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June 27, 2016

Garbage to Garden wins $100K Greenlight Maine purse

Courtesy / Shamrock Sports & Entertainment
Courtesy / Shamrock Sports & Entertainment
From left: Con Fullam, partner, PMG; Brian Corcoran, partner, PMG; George Gervais, commissioner, Maine DECD; Tyler Frank, president, Garbage to Garden; Jess Knox, founder, Maine Startup & Create Week; Don Gooding, host of Greenlight Maine; Norah Schlax, apprentice, Greenlight Maine and Nat Thompson, partner, PMG.

The Portland-based curbside composting company Garbage to Garden bested a field of over 80 prospective startups to win the $100,000 top prize at the inaugural Greenlight Maine competition on Friday night in Portland.

Garbage to Garden is a subscription-based service. Customers pay $14 a month and are given a bucket with a lid in which they can collect kitchen scraps. That waste is collected once a week and thrown into a giant compost heap. Customers are then eligible to pick up finished compost, which can be used in gardens, window boxes, flower pots and so on.

"This was a team effort," said Garbage to Garden President Tyler Frank in a statement. "Our people, passion, purpose, game plan and product are our recipe for success. We are grateful for Greenlight Maine to provide us with a statewide forum to receive the initial know-how through mentoring and now financial capital towards achieving our dreams. We will look to re-invest in our business to further grow Garbage to Garden across Maine and other regions."

Garbage to Garden won over the other two finalists, Chimani and Revolution Research. The finalists were chosen earlier in June.

Greenlight Maine is the brainchild of Portland Media Group, a custom content and production company founded by Brian Corcoran, who also is president of Shamrock Sports & Entertainment; Nat Thompson, former president of Maine Radio and Television Co. and former owner/producer at WCSH 6; and Con Fullam, an executive TV producer and music composer.

PMG partnered with Jess Knox, founder of Maine Startup & Create Week, to lead the selection process for the companies.

"All three companies did an incredible job pitching on Friday night and I know it was a difficult choice for the judges," Knox wrote to Mainebiz in an email. "The outlook for all of these companies is incredibly promising."

Before Friday's final round, the Maine Department of Economic Development announced that it will help the entrepreneur contest at least double its purse to $200,000 for its second season, and expand its reach in the state with the aim of also creating more jobs in the state.

"… season one was such a great success that we are going to double down' on season two — two times the prize purse, two times the potential value to participating startups and two times the fun by engaging more mentors, sponsors and executives to raise the end result ..." Corcoran said in an email to Mainebiz.

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