Three tech startups competed for the $500 prize during TCNewTech’s Online Pitch Contest

Makeena, the discovery app for the $252B natural products industry, won the TCNewTech Pitch contest on Tuesday night which aired on the TCNewTech YouTube Channel and Facebook Page to an international audience. Karen Frame, Makeena’s CEO and Founder is passionate about being an entrepreneur and making the world a better place. She is a three-time founder in the tech space, attorney, former CPA, and the energy behind the platform that rewards consumers for buying better while providing brands the real-time data and insights they need to grow.  

Makeena beat out two other entrepreneurs to take home the $500 cash prize, which was sponsored by RJG, Inc of Traverse City. Pitches were given by Brad Basar of Elk Rapids-based High Street Data, the first cloud-based platform to bring the proven power of insight communities to the Cannabis industry and Brent Massey, the CEO of Ridar Systems, a cloud-based mobile solution providing protection for two-wheeled riders (bicycles, motorcycles, scooters) through technology that alerts vehicle drivers to prevent accidents from happening.

The TCNewTech audience was able to demo the Catch app during the event in order to make networking easier and more effective by allowing them to view, connect, and interact with fellow attendees. Although the presenters are at various stages of launch, the one thing they all share in common is the need for funding. The event was Live Streamed and can be viewed on YouTube and Facebook.

After the three finalists presented their ideas and answered questions from those viewing the live stream, the audience was able to cast their vote for the best pitch via an SMS text messaging poll in which Makeena was selected as the winner.  

TCNewTech is a nonprofit organization intended to energize a community of entrepreneurs by showcasing new tech ideas and facilitate connections at their monthly pitch contests with an end goal of expediting the launch of startups in Northern Michigan. Anyone with an entrepreneurial idea is encouraged to submit their ideas to TCNewTech. No idea is too big or too small – TCNewTech wants to hear all ideas!

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

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

Sarah Hunt, TCNewTech and Karen Frame, Makeena
Play Video