Some Vermont software entrepreneurs had a good night at Champlain College last week when the fruits of their summer labor paid off.
Valt, a picture-based password management app, won the FreshTracks Capital Road Pitch finale, landing them a $5,000 prize and a year’s worth of coaching from the venture capital team.
This summer, FreshTracks Road Pitch, brought motorcycle-riding investors and business advisors to Vermont’s small towns, listening to “pitches” from entrepreneurs across the state. At each of 10 sites, one pitch won the opportunity to move on to the final pitch session at Champlain last week.
FreshTracks Capital co-founder and managing director Cairn Cross noted that the criteria for selection at Thursday’s event included the product’s necessity and problem-solving contribution; a well-defined customer base and target market; and good knowledge and ability on the part of the product’s management.
“Valt was picked because it has developed a unique approach to digital password management with an ‘image-based’ solution that is easy to use,” Cross said.
Valt CEO and cofounder Brent Heeringa said he began with a “stellar and seasoned team of five” that worked for “salaries far, far below market rate” through the summer. The prize money will be split among them “in a show of good faith for operating so parsimoniously this summer,” while the team works to raise another $500,000.
The Valt crew is looking forward to the year’s worth of coaching and on top of that, they said they’ll take the buzz from winning the contest, too. “The positive publicity around our win is one of the largest benefits, particularly because the field of competitors was extremely strong,” Heeringa said. “Valt feels truly fortunate to have won.”