relations tool Pitchengine and wearable technology company Lifekey, free to seek greener pastures.
“Tech is sort of baked into everything we do,” Kintzler said. “It’s hard to bring a traditional business to Jackson where you have to hire lots of employees and have employee housing. But in the economy of remote workers and technology, I think the nature of that translates well to Jackson.”
At peak employment, Kintzler’s businesses had 22 employees simultaneously. Now it’s him and longtime Chief Operating Officer Fabian Lobera. And five remote workers.
“We’re looking to build new positions when we get [to Jackson],” he said, pointing out the ability to be strategic about local hires while moving the rest to a virtual workforce emboldened by the gig economy.
The remote workforce changeup specifically opens the door for the move from Riverton to Jackson, known for its high-ticket commercial space. While Kintzler hasn’t yet committed to an office, he said he’s hoping to find something visible, preferably on or near the Town Square, that supports Pitchengine and Lifekey as a branding tool.
“You have skillsets in Jackson you don’t have in other parts of the state in a consolidated form,” he said, comparing the community to Boulder, Colorado or Austin, Texas. “You need that community of people consolidated. Because Jackson is so isolated, you kind of get that.”
But beyond attaching to an up-and-coming tech sector Kintzler credits in part to nonprofit startup engine Silicon Couloir, the Jackson move also allows for easier travel.
“Travel is a big part of what we do,” he said, pointing out that Jackson has the best air travel within the state while most regional airports struggle, to say the least.
He said the move to Jackson doesn’t necessarily fit the mold of companies moving within Wyoming, but is a move that will actually use Wyoming’s remoteness to its advantage.
“Isolation is Wyoming’s strength,” he said. “We have to leverage that.”