Blue-Tech Acquisitions: Nov. 1 Pitch Night Focus on Water Innovation | Business

TRAVERSE CITY — Usually green is the focal point for TCNewTech, as referral hosts compete for a $500 cash prize.

The November 1 event is all about diving into the blue.

The City Opera House’s monthly TCNewTech event will turn blue for the first time and has nothing to do with politics or salty language. While themes are not uncommon at events for tech-based startups and entrepreneurs, this will be the first time Pitch Night will focus on “blue technology, also known as the blue economy or water innovation,” according to a TCNewTech release.

TCNewTech will be collaborating with other organizations on November 2nd. 1 event such as M-Tec, 20Fathoms, Northwestern Michigan College, Traverse Connect and the Water Innovation Lab.

Just look at the map to find where Traverse City is the center of Blue-Tech.

“Travers City is a natural place to be at the center of water innovation,” said Chris Nesbit, Director of Events, Sales and Marketing at TCNewTech. “We also have a lot of support needs. We have fibre internet that is vital to research. We have good connections in the region that can support water innovation.

“TCNewTech is here to bring together companies looking to maneuver in and help launch the space.”

In addition to the normal Pitch Night presentations, TCNewTech will provide updates on the progress of water innovation in the region. That was from earlier in November. 1 Using Hybrid Robotics on a WTCM broadcast and continuing the OLA Filter Corporation success story at the City Opera House.

It was at TCNewTech in July 2021 that OLA Filter provided the winning pitch to claim a $500 prize.

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“We were in a very early stage last year,” OLA Filter co-founder and CTO Theresa Smith said of the July 2021 event, the first in-person TCNewTech since March 2020. “We just had an idea. We had no funding, we just had a prototype. The $500 we won was the first money we ever made.”

OLA uses a filter element that attaches to the faucet with a universal thread. According to its website, the inside of the filter element “is a tightly bound ring of hollow fiber membranes with micropores that block bacteria, parasites, cysts, microplastics, protozoa and sediments – providing you with pure drinking water” . It protects against waterborne diseases such as cholera, E. coli and Giardia.

Smith said OLA Filters used the award it won in July 2021 to open a bank account.

OLA Flter’s meteoric rise from there — coupled with crowdfunding — enabled companies to build, test, and bring products to market.

OLA filters are built into Guatemala and are available directly to consumers on the company website

Smith said OLA Filter has been working in Traverse City since moving to Traverse City a year ago. After a 20-year career as an engineer at Toyota, Smith co-founded the company with Elizabeth Crandos, joining a company where she could make a “greater social impact.”

OLA is working with another Traverse City company, Hacha Products, an authorized reseller of OLA filters. The company recently became part of the FEMA Disaster Relief and Florida Global Empowerment Mission (GEM).

After Hurricane Ian, OLA sent 380 filters to Florida and 140 to Haiti next week to help with the cholera outbreak.

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Hacha Products owners and CEO Kimberly Meek and Smith will discuss the rise of OLA filters in the Blue-Tech ecosystem at TCNewTech on November 11th. 1. Founded in 2015, Hacha Products is a certified women, minority and disability owned business.

While Meek and Smith will not be pitching at TCNewTech, they will be presenting at the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Fall 2022 pitch competition on Nov. 15. Mick and Smith were one of 12 finalists.

The Traverse City duo were among 500 applicants for the second round of events, which dwindled to 46 applicants.

There will be six entrepreneurs pitching water innovations in November. 1 at the City Opera.

The event will also be broadcast live on TCNewTech’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages and its YouTube channel.

Live and virtual audiences will vote for the winner after the competition, and the winner will receive a $500 cash prize offered by Hagerty in November.

Scheduled speakers include:

  • Henry Westlind of VirsaQuest. According to a TCNewTech release, VirsaQuest, an early-stage startup based in Marquette, is “a franchise rental business that utilizes its own stand-up paddle board (SUP) design, utilizing technologies including SUPs, marine scooters and solar technology. technology in three areas”.
  • Dana Lowell of Lilypad Labs. Holland, Michigan-based Lilypad is a shareable solar boat that uses “clean energy and autonomous mobility technology” to provide “an approachable alternative boating experience designed to bring people together on the water while requiring little to no boating expertise.” “. website.
  • Michigan Tech PhD student Rose Daily will present her research in the field of detecting, measuring, and tracking perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFA) substances. According to a TCNewTech release, Chuck Meek of L3C’s Solve for X will “provide a business case and market opportunity for this.”
  • Ed Bailey will pitch his project Water Innovation Lab Great Lakes (2.0). Bailey is Director of Operations and Business Development for the NMC Maritime Center. The Great Lakes Water Innovation Lab “proposes to support and develop the ideation of early career entrepreneurs and the development of new and innovative technologies to support issues surrounding the Great Lakes region by extending the successful pilot program completed in September”.
  • Hans VanSumeren will pitch his project Lakebed 2030 – Mapping the Great Lakes. According to a press release, Van Sumeren, director of the NMC Great Lakes Water Institute, created Lakebed 2030 to focus on “the management and sustainability of baseline data and information currently unavailable on the (use) of the world’s largest freshwater resource.”
  • A press release from TCNewTech stated that SuPyRec’s Francis Criqui is a company marketing “a wide variety of products that result from recycling difficult-to-treat plastic waste, disrupting the flow of microplastics into watersheds and other ecosystems.”

TCNewTech’s final event of 2022 is scheduled for December. 6.

To apply for future Pitch Night events, visit or email Nesbit at

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