TCNewTech September Pitch Presenters Selected

TCNewTech’s Pitch Selection Committee has identified four entrepreneurs to compete at the City Opera House in downtown Traverse City. Each of the presenters will be allowed five minutes to share their ideas followed by five minutes of Q&A from the audience. When all have presented, the audience will vote for their favorite to win the $500 cash prize presented by RJG, Inc. Doors and cash bar open at 5:30 and pitches begin at 6pm. The audience is encouraged to register in advance for this free event on EventBrite.

Here is a rundown of the presenters for Tuesday, September 14:

Debra Lanning of  Lala Insights has created a database of local businesses, with accompanying WordPress plugins that pull data into multiple websites via an API. The database is currently focused on wedding industry professionals.  Lanning and her company are based in TC and she is one of TCNewTech’s original members and volunteers from 2015.

Barb Termaat, Executive Director of Newton’s Road, will be sharing about their Career Investigator platform which encourages students to consider STEM-related careers and understand the local pathways to achieve them. It also connects employers with youth to help build our future skilled workforce. Termaat will demonstrate their platform and invite ideas from the audience on how to expand their impact within the region.

Damien Allen is the founder of Freedom Elevated Defense Solutions, a virtual range simulator used to educate new and experienced firearm owners on safety, proper mechanics, and building a strong and safe foundation without the use of live ammunition. Allen is seeking funding for this company in the hopes of building a community of informed firearm owners. 

Michael Bisson (serial entrepreneur with 28 product patents pending), will be presenting his line of products for fetching dogs, All Lacrosse Sticks.  He achieved success as a nationally ranked LaCrosse player, coach, and retail store owner and is now looking to manufacture products for fetching dogs. Based in Traverse City, Bisson is seeking funding as well as marketing and manufacturing assistance.

Traverse City’s most interesting startups plus a “Quick Tip” on patents

In addition to the four-pitch presenters, Ashley Sloat of Aurora Patents will give a Quick Tip Minute titled, “Knowing When to Share Your Idea and When to Shush”. Often entrepreneurs are terrified to share their ideas for fear of someone stealing it.  However, public disclosures only count if the idea is “patent ready” and it’s hard for someone to steal the idea if the inventor hasn’t shared any implementation details. Ashley is a USPTO-registered patent practitioner who specializes in the development and management of patent portfolios for startup ventures and emerging growth companies.

Once the presentations have concluded, the audience will be encouraged to vote for the company with the best presentation! The event will start at 5:30 pm, with networking and a cash bar before and after the presentations. Pitches commence at 6:00 pm, with voting occurring at its conclusion at 7:00 pm.

TCNewTech is a nonprofit organization intended to energize a community of entrepreneurs by showcasing new tech ideas and facilitating connections at their monthly pitch contests with a goal to expedite the launch of startups in Northern Michigan. TCNewTech brings to you a hybrid–In-Person and Live-Streamed–new idea pitch and networking event every month. Be sure to sign up online or tune in during the event from wherever you may be on the TCNewTech Youtube or Facebook pages. The event is similar to Shark Tank, where the presenters have five minutes to pitch to the judges. In this case, the audience is the judge. After the event, vote in by text message to determine who takes home the $500 prize presented by 4Front Credit Union. 

Anyone with an entrepreneurial idea is encouraged to submit to TCNewTech. No idea is too big or small – TCNewtech wants to hear it all!

TCNewTech sponsors include Michigan Broadband Services, Susan Soffredine Rauser with State Farm Insurance, SCORE, Northern Michigan Angels, and AccessPoint.

If you would like contact information for any of our pitch presenters, please email Jennifer Szunko at