Big Heavy World Joins Statewide Motorcycle Ride: Road Pitch Encourages Entrepreneurs

Words by Fresh Tracks Capital.

Update 8/8: Thanks to Hilary A. Niles and the Boston Globe for their kind coverage, and to WCAX for their news story, too!

Big Heavy World's Executive Director James Lockridge will join 50 Vermont businesspeople, investors and consultants in a five-day motorcycle tour around Vermont, traveling to ten startup 'pitch sessions' to offer feedback or even investment in some of Vermont's newest, most creative enterprises. Info below, and more can be found at and

FreshTracks Road Pitch Edition - 2016 Road Pitch 2016 - August 1 - 5!

The third annual FreshTracks Road Pitch will take place from Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 5 starting with its opening stop at Green Mountain Harley Davidson in Essex Junction. Road Pitch is a five day motorcycle tour of Vermont in which a gang of "business bikers" will stop in 10 towns to listen to approximately 50 different pitches from entrepreneurs. The goals of Road Pitch are to connect Vermont entrepreneurs to resources such as capital and advice, advocate for entrepreneurs throughout the state, help entrepreneurs polish and refine their pitching skills, showcase entrepreneurship through a highly visible annual event, find investible opportunities for private investors and source capital for entrepreneurial businesses. The ride also promotes Vermont as a terrific place to do business as well as a perfect motorcycling destination with lots of scenic twisting roads, picturesque small towns, and plenty of locally sourced food and beverage.

Road Pitch 2016 has attracted many generous sponsors, great pitches, and has grown from an eight town tour to 10 towns this year. The local pitch events are open to the public and we encourage you to come and cheer on your favorite entrepreneur, learn more about the entrepreneurial ecosystem in your community, and maybe even consider pitching your business concept at a future event. Visit Road Pitch to see the schedule of stops and pitch events throughout the week.

Riders' Choice Winners will be selected from each "pitch stop" and will receive $500 and a special edition Vermont Teddy Bear Biker Bear. Several towns are providing additional prize incentives: Hyde Park will award an extra $1,000, provided by Union Bank; Barn Pitch Lowell will award a special chain saw carved bear provided by Art of the Carve to the "people's choice winner"; and at Shed Pitch in Barre the local organizers will sweeten the Riders' Choice prize with an additional $250, and will provide a $250 runner up prize.

We are able to offer these prizes through the generous sponsorship provided by Vermont Department of Economic Development, Key Bank, Gallagher, Flynn & Co., Burlington Bytes, Champlain College BYOBiz, Vermont Small Business Development Center, Vermont Business Magazine, Milk Money, Dinse, Champlain Makers Faire, LaunchVT, Designbook, Merritt and Merritt, North Country Angels ,Moulton Law Group, and Vermont Teddy Bear.  Each of these sponsors plays a key role in the statewide entrepreneurial ecosystem:

Key Bank branch managers from four of the pitch stop towns have helped with event organization and will be present at the local events.

  • Burlington Bytes has built an awesome Road Pitch website:
  • Champlain College and the Champlain BYOBiz program will host and organize the statewide Road Pitch pitch-off on October 18. Bob Bloch of the BYOBiz program and Tom Myers of the Champlain College business school will be riding along during Road Pitch 2016.
  • VT SBDC is hosting the Randolph event and their business counsels are working with many of the presenters from various communities.
  • Gallagher Flynn Tax Partner, Steve Trenholm will be riding with the Road Pitch "gang".
  • Dinse runs free business training events throughout the year. Dinse partner, Leigh Cole, will be riding with the group.
  • DesignBook has powered several of the local pitch event selection screening processes.
  • Moulton Law Group has provided legal support to the Road Pitch motorcycle club.
  • Champlain Mini Makers Faire will hold a fall "maker oriented" Road Pitch event.
  • Vermont Business Magazine will print a Road Pitch "program" as an insert to one of their issues this fall.
  • LaunchVT holds a statewide business pitch competition in the winter and spring that provides finalists with a chance to win substantial cash and in-kind prizes to help winners accelerate their business model.
  • Merritt and Merritt's Ken Merritt is an early stage deal lawyer who also administers the North Country Angel Group which meets once a month and listens to Vermont companies pitch for investment capital.
  • Vermont Teddy Bear is providing the special edition biker bears as part of the Riders' Choice Prize to be awarded at each town. VTB's subsidiary, Vermont Brownie Company, is providing 1,000 brownies printed with a "Share the Road" riding safety and motorcycle awareness message that the riders will hand out to the public throughout Vermont.
  • Milk Money provides a platform for Vermont companies to crowdsource investment from Vermont residents.

Last year's winners include:  Divvi, Funky Wrap, Joy Ryde, Logan Richard Belts, Simple SIgnup, What's Your Watermark, Wheel Pad, and White Room Skis.



“Road Pitch introduced us to both investors and other local entrepreneurs who in the past year have helped our company grow to the point where we could expand into having our own shop, new contracts, and hiring employees . We look forward to participating more in Road Pitch events, encouraging new talent to step forward, and hopefully being on the other side of the presentation." – Erik Cooper, M//E Design

“Fresh Tracks Road Pitch 2015 provided Wheel Pad L3C with the forum to present an idea for a successful company. The win let me know others agreed it was a good idea, but more importantly, the Road Pitch community continued to support the business evolution with feedback. Most significantly, a savvy Road Pitch gang member joined the Wheel Pad team, pushing me to excel in all aspects of my business plan and now, execution of that plan. I feel lucky. As my Father always said, the harder one works, the luckier one gets. Thank you, Road Pitch, for inspiring me to be lucky.” – Julie Lineberger, Wheel Pad

Road Pitch was founded in 2014 by Cairn Cross co-founder of FreshTracks Capital. To read Road Pitch press coverage, click on the links below:

Road Pitch Schedule Announced

Road Pitch Rolls into Third Year

Road Pitch Investors Ride Into Brattleboro

Business Bikers Coming to Hyde Park

Five Pitchers Competing in Barre

Road Pitch 2015 Video Coverage

About FreshTracks: FreshTracks Capital L.P. is a venture capital firm with 3 funds under management and 34 portfolio companies, which is based in Shelburne and focused on investing in Vermont businesses. Some of the firm’s most notable investments include: EatingWell (acquired by Meredith), Vermont Teddy Bear, NEHP (acquired by Critical Process Systems), Ello, Bridj, Faraday, and SunCommon. FreshTracks focuses its investment in private growth-oriented businesses, primarily companies in Vermont or in close geographic proximity to Vermont. The firm was founded by Cairn Cross and Charlie Kireker in 2000, and is currently managed by General Partners Cairn Cross, Tim Davis & Lee Bouyea.