Vt. Entrepreneurs Seek Advice and Capital From Biking Businesspeople

The rolling networking opportunity is called "road pitches"

Seven "road pitches" this week are connecting a group of Vermont venture capitalists, angel investors, and seasoned business advisors with entrepreneurs who are looking for advice or capital to launch an idea or expand an existing business. The group is traveling between the sessions on motorcycles, and holding the networking opportunities in non-traditional settings in small towns, such as the Bellows Falls train station or an 1860s barn in Lowell.

"We've got a very diverse entrepreneurial population in Vermont," said event organizer Cairn Cross of the Shelburne venture capital firm FreshTracks Capital. "The entrepreneurs within those communities don't necessarily have as many people they can bounce ideas off of and make their pitches to. It's just a smaller population. So if we can kind of come in, it expands the network."

For about a decade now, Cross has been holding a similar pitch event in the winter on the chairlifts of a Vermont ski resort. Very few of the entrepreneurs Cross and the group meet will walk away with an investment check, but Cross noted they all will get valuable business suggestions.

"Where else but in Vermont would a bunch of venture capitalists and business people get on motorcycles and bother to come to our little community in Bellows Falls?" observed Julie Moire Messervy, the owner of a landscape design business in Saxtons River.

Moir Messervy already has several books to her name, and now wants to grow her new app for smartphones and tablets called Home Outside Palette. "It's a great marketing tool," the owner of Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio said.

The free app helps users imagine how a backyard remodel may look. They can drag and drop images of shrubs, trees, fire pits, and patios to create an ideal landscape for their house.

The biker business people suggested ways the designer could partner with a large retailer to boost her reach and help generate more money from the app. "What a lucky person I am to have that advice today," Moir Messervy beamed.

Don Mayer, the owner of the Vermont-based Mac retailer Small Dog Electronics, is part of the FreshTracks road pitches. "The bike ride is awesome," Mayer beamed. "And there's always new ideas. Even for me--I'm a serial entrepreneur. I've started five or six businesses in Vermont, and still, there are always new ideas of how can I make my business better. And I think some of these new entrepreneurs {we're meeting in the road pitches} bring some of that to me as well."

Visit this site for more on the motorcycle riders' series of business pitches. 

Contact Us