Jan. 1—TRAVERSE CITY — From a live watch party for "Shark Tank" to monthly TCNewTech competitions, the City Opera House stage has produced many entrepreneurial champions.
The 2023 version of the Pitch Night competition will kick off the new year the same way.
TCNewTech's first Pitch Night of 2023 will feature four champions from 2022 in a debut event for the organization.
The Jan. 3 event at the City Opera House will also feature Traverse City brothers Dakota and Garret Porter discussing the airing of their Nov. 18 appearance on "Shark Tank." ActionGlow landed a $200,000 investment for a 30% stake in their company from Croatian-Canadian businessman Robert Herjavec.
ActionGlow is an aftermarket LED lighting system for sports equipment in a variety of colors. The Porters are expected to discuss how ActionGlow has done after appearing on the television show as well as the company's plans for 2023.
"We want to see the best of the best, who's going the extra mile," TCNewTech Event, Sales, and Marketing Director Chris Nesbit said of the first Pitch Night of 2023.
The Return of the Champions show is also a way to help give some of these startups "additional exposure, momentum and a renewed audience with local investors," according to a release for the Jan. 3 event.
That was certainly the case with ActionGlow. The attention the company received after the show aired was astronomical.
"We doubled our sales from 2021 on one night alone," founder and CEO Dakota Porter said for a Nov. 23 Record-Eagle article.
"Now it's like a firehose and it's not turning off," founder and COO Garret Porter added in the Nov. 21 phone call. "We're trying to keep up with every email and questions, but every time we answer one, another five pop up."
Garret and Dakota Porter started the company in Traverse City 10 years ago when they were 13 and 16 years old, respectively.
It was the fourth time ActionGlow applied to be on the 14th season of the ABC show "Shark Tank." The brothers told the City Opera House crowd before the airing they almost didn't apply for selection.
"It just goes to show that it could be a 10- or 15-year process for that to click," Nesbit said.
Four champions from 2022 will vie for the traditional $500 cash prize, determined by a vote of the audience after the pitch presentations. Hagerty is providing the $500 prize at the Jan. 3 event.
Beyond the monetary award, the 2023 event will provide four 2022 champions a chance to "refine their pitches through critical feedback," according to a release from TCNewTech. "Since securing their local TCNewTech victories, many of these startups are actively fundraising, while others are competing or have competed in national pitch competitions."
"We want to be able to showcase how some of these teams and competitors are grinding out there," Nesbit said of the four 2022 champions. "What are they doing with the time, exposure and momentum after TCNewTech. Most of them are very active and have gone off to do some awesome things.
"We're excited to highlight the things they're up to. It also goes to show why these (startups) win."
The four 2022 champions competing at the first Pitch Night of 2023 include:
* Broc Crandall, the founder of Stocked. A grocery delivery company that won the June 2022 competition, Stocked partnered with several Airbnb/vacation rental hosts to stock refrigerators and pantries for guests. They have a multivendor marketplace online so customers ordering from their website are shopping from local stores.
* Cindy Bauer, the founder of Coordinista. The October champion is "a field care optimization company providing the tools and services needed in delivering transitional and chronic care management services during the last mile of care to the home," according to LinkedIn. The goal is allow nurse care managers to better connect with patients discharged from the hospital.
* Jodie Schanhals, president and founder of MeetingMaker, LLC. The August winner of TCNewTech, MeetingMaker "empowers users to self-verify their attendance at meetings, appointments and community service obligations via location tracking, while preserving their privacy and anonymity," according to its LinkedIn page. "Reports are generated and sent to case managers and other entities, allowing them to manage their entire caseload from one simple report."
* Kim Lavine, president and founder of Hypersence. The March winner of Pitch Night, Hypersence is "a digital health company bringing a patent-pending non-drug treatment to 46 million desperate Alzheimer's sufferers globally," according to a release. Lavine has made appearances on the "Today Show," Rachel Ray, Oprah & Friends, CNBC, CNN and was featured in several publications from Forbes, Inc. and USA Today.
Typically held the first Tuesday of the month, audience members are encouraged to register in advance at https://app.tcnewtech.org/ to receive updates and vote for the pitch winner.
For more information on pitch presenters, email Nesbit at firstname.lastname@example.org.