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March 25, 2019

Ocean's Balance, KinoTek are 'Greenlight Maine,' 'Collegiate Challenge' winners

Courtesy / Greenlight Maine "Greenlight Maine" host Julene Gervais, left, with Lisa Scali, director of sales and marketing at Ocean's Balance and Kate Rush, senior vice president and director of customer experience at Bangor Savings Bank. Ocean's Balance won this year's competition Saturday.

Ocean’s Balance, a Biddeford-based edible seaweed products maker, Saturday was crowned the season four winner of “Greenlight Maine,” beating two other finalists for the $100,00 grant prize.

In the season finale, held in Orono at the University of Maine’s Hauck Auditorium, Ocean’s Balance went against Flowfold, of Gorham, and American Roots, of Westbrook.

The three made it to the final cut out of more than 60 prospective startups that auditioned online last spring and via live casting calls. That number was whittled down to 26 companies that competed in a weekly TV show that aired statewide from September through February.

“This is a team effort,” said Ocean’s Balance CEO Mitchell Lench, in a news release. “Our people, passion, strategy and products are our recipe for success.”

He also thanked “Greenlight Maine” for providing the capital towards Ocean Balance’s goal of making Gulf of Maine seaweed a staple of the American diet.

“We will look to reinvest in our business to further expand Ocean’s Balance’s personnel, production capabilities and farming operations,” he said.

Collegiate Challenge winner

Courtesy / Greenlight Maine
KinoTek's Justin Hafner, center, with "Greenlight Maine” host Julene Gervais and Brian Whitney, MTI president.

Not to be outdone by the regular “Greenlight Maine,” the new "Collegiate Challenge" crowned KinoTek the winner of its first season, which also ended with a final onstage pitchoff in Orono.

The winning $60,000 prize package consists of a $25,000 cash grant plus a year of legal counsel, accounting services and free internet/WIFI and phone services.

KinoTek, which uses virtual reality and motion capture technology to see how people move and the muscles they use, competed against oyster producer Ferda Farms and Rentscore, which aims to provide landlords with critical information about their tenants.

All three finalists featured University of Maine student entrepreneurs working out of and with mentors at UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation student incubator.

KinoTek CEO Justin Hafner, a UMaine senior majoring in kinesiology and psychology, said the company will reinvest its prize money “to further expand development efforts by adding personnel, which will increase its software development operations."

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