The Wyoming Business Council has announced its first direct equity investment from the newly created, federally funded Wyoming Venture Capital (WYVC) fund in a Wyoming-based business called Language I/O, established in 2011.

Language I/O is led by founder and CEO Heather Shoemaker who built and scaled the company in Cheyenne.

The business offers service language translation for companies like Rosetta Stone, Constant Contact, Shutterstock, and other global firms.

In the beginning, the company was self-funded, but as it grew, LIO began seeking outside funding.

Shoemaker shared her company's vision across the state and received investments from Casper-based Breakthrough 307 and Jackson-based Silicon Couloir Angel Group investors, spurring additional Wyoming team members.

“Coupled with Wyoming’s remote and relatively small economy, today’s market climate makes it challenging to raise venture capital,” said Gordon Finnegan, WBC Equity Portfolio Manager. “Language I/O’s ability to close this funding round and add a runway to scale and stay in front of the burgeoning artificial intelligence curve will allow their language translation technology to continue to be in a great market position. Our WYVC team feels strongly that this is not only a great investment, but the economic impact this will have on the state of Wyoming will be tremendous.”

With their growth, LIO has become a corporate partner with the University of Wyoming, making sure students are prepared for the workforce either at their business or other copanies in the information technology field.

“Heather has helped foster a culture of community involvement and advancement in Wyoming. The creation and innovation of Language I/O have bolstered our local economy and brought our state to the cutting edge of burgeoning technologies,” Finnegan continued. “Our goal is to elevate Wyoming startups so they can go beyond the initial check, and Language I/O is the ideal first investment for this initiative. We are thrilled to support Heather and her team and are confident they’ll continue to grow successfully.”
As a female entrepreneur, Shoemaker is proud of her Wyoming roots.
“Wyoming has a rich history of empowering its local communities, including women leaders. Known as the Equality State, it was the first to grant women the right to vote and is now at the forefront of elevating the tech ecosystem,” she said. “I am proud to be a part of this program alongside the rest of my team at Language I/O and look forward to working with WYVC to continue paving the way for future generations of female entrepreneurs.”

Wyoming has been approved for up to $58.4 million dollars available through federal funding.

The goal of WYVC is to support the innovation and growth of entrepreneurs across the state through equity financing for fast-growing Wyoming companies.

They are currently finalizing direct investments in two other companies as well as working through diligence with multiple others. The team is also working closely with multiple Wyoming-focused emerging venture capital firms to support raising their first funds.

Painting Mountain Mural at Occasions by Cory. Casper, Wyo., 7/28/23

Painting Mountain Mural at Occasions by Cory. Casper, Wyo., 7/28/23