Local Entrepreneurs Pitch Start-ups at the Tahoe Pitch Showcase

On Monday, September 9th, six Truckee entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of judges and a passionate audience. Two walked away with fabulous prizes and a great start to their businesses! It was the Pitch Camp Showcase, produced by Tahoe Silicon Mountain and the Sierra Business Council (SBC). The purpose of the Showcase, according to SBC’s Vice President of Business Innovation Kristin York, was to “showcase the ability to grow businesses in Truckee.”

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Colin Frolich, whose business won the Judges’ Award, agrees that the mentorship Pitch Camp provided was incredibly helpful. “SBC was able to connect us with someone who used to run an accelerator and knows how to pitch to them. They didn’t just connect us with people in Truckee – they connected us with people all over the state of California through their partner network.” Frolich’s business, Landing, will help solve a problem that is familiar to many of us in both eastern and western Nevada County – the housing crisis. The majority of vacation homes in Truckee stand empty the majority of the time, and yet locals can’t find a place to live. Landing is an innovative solution that matches people who own a vacation home in Truckee with trusted local renters. Frolich is proud to be part of the wave of entrepreneurship in Truckee. “Innovation doesn’t just happen in cities – we think that solving housing issues in rural communities is going to have a big impact across the U.S,” he said. 

The six contestants were selected from the 21 entrepreneurs who participated in the Sierra Business Council’s Tahoe Pitch Camp, a series of workshops designed to teach entrepreneurs how to create a compelling pitch deck. They had five minutes to pitch the audience (and present their newly honed deck) and five minutes to answer questions from the judges. 

Audience members voted for their favorite business to win the Audience Choice Award. The judges, local executives who have successfully started or funded start-ups, gave each business feedback before crowning the winner of the Judges’ Choice Award.  The participants represented businesses from a wide variety of industries. Some you might expect in Truckee: an outdoor gear rental aggregator that makes it easy for outdoor enthusiasts to find the gear and experiences they need with an app, an outdoor gear manufacturer who makes gear designed to withstand Sierra winters and still look good in an urban environment, and a platform that matches renters with vacation home owners. Others could be based almost anywhere: a mindfulness education program for kids, drone services for the solar industry, and a cannabis producer who manufactures a line of cannabis products just for women.

Deb Kelly, whose business Life Ingredients won the people’s choice award is a “grandma on a mission to leave a kinder world” for her six grandchildren. Her educational product uses a neuroscience backed method to teach kids how to develop mindfulness, calm, and a moral compass that will help them move through life. Life Ingredients uses audio, video, books, and even music to teach eight principles. “Pitch camp was one of the best things I ever did for my business,” said Kelly. “The mentorship was so valuable – I got some really good advice.”

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Congratulations to Deb Kelly and Colin Frolich – and thanks for choosing Nevada County to launch your awesome business ideas!

photos by Nina Miller – http://ninaphototahoe.com/

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