Cairn Cross, far left, displays the check as overall winner Erik Johnson the founder of Synticos poses with the giant Vermont Teddy Bear and Road Pitch judges on October 17 at Champlain College. Photo by Bob LoCicero Photography.
Vermont Business Magazine On Wednesday evening October 17, 9 entrepreneurs from around Vermont gathered in front of an audience of 200 people at Champlain College in a winner take all final business pitch competition for $5,000, a giant Vermont Teddy Bear and a year-long mentorship provided by the “business bikers” of the Road Pitch motorcycle gang. The big winner was Erik Johnson of Synticos LLC. He's developed the SlurryJet; a faster cutting, increased profitability abrasive jet cutting machine.
2018 was the fifth year of the annual FreshTracks Road Pitch, a four day motorcycle tour of Vermont in which a gang of more than 50 “business bikers” (comprised of investors, entrepreneurs and business advisors) rode around the state, and stopped in 8 Vermont towns to listen to entrepreneurs pitch their business concepts. The riders selected a local winner from each town. In addition, the Road Pitch riders made a special evening stop at the Champlain Mini Maker’s Faire in late September. The local winners and the Maker’s Faire winner advanced to the final “Pitch-off” event.
During their 2018 tour of Vermont riders, heard from a wide variety of Vermont entrepreneurial companies including food and beverage product companies, software companies, advanced manufacturing companies, clothing companies, natural products companies and service businesses. Interestingly, two different ergonomic chair companies won their respective local events and competed at the final pitch-off.
Below is the list of the entrepreneurs who pitched at the final “pitch-off” event:
Essex Junction Winner – QOR360
With a seat top that rocks in all directions, the QOR360® chair makes sitting active. Created by a doctor, with collaboration from furniture designers and body-work experts, the truly ergonomic QOR360 chair offers a radical and healthy break from conventional seating. Underneath all QOR360 products is the RedRocker which encourages active sitting, better posture, and more optimal spinal health. Move while you sit, and sit better.
Hyde Park Winner – Peaceful Harvest Mushrooms
Peaceful Harvest Mushrooms Is a local gourmet mushroom farm which located in the beautiful tiny village of Worcester, Vermont. It specializes in producing various strains of edible and medicinal mushrooms year-round. It focuses on appreciating not only the tastiness and health benefits of mushrooms but also the key role that fungi play in the ecosystem.
Lowell Winner – Synticos
Synticos LLC has developed SlurryJet; a faster cutting increased profitability abrasive jet cutting machine. SlurryJet leverages a highly efficient abrasive jet generation method to provide increased cutting speed, and the re-use of the most costly consumable, the abrasive media, to provide the user with a lower cost per part and increased profit. The Synticos “magic” and primary intellectual property is its long-life nozzle, which solves the primary limitation of existing systems that experience rapid nozzle wear and loss of performance. The Synticos nozzle uses precision fluid dynamics to bias the high-speed abrasive particles passing through its tiny orifice, and which will immediately erode any material, away from the nozzle surface to eliminate erosion. No contact = no wear.
Bennington Winner – Kirsh Helmets
A lean, tough, stylish, cool and more effective motorcycle helmet with a revolutionary and patented fluid displacement liner that keeps your head cool on the hottest days and intact on the harshest of impacts. It’s the smallest, toughest DOT-Approved helmet on the market available in 8 colors.
Rutland Winner – Local Captures
Comprised of passionate photographers ready to take you and your camera on a photo tour and to be inspired by the beauty found in local surroundings. Ready to spend more time photographing and less time searching for that special, perfect location? Explore everything local while honing your photography skills on Local Capture’s special curated tours. All skill levels welcome, from newbies to experienced enthusiasts!
Brattleboro Winner – Sprang Chair
The Språng Chair was officially launched on Kickstarter in the summer of 2016, and the patents have just been awarded by the USPTO. The Språng Chair takes a novel approach to sitting, encouraging the sitter to remain active and not sedentary.
Barre Winner – She Fly
Hiking, biking and skiing is no accident with SheFly pants for women. Photos by VBM.
She Fly designs and manufactures a line of women specific outdoor wear starting with unique outdoor pants which allow women to simply and easily pee outdoors without compromising privacy or safety. A third of women report having had an accident while outdoors and 90 percent are interested in buying SheFly pants.
St. Johnsbury – Northview Weather
Northview provides new technology to help electric distribution companies better prepare for storms and has developed a patent-pending outage prediction system that is able to predict the severity of potential storms up to 5 days beforehand. This information helps utility companies effectively manage crew resources, improving grid reliability for everyone.
Champlain Mini Makers Faire – Healthy Design/Exersides
Healthy Design is currently developing its flagship product, Exersides, a physical restraint alternative for intubated ICU or confused patients and rehabilitation residents who have vital tubes and lines that could dislodge. The company is in the ICU, hospital ward patient and ill rehabilitation resident mobility, cognition and speedier recovery space and has more products in the works.
At the final event, the winning pitch was delivered by Erik Johnson the founder of Synticos. When choosing Synticos as the winner, the Road Pitch rider group noted that Synticos clearly explained the problem that it was solving and identified a substantial market opportunity and had an excellent group of advisors with industry knowledge and experience.
The goals of Road Pitch are to connect Vermont entrepreneurs to resources such as capital and advice, advocate for entrepreneurs throughout the state, help entrepreneurs polish and refine their pitching skills and help communities build resilient economic ecosystems, showcase entrepreneurship through a highly visible annual event, find investible opportunities for private investors and source capital for entrepreneurial businesses, and promote motorcycle touring in Vermont while having fun and riding safely.
“We are able to offer local prizes and the prize for the winning pitch through the generous sponsorship provided by Vermont Department of Economic Development, Champlain College and Champlain College’s BYOBiz program, Bytes.co, Dinse, Key Bank, Gallagher Flynn and Company, Moulton Law Group, Social Sentinel, Vermont Teddy Bear and EMBOLDIA” said Cross, “each of these sponsors plays a key role in the statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem and we are happy for their support.”
For information about Road Pitch, this year’s event, the riders and more, visit www.roadpitch.co.
About Road Pitch: Road Pitch is a multi-day motorcycling event where motorcyclists with investing, business advising or entrepreneurial experience ride through Vermont stopping in small towns to listen to entrepreneurs pitch their business concepts. Riders provide advice, connect the entrepreneurs with resources where appropriate, and occasionally make an investment in a business opportunity. The ride also promotes Vermont as a terrific place to do business as well as a perfect motorcycling destination with lots of scenic twisting roads, picturesque small towns, and plenty of locally sourced food and beverage. Road Pitch was founded in 2014 by Cairn Cross, Co-founder of FreshTracks Capital.
Source: FreshTracks Capital. www.roadpitch.co