photo: Jensen Rhodes (left) with Oregon RAIN Coastal Venture Catalyst David Youngentob after winning the LinCo Speed Pitch Kickoff 

Speed Pitch Kickoffs in Florence and Newport

RAIN hosted the LinCo Speed Pitch Kickoff on February 15 in Newport. Eight Lincoln County startups each delivered a one-minute business pitch, and the audience determined the winner by “investing funny money” with their favorite company.

Listen to RAIN’s Caroline Cummings and Matt Hollander discuss the Speed Pitch Kickoff, pre-accelerators, and more with Cheryl Harle on KPPT Newport. 


Patricia Immel (left), founder of Rose and Crown Apothecary, won the FloCo Speed Pitch Kickoff.

Jensen Rhodes of Lincoln City earned first place for Oregon Coast Truffle Company. He plans to harvest these delicacies — first on other’s properties, then from his own crops —  and sell them to high-end markets and restaurants. Rhodes may not have been the favorite to win after the pitches were completed, but in typical entrepreneurial fashion, he worked his way around the room, and made personal pitches for each “investment dollar.”

“It was absolutely key [to follow up with “investors”] because I know I probably didn’t have the strongest pitch,” he said.

Rhodes went on to explain that he had just recently learned about the speed pitch event and didn’t have much time to practice. However, he was excited by the positive feedback.

“I didn’t really want to get up and do this in front of people, but this was a step in the direction of where I want to go,” he said.

For his efforts and persistence, Rhodes won a prize package valued at $500.

RAIN hosted an identical event for its Florence entrepreneurs on January 24. Patricia Immel, founder of Rose and Crown Apothecary, came in first place. Rose and Crown Apothecary is a team of herbalists and licensed healthcare professionals who produce botanically based products to enhance health, beauty and vitality. The runner up was Carl Hulan, Founder of Lofoodal, a Florence-based, internet marketplace for farmers and micro farmers.

“The speed pitch is a fundamental tool of entrepreneurship,” said Oregon RAIN Coastal Venture Catalyst David Youngentob. “Of course it’s always exciting when there’s prize money on the line, but from our perspective this was more about giving our local startups a chance to practice this tool in front of a live audience, and get feedback on their ideas.”