TRAVERSE CITY — What stage is the start-up? How much of an investment is being sought? What would the investment be used for?

Sometimes the most obvious facts are the ones that slip through the cracks when making a presentation — via Zoom or in person — before thousands of people.

TCNewTech is putting some polish on its Pitch Night presentations with the help of 20Fathoms. Side Pitch will be held the Wednesday before Pitch Night and is intended to provide feedback on the presentations from three mentors.

“It was almost like a private run for the event, but it was just in front of those three people,” TCNewTech Executive Director Jennifer Szunko said of the first Side Pitch.

TCNewTech’s Pitch Night is held the first Tuesday of the month.

Szunko said the first trio of mentors have a lot of experience on both sides of pitch presentations. The first three mentors were:

  • Lauren Bigelow, executive director of 20Fathoms. Before joining 20Fathoms, Bigelow was CEO of the Growth Capital Network, a firm that “provides strategy, analytic, and impact evaluation services to the corporate, foundation and non-profit communities,” according to a release.

Bigelow was also the North American Commercial Director for New Energy Finance and Managing Director of the Cleantech Group. Bigelow is on the finance faculty at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.

  • Jack Miner is president of HealthSpark, a technology-focused accelerator program at 20Fathoms. Miner was Managing Director at Cleveland Clinic Ventures, Director of the Venture Center at the University of Michigan, Office of Technology Commercialization.
  • David Summers has worked a variety of positions at AT&T, Ameritech, TeleDanmark as well as private equity firms Doughty Hanson & Co. and Advent International. Summers is on the board of Northern Michigan Angels and vice chairman of the Traverse City SCORE chapter. Currently the chairman of Adaptive Mobile Security, Szunko said Summers has “served as chairman and/or non-executive director of more than 15 corporate subsidiaries, private equity and venture capital portfolio technology companies, including five Intel Capital companies.”

“The mentor bios are just incredible,” Szunko said in summary.

Szunko added TCNewTech and the region in general are fortunate to have access to these kind of mentors.

“It’s just amazing that we have that type of talent,” she said. “They could live anywhere in the country and they live right here in Traverse City.”

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