Investment bikers converge on Essex Junction for Road Pitch event


By Colin Flanders
The Essex Reporter

A gang of business bikers will converge on Essex Junction on Monday, Aug. 3, the first stop on the 2015 Road Pitch, a four-day motorcycle tour of Vermont in which investors, entrepreneurs and business advisors will travel to eight towns around the state.

Founded in 2014 by Cairn Cross — co-founder of FreshTracks Capital — Road Pitch was developed to bring advice and investment opportunities to businesses across the state, helping to connect Vermont’s entrepreneurs to these resources.

Green Mountain Harley Davidson in Essex Junction will host the event’s kickoff, as 27 riders will listen to pitches by five companies beginning at 9 a.m., according to Greg Moran, chair of the economic development commission in Essex and Road Pitch’s local event coordinator. A continental breakfast will be held from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Moran and Emir Heco, an entrepreneur who launched the co-working space Excelerate Essex in June, sifted through the applications, eventually selecting five companies to attend the Road Pitch.

“This is an effort to try to figure out how to support people with business ideas, get them out of their basement and get them in touch with investors,” Moran said. He added that in comparison to Burlington’s “hotbed” movement to support local startups, there’s little opportunity in Essex to do so.

“We’re trying to insert Essex into that conversation, so I started looking hard at Essex businesses that wanted to pitch. Some weren’t at the right point in their development, but two of them were and I’m just really elated we got them,” Moran said.

Essex’s Craig Devarney, founder of Tour Impact Golf will be pitching a golf club designed with an electronic training aid, and Aaron Smith of S&D Snowblowing, will be pitching a regional, residential snow removal system.

“Experience is the biggest thing,” Smith said of his hopes for the Road Pitch. “We are also looking for some small investment to kick start some modifications. We’re excited that it’s local and we’re excited to participate.”

While the Road Pitch will give investors a chance at to provide advice and, if a pitch particularly resonates with them, funding, Moran said he hopes the event will spark a community interest in backing these start-up ventures.

“This process has helped me understand that we can help people get the confidence to share their story,” Moran said.