Bar Napkin ideas take center stage

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TRAVERSE CITY — TCNewTech’s monthly Pitch Night is all about turning ideas into reality.

Sometimes technology start-ups need a little investment nudge. Other times these concepts are nothing more than an idea scribbled out on a napkin.

The “Bar Napkin ideas” will take center stage at the City Opera House on May 3. Several of these 1-minute pitches will be featured at the TCNewTech Pitch Night event.

“We do these twice a year,” TCNewTech Executive Director Jennifer Szunko said. “These are more popular and some of the ideas are really solid and have great potential.

“There are others that are kind of crazy, but it makes it all fun and makes for a fast-moving, interesting program.”

The audience will decide the winning pitch as with its normal monthly event. A $500 cash prize will be awarded to the winning pitch.

Pitch Night will also be live-streamed on TCNewTech’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages as well as its YouTube channel, in addition to the in-person event.

The event begins with networking at 5:30 p.m. followed by the Bar Napkin pitches starting at 6 p.m. Public service announcements and a Quick Tip Educational Minute are also scheduled.

Szunko said several successful companies and/or innovations have come from ideas on the back of a cocktail napkin, including Southwest Airlines, NASCAR’s point system and the expansion of Oprah Winfrey’s media empire.

“Past ideas have included an app that automatically silences your phone so you don’t forget to, a video search engine, and a sustainable alternative to cemeteries,” according to a TCNewTech release.

“The May 3 event runs the gamut from ideas based on augmented reality to an app for musicians and a platform for entrepreneurs,” Szunko said in the release. “Our goal is to quickly share as many novel ideas as possible and help the presenters connect with people that can help make those ideas a reality.”

Burns & Wilcox Insurance will provide the $500 cash prize for the winning Bar Napkin idea.

Following the Pitch Night event will be additional networking at the Opera House from 7-8 p.m. An optional networking event is set for 8-10 p.m. at 7 Monks Taproom, located at 128 S. Union St.

To register for the May 3 event or for more information, visit

To apply for future Pitch Night events, visit or email Szunko at