Tech Cocktail is now being served in Maine. That's right, later this month, Tech Cocktail is coming to ME. We heard through the grapevine that the Pine Tree State is home to some great early stage startups and a bubbling technology scene (and it's our COO Jen Consalvo's home state!). Naturally we wanted to check it out for ourselves by hosting a Tech Cocktail Mixer & Startup Showcase on Thursday, June 19th at Masonic Temple as part of Maine's Startup & Create Week. To get the community fired up for the event, Tech Cocktail is excited to announce the awesome companies that were selected to showcase and show off what they've got to be winners. Some of these startups could eventually be in the running for the Nation’s Hottest Startup. You won't want to miss it.
Before the event kicks off, we want to know from you: Who is Maine's Hottest Showcasing Startup? Let us know your thoughts by answering the poll at the end of this post (ends at 6:00pm local time on the day of the event). The winner will be announced live at the event and will receive recognition in the editor’s note of the weekly newsletter and added press recognizing the honor of being elected Maine‘s Hottest Showcasing Startup, as well as a chance for a spot at this year’s national competition, Tech Cocktail Celebrate.
Who is Maine's Hottest Showcasing Startup?
- bizzieMe – bizzieMe, LLC is bringing crayons into the 21st century. Wax crayons and activity sheets have been used for 100 years to entertain children at restaurants. But times have changed and family restaurants are struggling to stay relevant. As a whole, the restaurant industry has begun using technology to engage customers – from point of sale to ordering to digital menus, restaurants are using technology to enhance the dining experience. bizzieMe is focusing on family-oriented restaurants ($80 billion) and is creating branded games and activities for their youngest customers who are digital “natives” and expect to engaged digitally. Why engage kids? Because when kids are happy and engaged, moms – who are making decision about discretionary spending – are happy and willing to spend their money, share their experience with friends via social media, and travel miles to enjoy an evening out. (Stats from Julie Casey–the Restaurant Mom).
- Buoy Local – From a customer’s perspective: Why buy a gift card for one business, when you can buy a gift card for 100+ businesses? The Buoy Local gift card offers the flexibility of a traditional gift card – allowing the recipient to spend the value as they wish – yet imbues the gift with a sense of values and community spirit. From a merchant's perspective: Buoy Local offers an altruistic, community-focused marketing opportunity that provides a targeted, quantifiable return on investment and full-price business to small businesses at a lower cost than print and online media, which is traditionally unquantifiable and non-targeted.
- Hipster LLC – Finding startup companies in Maine is hard to do. There are limited resources, but there's no good way to find out who the people are behind these companies. It's even more difficult finding available jobs at them. Startups in Maine set out to showcase the hottest startup companies in Maine to create awareness and attract potential investors to early stage Maine companies. First we created the startup showcase and then we created the jobs portal to make it easier for people to connect. The resume database will allow for startup employers or entrepreneurs to find people interested in working for their companies. Now we're expanding our platform to include tools for equity funding to make it easier for Maine startups to raise funding from local investors.
- Klixel8 – Overlays or icons on a digital image have been the typical solution for providing information about a specific item within an image. Both solutions obstruct the viewing experience. HTML image maps also provide interactivity, but require a polygon shape to define an area. This presents problems for identifying items that are overlapping or spaced too far apart. It is these factors that have resulted in the majority of online product displays for nearly 20 years to be a single product shown in a thumbnail photo. Klixel8 enables products to be shown contextually with accessory items and complimentary products just like in a brick & mortar merchandise display. The problems faced by advertisers and retailers by small mobile screens is diminished by Klixel8's pan and zoom features that offer access to product information from even tiny objects. Without the ability to offer merchandising displays online, impulse purchases have been rare. Klixel8 removes that barrier.
- Maine Original Tea Company – As soda and energy drinks come under fire in the United States, coupled with the increase in the number of at-home carbonation machines such as SodaStream (with 10,000 units sold every day), and the growing trend for consumers to purchase products made with all-natural ingredients, makes this the ideal time for Finest Kind to step in and take its place in the beverage world. Maine Original Tea launched in summer 2013, and was market tested in Maine at large-scale events such as the Yarmouth Clam Festival and Harvest on the Harbor, as well as farmers markets, restaurants, food trucks and local retail shops. By the end of the year, the message was clear from influential buyers: We want this product on our shelves. The brand re-launched in March 2014 as Finest Kind Tea (FKT) Concentrate.
- MiFilter – Professionals who derive the majority of their revenue from referrals understand how important it is to stay in regular communication with their contacts. They know that staying top of mind is the easiest way to increase referral revenue. They also know that sending links to interesting and relevant articles is a great way to stay in touch in a meaningful way that keeps them top of mind. Unfortunately finding relevant content is very time consuming. Even when professionals find great content, it usually only applies to a few of their clients, leaving a large number of clients – potential referral sources – who are unintentionally ignored. MiFilter solves this problem by not only finding the best content out there and recommending specific articles be sent to specific clients, it also reminds users when it has been a while since they have contacted certain clients and then suggests relevant articles that can be sent to reengage them.
- Mingle Analytics, LLC – We have discovered monumental demand to help doctors, health systems, and other healthcare providers to meet the requirements of Medicare's Physician Quality Reporting System(PQRS) which has recently begun phasing in penalties for providers who do not participate. PQRS is a recent program designed to induce providers to submit quality-of-care data to Medicare to help push the nation to Value Based Healthcare Purchasing. It is a complex, confusing, rapidly evolving program which requires substantial cross-domain knowledge and expertise to understand and do well. Our approach has been effective and our reputation and client list is growing faster than the CMS penalties, driving exponential annual growth.
- OwnerAide – Today, home buyers and sellers rely on web platforms like Zillow and Trulia for 90% of their real estate research. Real Estate Brokers are struggling to stay relevant and looking for new ways to add value and increase customer service. In order to respond, agents and brokers are spending $2-5k/yr on lead generation products that don't work. We believe that Real Estate Brokers have local expertise and strong community relationships that can benefit buyers, sellers, and owners throughout the life of a home. We've created a thoughtful solution to help agents and brokers demonstrate their local expertise by sharing their professional network with clients and helping simplify homeownership challenges. This goodwill has a positive impact on their referral and repeat business which accounts for 40-60% of their business.
- PJ Coeur, LLC – Voice Kite provides users with the peace of mind that their ever-increasing volume of precious digital memories will be passed down to their loved ones when it matters most. Our cloud-based system and software enable users to tell their stories, share their most treasured moments with friends and family, and then pass them all down to future generations. Voice Kite is a legacy creation product in a market of disposable apps fixated on transitory self-expression. Pictures may be worth a thousand words… but voices have the power to transport us to a different time and place through tone, tenor and resonance. They capture the sweet voices of children long since grown, the sounds of true love, the irreplaceable and priceless last words of those we have lost. Voice Kite combines sights and sounds for an incredibly powerful result: loved ones will know who you really were and why you really mattered.
- Twenty 2 Vodka – Twenty 2 Vodka is a micro distilled craft vodka alternative to big name vodkas. The defining characteristics are its smoothness and neutrality, which makes it stand out from the ever growing crowd of craft spirits. Twenty 2 Create is a high proof spirit designed for infusing. Infusing is the process of giving a neutral beverage more flavor. So by infusing with Twenty 2 Create, professional and amateur bartenders alike can create their own flavored vodkas, liqueurs, gins, extracts, and tinctures in a matter of hours, not weeks. This also allows the consumer to choose which fresh flavor ingredients they choose to add, instead of settling for clear, chemically derived flavored vodkas that are currently in the mass marketplace.