Wednesday, March 12, 2014
A big crowd has gathered upstairs at Peloton Labs this evening for the final presentations from the nine new businesses that the weekend's participants have forged over the past 54 hours.
If this is your first visit, here's some more background on what's going on.
The night's opening with some encouraging words and humorous video clips from Kerem Durdag, the CEO of Boothbay's Biovation, and a contributor and founder of several patents and new companies.
The first presentation comes from ChronoQuest, about whom I wrote earlier this afternoon.
"We have spent the weekend developing self-guided walking tours offering an immersive experience in the city's history," says team leader Melissa Walshe.
The walking tours are delivered via smartphones. Self-guided tour apps "are proven in Boston, New York, and London," and business partners provide additional revenues by encouraging tour participants to patronize local businesses."
"We got out on the streets of Portland (to do market research) and realized it's cold and windy. Then we did a pivot and visited the bars of Portland," says team member David Nelson. They found that about half of people they interviewed might spend $10 for a tour like this one; with 4 million tourists annually visiting the city, they think they have strong potential revenue with low overhead costs.
Judge Stephen Koltai asks how they expect to compete with existing tour providers they mentioned in New York and Boston. Walshe responds that they're more focused on smaller cities with strong tourism markets — "we think we can create our own niche while they're not as much focused on these smaller cities."
Next up is The People's Movement, the team working on composting portable toilets.
"We provide traveling compost toilets for festivals that give a crap," says team leader Kendall Hinkley.
"In the U.S. we spend trillions annually to import synthetic fertilizers for our crops. We eat the food and flush those nutrients down the toilet. We want to close the loop," she continues.
"Our ask is $18,000 to fund a pilot program: a set of prototype toilets for this year's Common Ground Fair," says Hinkley. They'd like to start as a supplemental service alongside conventional portable toilets to demonstrate their viability this fall.Tweet
Commercial Confidential tracks Maine's business leaders and economic indicators.
I'm an economics wonk and an online content producer for the Portland Press Herald.
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