We kicked off this season of Big Gig at Mason's Brewing Company in Brewer. Our plan was to hold this event outside by the beautiful Penobscot River, but Mother Nature had other ideas! Due to inclement weather, we moved this event inside the brewery and after some adjustments, we were on our way. The food was great and the local craft beer was delicious! As everyone filled up and finished networking, entrepreneurs took the stage to pitch three uniquely innovative companies.
First up was Daniel Finnemore, and he pitched his company, Box of Maine, a business that ships gift boxes of quintessentially Maine products, like Moxie & Whoopie Pies, all over the world! Zachary Taylor then pitched Jellux, a company that produces LED dock bumpers that are controlled by smart devices. The third and final Big Gig pitcher of the evening was Justin Hafner with Kinotek, a company that created a VR product that shows muscle stimulation.
After some constructive feedback from our Big Wig judges, Tom McGary, owner of Thomas Massage Therapy, Thomas Morelli, owner of Thomas Morelli Photography, and Jessica Jewell, Co-Founder & COO of Twenty2 Vodka, the audience and the judges voted for their top choice, and Justin Hafner was crowned the Big Gig winner, receiving $500!
But the fun did not stop there! We introduced a new feature, called Battledecks, to Big Gig this year; we replaced the "Big Rig" speaker with a local celebrity to do an improv 'pitch' based on a slideshow the speaker had never seen before. We were lucky enough to have Ric Tyler, a radio personality, to kick off this new series! Ric did an incredible job, and we are very thankful that he accepted the challenge!
While we did change the format of Big Gig slightly by replacing a "Big Rig" speaker with Battledecks, and although the weather did not cooperate, the first Big Gig event of the year was fantastic with about 80 people in attendance. Thank you to all the talented pitchers and to the always hilarious Rick Tyler for making the new year of Big Gig so special!