TRAVERSE CITY — Four startups with local connections are ready to take their swings at the top prize at TCNewTech’s monthly Pitch Night competition.

The virtual Pitch Night event begins at 6 p.m. on May 4. The event will be broadcast live from 20Fathoms to TCNewTech’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

The four startups will be competing for a $500 prize. Each of the four start-ups will have five minutes for a presentation about their emerging business, followed by a 5-minute question-and-answer period.

Audience members select the winner via text message.

One of the May presenters is a company based in Elk Rapids: High Street Data, LLC. The other three — Makeena, Ridar Systems, LLC and UV-C Safe, Inc. — were referred to TCNewTech because of their work with mentors or consultants with a direct or indirect link to the region.

“They all have a local connection,” TCNewTech Executive Director Jennifer Szunko said. “It’s not always easy to have a local connection, but we have great members that bring them to our attention.”

For the second-straight Pitch Night, TCNewTech will use an app by Catch Software, LLC. Catch was also a presenter at the April 6 event.

To download Catch app, visit and enter the code ‘2027’ to connect with the Pitch Night online community.

“It worked out pretty well,” Szunko said of the event’s first use of the Catch platform. “It’s also the second month we’ll be on the big screens at Thirsty Fish (Sports Grille) for those that feel comfortable.”

Those interested in being in the virtual audience for Pitch Night can register in advance through Eventbrite at Participants who register will receive reminders and/or more details.

The $500 Pitch Night sponsor is RJR, Inc.

The list of the pitches and presenters May 4 are:

  • Brad Basar of High Street Data, LLC. Based in Elk Rapids, High Street Data is “the first cloud-based platform to bring the proven power of insight communities to the cannabis industry,” according to a release from TCNewTech.
  • Karen Frame, CEO and co-founder of Makeena. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, Makeena is a “B-certified loyalty platform that rewards consumers with incentives for buying ‘better,’ while providing brands with real-time shopper insights and data ...,” according to the release. Makeena has worked with Nick Beadleston, the founder partner of Good Impacts in Traverse City.
  • Brent Massey, CEO of Ridar Systems, LLC. Based in Palmer, Massachusetts, Ridar Systems is a cloud-based mobile system that “runs in the background and verbally notifies the driver when a (two-wheeled) rider is approximately five seconds from that driver’s location” to prevent accidents, according to its website. Massey has worked with 20Fathoms consultant and bicycle enthusiast Mary Machino.
  • Rik Hudechek, inventor and president of UV-C Safe, Inc. The Rochester, Michigan start-up “has developed a unique product and capacity that can make a significant reduction of toxins on surfaces and in the air,” according to its website. UV-C Safe, Inc. was introduced to TCNewTech by its patent agent, Ashley Sloat of Aurora Consulting in Traverse City.

Similar to the in-person event, public announcements are offered at the Virtual Pitch Night. Announcements need to be submitted via chat on YouTube and Facebook.

Apply to pitch at future events at, or by contacting Szunko at

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