Launchpad, the business pitch competition created by Gorham Savings Bank, has named the five startups that will compete next month for a chance to win $50,000.
There were 130 businesses that applied this year to the fifth annual Launchpad competition, created by Gorham Savings Bank in 2013 as a way to support early-stage companies.
The five finalists are:
- Good To-Go, located in Kittery, makes dehydrated gourmet meals designed for active adventurers. Co-founder Jennifer Scism is a chef who once defeated Mario Batali on Food Network’s Iron Chef.
- Jellux, from Saco, produces year-round “plug-and-play” marine and outdoor lighting that the average homeowner can install.
- North Spore, based in Westbrook, produces gourmet mushrooms and spawn for both retail and commercial use.
- STARC Systems, located in Brunswick, has developed a temporary containment system that prevents debris and noise from disseminating throughout an occupied building during construction or renovation.
- UniteGPS of Portland has leveraged GPS to create CrossWalk, an app that helps parents and students know when the school bus will arrive each day.
Good To-Go and UniteGPS were also both finalists at last year’s Launchpad competition, which was won by Fluid Farms. The other previous winners were Flowfold in 2013, Pika Energy in 2014, and Bixby & Co. in 2015.
In addition to the $50,000 grand prize, Gorham Savings Bank this year is introducing the Emerging Idea Award, which comes with $10,000 in cash and an additional $10,000 in in-kind marketing, business development and public relations services. The winner will be selected from the remaining applicants and announced at the live event, according to the bank.
“Maine’s economy is made up of thousands of small and innovative businesses. We’re constantly inspired by the success stories we hear from entrepreneurs,” Chris Emmons, Gorham Savings Bank’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “Not only do we want to see those numbers grow; we want to see more of those businesses succeed. The excitement around the competition only demonstrates the strength of entrepreneurship in Maine.”
The final Launchpad pitch event is taking place June 6 at the University of Southern Maine’s Hannaford Hall in Portland. Returning this year to judge the final LaunchPad competition will be Melissa Smith, WEX’s president and CEO; Chris Claudio, co-founder and CEO of Winxnet; and Michelle Neujahr, director of Southern Maine Community College’s Entrepreneurial Center.