February 5, 2018

35 startups selected for Top Gun Maine 2018

About Top Gun

Top Gun is an annual program for competitively selected entrepreneurs that combines mentoring with high-impact weekly gatherings held in Portland, Bangor, Lewiston/Auburn and Brunswick. Beginning with just a dozen entrepreneurs in Portland in 2009, Top Gun has now helped more than 174 entrepreneurs across the state accelerate their businesses.

Entrepreneurs selected for each cohort completed a rigorous application process that included submitting a pitch deck, presenting a pitch to a panel and one-on-one interviews with program staff and volunteer business leaders. Starting in early February, each selected business will be matched with a mentor team and will participate in in-depth, "hands-on" training and group learning exercises taught by experts in finance, business law, marketing and other important aspects of business development.

Top Gun Maine is supported by corporate and nonprofit sponsors, local businesses, partner economic development organizations and dozens of volunteer advisors and mentors around the state. Top Gun is also supported by federal funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Additionally, the Maine Technology Institute has provided a $25,000 cash prize to be awarded at a final statewide showcase event held at the end of the program in May 2018.

About Maine Center for Entrepreneurs

Maine Center for Entrepreneurs is an independent nonprofit based in Portland that helps the most promising Maine companies launch and grow through mentoring, training and connections. MCE is a founding organizational partner of Maine Accelerates Growth.

The Maine Center for Entrepreneurs, the University of Maine, the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute have selected 35 businesses for the Top Gun Maine 2018, a statewide program that assists early-stage companies with high-growth potential.

This year marks the first year that sessions will convene in Portland, Bangor, Brunswick and the Lewiston/Auburn regions. It also features for the first time featuring an industry-themed program focused on aquaculture businesses in Brunswick.

"This year's class is made up of an impressive mix of company founders that all share the common goal of growing a successful business here in Maine," said Tom Rainey, executive director of Maine Center for Entrepreneurs.

The 2018 class represents the ninth class since the program's inception in 2009.

The following entrepreneurs have been selected to participate in each location:

Portland (regional sponsor, Camden National Bank):

  • Hannah Semler and Kelin Welborn, FarmDrop
  • Meghan Carey, Co·amplify
  • Kristel Hayes, Fibher LLC
  • Matthew Rideout, Strict Chef
  • Zachary Poole,The Maine Brew Bus
  • Walter Beesley, JUDGED Gear LLC
  • Mary (Melissa) Cott, Home Care Business Services
  • Kim Ortengren, Wallace James Clothing Company
  • Henry Gilbert, Back40
  • Erica Schmitz, Schmitz Studios LLC d/b/a MyBodyModel.

Bangor (regional sponsors, First National Bank, Rudman Winchell law firm, and City of Bangor):

  • Rebeckah Kay Perry, Queen City Arts
  • Terry Cross, Armaid
  • Melissa Greene, About Face
  • Joanne Steenberg, The Love Card
  • Radhakrishna Jamadagni
  • Mick Delargy, Rx Option Inc.

Brunswick, aquaculture-focused specialty (regional sponsors, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Maine Aquaculture Association, FocusMaine and the Maine Aquaculture and Innovation Center):

  • Fiona de Koning, Hollander & de Koning
  • Matthew Moretti, Bangs Island Mussels
  • Jonathan Turcotte, Glidden Point Oyster Co.
  • Jordan Kramer, Winnegance Oyster Farm
  • Lane Hubacz, Basket Island Oyster Co.
  • Amanda Moeser, Lanes Island Oyster Co.
  • Ben Hamilton, Love Point Oysters LLC
  • Michael and Mark Gaffney, Eros Oyster of Robinhood Cove
  • Sean Bergen, Sustainable Seafood Sales LLC
  • Brendan Parsons, Damariscotta River Distribution
  • Peter Rand, Tasteful Tours (possible name)
  • Dillon Shaw, Dewey's Shellfish LLC.

Lewiston/Auburn (regional sponsors, Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, City of Lewiston and Brann and Isaacson law firm):

  • Kshanti Greene, Wily Desert Labs LLC
  • Michele Gilfoil, Planet Botanicals
  • Denise Dumont-Bernier, Occupational Medical Consulting (OMC Wellness Works Division)
  • Hannah Weddle, BackLot Software Company LLC
  • Kevin Morin, PoMo & Co. LLC
  • Christopher G. Poirier, Maine Energy Pros Inc.
  • Ashley Lenz, Ocean Lotion LLC DBA Healing Harbors.

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