TRAVERSE CITY — The start of the second year of virtual TCNewTech Pitch Nights will feature a first.

Held the first Tuesday of every month, the April 6 event begins at 6 p.m. The virtual Pitch Night can be viewed live on TCNewTech’s Facebook page or YouTube channel.

It will be the 13th Pitch Night to be held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re into our second year of virtual events,” TCNewTech Executive Director Jennifer Szunko said.

Three companies will have five minutes to pitch an emerging business to an online audience of investors, technology professionals, fellow entrepreneurs and others. But next week’s Pitch Night has a catch.

The April 6 event will use Catch Software, LLC. In addition, Michigan State University student Gavin Hubbard will be one of the three presenters vying for the $500 top prize from 4Front Credit Union.

“It’ll be the first time we’ve implemented new technology that someone is pitching,” Szunko said.

Hubbard pitched Catch Software, LLC at TCNewTech’s October Pitch Night featuring presenters from MSU. But the dating app — which did not win the top prize — is back with a major change.

“They were having a hard time getting traction with that,” Szunko said. “So they decided to switch it up. So many people were having trouble networking virtually, meeting new people and finding ways to work together.”

Before TCNewTech decided to use Catch Software, Szunko tested it first and liked the functionality.

“I demoed it at a virtual event a couple of weeks ago and it worked really well,” she said. “It shows everyone at the event virtually. It shows up through an Instagram-like feed and provides a link to the person’s LinkedIn account, so you can decide if you want to connect with them.”

Even though Catch Software will be part of the Pitch Night, it will have to top two other presentations, both of which are based in the region.

Other April Pitch Night presentations include:

Peter Lanc and Tim Iseri of Ionburst. The Cadillac-based company is an “ultra-secure and ransomware-resilient storage platform” ... “built to securely store and retrieve any amount of healthcare and patient information from anywhere,” according to a release from TCNewTech.

Keelin Lundwall of Xperiences. The Traverse City-based company is an app providing “a comprehensive schedule of fun things to do in your area, from hiking trails to concerts to free events in your city,” according to its website.

Each of the three presenters will have five minutes to make a presentation to the online audience, followed by a five-minute question-and-answer period. Audience members select the winner of the $500 top prize via text message.

Before the results are announced, there will be two Bar Napkin pitches. Each of these presentations are one-minute are limited to one slide and there is no question-and-answer session.

The Bar Napkin pitches are not competing for a prize. At least not yet, Szunko said.

“The Bar Napkin pitches sometimes turn into full pitches if they find someone to partner up or to move their idea forward,” she said.

The Bar Napkin pitches according to the release include:

Amber Watson of Tasty Snacks Vending Co. The East Lansing company “will offer a variety of on-the-go snacks and/or drinks at a cheap but reasonable price.”

Megan Mertaugh-Graber of Care-O-Van, PLLC. The Traverse City-based start-up “is a mobile mental health service platform, partnering with schools, private farms and public parks to facilitate learning and healing. As a variation to traditional in-home, outpatient and school-linked mental health services, Care-O-Van provides innovative, accessible and adaptive therapeutic support to children, individuals and families, specialized in offering an integration of nature, play, arts and movement-based therapies,” according to LinkedIn.

The TCNewTech Virtual Pitch Night is broadcast live from 20Fathoms, taking advantage of its fiber internet from main sponsor Michigan Broadband. Those interested in being in the virtual audience for Pitch Night can register in advance through Eventbrite at https://tinyurl.com/TCNewTechApril21. Participants who register will receive reminders and/or more details.

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 https://tcnewtech.org/pitch, or by contacting Szunko at executivedirector@tcnewtech.org.

“It’ll be the first time we’ve implemented new technology that someone is pitching.” TCNewTech Executive Director Jennifer Szunko

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