TechPlace has been open for only six months, but one of its members is already gaining recognition for its innovation.
After advancing through two rounds of the Greenlight Maine contest, STARC Systems stands as a semifinalist and Chris MacKenzie, STARC’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, has some newfound experience in front of television cameras.
According to contest details at the Maine Startup and Create Week website, Greenlight Maine seeks to put the spotlight on “unique, creative, and inspirational activity” being generated by small businesses in Maine. To that end, contestants’ pitches are judged based on scalability, viability, feasibility, innovation, and presentation.
STARC produces a solution to a common renovation problem. When an area of a building is undergoing construction or renovations, it is often adjacent to another area that needs to be able to operate normally without noise, dust, or other interruptions to protected populations such as patients, employees, students, or visitors. Common solutions include temporary plastic or drywall barriers. After years of experience with these solutions, inventor Tim Hebert, owner of a major Maine-based construction company, knew there had to be a better way.
Hebert had an idea for a simple containment system that was telescopic, airtight, and reusable. Drywall barriers can take hours or even days to construct and after one use become non-biodegradable waste. Hebert saw the need for a system that could be reused in order to reduce costs and cut down on waste and cost.
Hebert teamed with Chief Operating Officer Bruce Bickford in 2013 to provide that solution a reality. Today, STARC manufactures panels that are reusable, airtight, and take two people just 30 minutes to assemble 50 feet of containment. It is that innovation and viability that has placed STARC in the semifinalist round on Greenlight Maine.
According to Mainebiz, 86 Maine-based companies entered the Greenlight Maine contest. Contestants threw their hats in the ring by stepping in front of a camera and delivering a pitch to be submitted in video form. From those 86 entries, the pool of 44 quarterfinalists was selected to present in-person pitches in front of judges.
Now a group of 26 semifinalists have moved on to a round that requires them to make their case both in-person and in front of cameras again, only this time those cameras are for television.
Greenlight Maine will air this Fall on WCSH6 beginning September 12.
As an integrated project through the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Make it in America Challenge Program TechPlace is able to provide early-stage companies like STARC Systems the space to manufacture their innovative products.