MCE helps innovators fill in the gaps between their deep industry expertise and the strategic business skills critical to launching a scalable, sustainable venture. Maine's unique economic and geographic challenges demand more that a traditional business incubator. They demand a catalyst.

Twenty 2 Vodka joins with small Maine distillers form Maine Distiller’s Guild, Kick-off Party December 7th


Top Gun 2014 Graduate Twenty 2 Vodka and other small Maine distillers have joined together to form a Maine Distiller’s Guild. The Guild is holding a pre-launch kick off party on Monday, December 7th from 5-9pm at Liquid Riot on Commercial Street in Portland.  There will be 11 different small distillers from all around Maine on hand with samples of their spirits. Members of the local chapter of the US Bartenders Guild will be behind the bar mixing cocktails with members products. This is a great event for anyone looking to sample and learn more about Maine made spirits, just in time for the Christmas party rush!  FMI click here

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MCED Mentor of the Month - Michael Royer
Michael Royer

MCED December Mentor of the month is...

Mike Royer

A large part of what makes MCED and Top Gun Maine so successful is the generosity and talent of the many mentors who donate their time to work with our entrepreneurs. Every month we highlight the expertise and contributions of one of our mentors.  This month we are happy to honor Mike Royer.

Mike Royer is the President and CEO or Barry Talbot and Royer and has been a Top Gun Mentor since 2010. He brings over 25 years of experience working with companies during all phases of their growth cycle. His strong entrepreneurial and creative problem solving perspective has helped Top Gun companies navigate intelligent, planned growth and pivots. He holds a Master of Science in Taxation Degree from Bentley College, Waltham, Massachusetts, and a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas.
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Goldstar Honeybees presents at World Biodiversity Conference

Gold Star Honeybees logo

Top Gun 2012 graduate Christy Hamenway, founder of Goldstar Honeybees, presented at the World Biodiversity Association in Italy this month, about natural beekeeping in top bar hives - the subject of her first book (recently translated into Italian) The Thinking Beekeeper. While there, she conducted research with italian beekeepers for her upcoming book about the effects of neonicotinoid presticides on bee populations. 

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Vital Text to begin uptake trials

Vital Text logo





Top Gun 2012 graduate and former MCED client Vital Text will begin trials of uptake in January 2016 through a selection of small (less than 10,000) market segments through “masked” websites and targeted campaigns. 

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Chimani partners with Google

Top Gun 2012 graduate Chimani has been selected as one of nine launch partners for Google's new App First Indexing technology, which allows in-app content to appear in Google search results.
Read the Portland Press Herald article here.

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Bixby & Co Good Food Award Finalist







Top Gun 2014 Graduate Bixby & Co. Nutty For You Bixby Bar named 2015 Good Food Award finalist in the confectionery category.

Bixby Bars (Top Gun 2014) Nutty for You flavor was selected amongst 1937 entries in a blind tasting with 182 judges as a Good Food Award finalist. The award represents the forefront of American craft food, making products that are delicious, respectful of the environment, and connected to communities and cultural traditions.

Nutty For You—organic dark chocolate + crunchy peanut butter + Maine sea salt is made with organic, Rainforest Alliance certified chocolate that is ethically sourced, is gluten free, Non GMO Project certified and vegan.

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Allergy Amulet adds researchers, collaborates with MIT and wins recognition

Top Gun graduate 2015 Allergy Amulet has added two researchers to their team: Jason Stanwick who is currently pursuing an MBA at Harvard Business School and is a licensed professional engineer with a Master’s degree in medical device design, and Micah Maetani, a PhD Candidate in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. Prior to graduate school, Micah received his B.S. in chemistry from Stanford University and completed research internships at the University of Hawaii Cancer Center, the National Cancer Institute, and Genentech.

The company was also selected to participate in MIT’s Sloan School of Business student-industry collaboration; were invited to the Harvard innovation Lounge, and were selected by the Connecticut Technology Council as a 2015 Connecticut Tech Company to Watch! Go Allergy Amulet!

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Mommy, do entrepreneurs have angels?
Authentic Maine Angels Sam Fratoni and Catherine York took a break from their angelic heralding to illuminate our questions with their combined wisdom and humor.
Some people pray to angels, and other people channel them, and some hang them at the top of holiday trees. What would you say is the best way to invoke an Angel connection?

“Praying” to Angles when all else fails doesn’t work.  You have to take the climb up the tree, branch by knurly branch to get to the Angel on the top.  The first way is to make sure you have an investable company.  Is your business solving a real pain point in a fast growing market?  Do you have what it takes to scale your company and capture market share.  Is it true that "if you build it, they will come?"  What is the evidence of your success so far?  A quality business will attract investment and needed resources.  When you're ready, you can go to  You still have to hold on to stay at the top of the tree, but the view is great above all the lights!

Angels have a halo of mystery – what misconceptions do people have about angels?

Have you ever seen holiday decorations that are just money stuck all around the place?  Angel investing is not just about providing capital.  Many angels have expertise and mentoring ability that can help entrepreneurs solve complex challenges.  And they can make connections to many other “lights” for your business.  And don’t confuse an Angel with an Elf.  These angels do expect to make a return.  While angels are willing to take more risk and have amazing patience, they're still making the investment with the expectation of making a significant return on their investment.  Celebrations are always better with others.

What do you like most about being a Maine Angel as opposed to being, say, a Massachusetts Angel?

It is like being at a great party at someone else’s house. We love being a part of growing the entrepreneurial community and driving economic development in Maine.  It allows us to be involved in more and more diverse endeavors than we could lead on our own. We like seeing others develop the skills and knowledge to carry forward.  And who can argue with being with other Angels?  Besides -  Maine Angels are good, and nice!

In what way are Maine Angels and guardian angels similar?

Just like guardian angels, Maine Angels care about their entrepreneurs. We're known for providing mentorship and strategic guidance when needed and for being one of the top angel groups in the company for follow on investments.  Also, we give advice meant to drive better outcomes - though may not always feel gentle and caring at the time. Finally, we’re earthly angels - not pure or perfect, just working hard to help create more success, while having some fun and enjoying comradarie. 

Angels have to earn their wings – how do Maine Angels earn theirs?  

In general, Angels develop and prove themselves worthy by building experiences (not always successful) and skills running businesses and organizations.  They understand the power of learning from others, and develop a commitment to mentoring others as a way to pay back to the community.  They know the high risk of starting businesses, and are willing to invest their time and money to help a higher percentage succeed. They also need some persistence and passion to keep the tree up and holiday spirit all year long as a way to get through the failures and the long haul with a smile.

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So you want a Maine Angel for Christmas? Well, consider this...

The Maine Angels are the largest angel phase investor network in the state, noted nationally for its follow-on funding for portfolio companies. Founded in 2003, the chapter has invested in over $15M in more than sixty companies. They focus on Maine start-ups with potential for national scale, though half the investments have been made across New England.  

The investments Maine Angels have made have been in numerous industries including medical devices, consumer products, biotech, clean tech, education and software. The chapter membership is made up of more than sixty individuals from various backgrounds, including entrepreneurs, general management, marketing, operations, development, investment, medical and legal.  While the members work closely together in the screening, review, and deep diligence analysis, each member makes his/her own investment decisions. 

The process for applying to the Maine Angels is straight forward.

1 An entrepreneur submits on-line with details as described on Maine

   Product or service idea and the unique need it fills or how it is differentiated

   Market potential and competition

   Intellectual property and proprietary position

   Business plan in detail for next year and more general out through fifth year

   Growth potential and scalability

   Status of development of business (e.g. design, launch, growth)

   Valuation and exit strategy

   Current ask and terms

2 A screening committee reviews applications and makes selections based on: 

   Market potential

   Potential return based on valuation, terms and scalability

   Initial risk and readiness

   Location and expertise fit for diligence

3 Selected entrepreneurs make a member presentation and Angels judge the presenations based on:

   Understanding product, direction, plan and status

   Leadership capability and coachability

   Portfolio fit and interest

4 Diligence

   Clarification and confirmation of material presented

   Valuation determination and term negotiation

   Syndication with other Angel groups if appropriate

   Write-up findings (note: no recommendation to invest or not is made by the group)

5 Decisions are made by individual angels whether to invest or pass

6 Investment, mentoring and monitoring (and possibly further investment) as business progresses

7 Exit – hopefully successfully 

The keys to success:

  • Don’t go too early – be sure you have developed the business to prove your plan with self funding, friends & family and grants or loans, and education from programs like Top Gun.
  • You are asking for money – be sure to clarify what the investor can get in return and how you have lowered the risk.
  • Demonstrate leadership without arrogance, confidence with coachability, competence with compensation for shortfalls, passion with reality, and determination to the end.

 - Blog by Sam Fratoni, Maine Angel

Sam Fratoni is the chair of the Maine Angels and an MCED Board member. As a business executive Sam has over 30 years of global, technical corporate leadership, focused on helping organizations apply technology to real customer needs to produce results for the company and employees. He has led business units, international regions and global business functions for Hewlett Packard and as Corporate Vice President for IDEXX Laboratories.

The Maine Angels are an MCED Sponsor

MCED sponsors understand the important role that our organization plays in supporting Maine entrepreneurs, providing ready access to the resources needed to launch and run successful companies in Maine.

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Shop Local This Holiday Season

Adventurous Joe Coffee - Buzz worthy coffee and coffee gear
Armaid - Great for tendonitis sufferers
Artascope - For anyone crafty
Atayne - Environmentally friendly athletic wear
Bella Luna Toys  - Waldorf, wooden and natural toys to nourish the imagination
Bitzy Baby - Safe baby bumpers
Bixby Bar - Organic, Healthy Chocolate bars
Black Dinah Chocolates - Artisan chocolates
Black Lobster Academy - Online art workshops
Buoy Local - One Card. All of Portland, Maine
Chimani - Apps for the outdoors
Darn Good Yarn - Not your Grandma's Yarn!
Downeast Dayboat - Fresh Maine scallops delivered within 24 hours
Dulse & Rugosa - nourishing bath & body products inspired by the Maine Islands
Earth Angel Arts - Paintings by Amanda Clark
Eepybird - Grab one of their great books 
Flowfold - Carry the Future
Garbage to Garden - curbside recycling subscription for your favorite recycler 
Gold Star Honeybees - Natural top bar hive beekeeping equipment/classes "I'm getting Bees for Christmas!"
Loohoo Wool Dryer Balls - For all natural laundry drying
Lulu's Garden - Natural body care products made in Maine
Maine Foodie Tours - Gift Certificates make great gifts for the food lovers in your life! Use the "buy local" code and save 10% when ordering online. They do not expire and may be redeemed for tours at all locations across Maine for some tasty fun! 
Maine Gold - Premium Maine Maple Products and Gift Baskets
Maine Mead Works - For connoisseurs of the oldest fermented beverage.
Maine Medicinals - All natural homeopathic medicines
Finest Kind Tea - mixers and modifiers
Mutt Nose Best - Natural Pet products
Neu Naturals - Yummy snacks to feed your inner awesome!
Northern Girl - Bounty from the county
Oats Any Time - Fruit filled crumb tarts-treat yourself to good health!
Positive Raw Power - Raw food classes
Pika Energy - residential wind turbines
Rheal Day Spa - Give your honey a spa day
LulaWed - Planning a wedding in 2016...?
Seawicks Candle Company - 100% Soy candles inspired by Maine
The Sunrise Guide - Local coupon book with local vendors focused on healthy green living
Turtle Love Co.- Artisan jewelery
Twenty 2 Vodka - handcrafted, small batch vodka
Urban Farm Fermentory - Sustainably created beverages


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Introspective Systems featured in Microsoft podcast

 Introspective logo



Top Gun 2012 graduate Introspective Systems and their xGraph technology was mentioned in the nationally distributed Microsoft focused podcast of Microsoft Northeast Regional Director Carl Franklin. The podcast covers Internet of Things capabilities of the Microsoft Azure platform during a conversation with Microsoft Senior Vice President of the Azure Platform, Jason Zander. Carl talks about the best ways to implement IoT solutions and the key is not to use a relational database and he related that to Introspective's xGraph technology that gets the intelligence to the edge of the system. The fact that Introspective Systems was mentioned as a competitor of Microsoft in this space is a great step forward. The mention of Introspective Systems begins at 2:55

Watch the podcast here

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Steven Koltai publishes book

Former MCED board member Steven Koltai will be publishing his book on entrepreneurship this coming spring. The book is entitled World Peace through Entrepreneurship: Investing in a Startup Culture for Security and Development, and it will be published by the Brookings Institution Press.

FMI or to order in advance click here

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Pika Energy secures broad patent for new technology





Top Gun 2012 Graduate Pika Energy has secured a broad patent for its core direct current (DC) nanogrid technology that enables homes and small commercial buildings to efficiently collect, manage, store, and use clean power. The patent is the latest in a widening pool of intellectual property for the power electronics firm. Read More


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IRC Maine builds one of nation's largest solar arrays

IRC Maine





Top Gun 2012 Company, IRC Solar Roof Systems was hired by MRS Management & Property Development to build a 1.3 megawatt rooftop solar photovoltaic array atop the new, state of the art, 160,000 square foot indoor sports complex, for Clasico LLC. The building was constructed by Connolly Brothers of Beverly, MA. This roof mounted solar PV array is one of the largest of its kind in the country.

Read more

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Four Top Gun companies present at Scratchpad

The Scratchpad Accelerator is a pilot program at the University of Maine in collaboration with the Maine Technology Institute. On December 11 it will hold Demo Day to showcase four of Maine’s most promising startup companies - all former Top Gun Grads.

The four companies — CourseStorm of Orono; Double Blue Analytics of Orono and Brunswick; Tip Whip LLC of Old Town; and L&K Manufacturing of Bangor — will give investment-style pitches to an audience of supporters, strategic partners, the general public and potential investors.

This is the first event of its kind north of Boston, and will display cutting-edge developments underway at each company. The event runs from 4–7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Seasons Restaurant in Bangor. The event is open to the public and will include networking, food and a cash bar. Registration is online.

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Top Gun Applications Open December 2, with exciting new PreFlight sessions

Top Gun Logo

Top Gun Applications Open December 2nd
...with exciting new PreFlight Program to help all entrepreneurs advance their skills!

Applications are for Top Gun Maine 2016 open this year on December 2nd. Top Gun Maine is the competitive accelerator program that has been helping Maine’s most promising early stage, scalable, innovation-based businesses launch strong and lasting Maine businesses since 2009. The highly-selective program accepts 30 to 35 companies distributed amongst three locations: Portland, Bangor and the Midcoast.

This year, as an extra benefit to the entire Maine entrepreneurial community, a PreFlight program is being offered to any entrepreneur interested in sharpening their game and developing their skills - especially those planning to apply for Top Gun.

PreFlight will offer a series of repeated trainings on creating a Business Model Canvas, and pitching skills with regular mentoring sessions to help companies refine their vision as well.

“We are offering PreFlight,” said Don Gooding, Executive Director of MCED, “because the skills developed in the program and the mentoring are helpful for any serious entrepreneur, but for those that are planning to apply to Top Gun, they are crucial.”

Applicants to this year’s Top Gun Program will be required to submit their business model canvas and a pitch deck which they will deliver live to a screening panel. Preflight trainings will occur throughout December and January in all three locations. Those interested in taking advantage of the training can find more information about times and dates HERE.

Top Gun 2016 will run weekly from February 27th through June 9th this year, culminating in a showcase pitch off event in June in which 2 entrepreneurs from each location will deliver their pitches to a question and answer panel before an audience of over 300 potential investors, business leaders, and journalists.

Past participants in the Top Gun Program have included Pika energy,, Liquid Wireless, and Chimani.

The program is will continue it’s mission to provide a forum where entrepreneurs may bring their "of-the-day" issues into a problem solving format while maintaining a focus on growth, marketing, operations and financing.

Applying to Top Gun is easy.  Find the instructions here. 


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Norway Savings Bank sponsors MCED Table Talks

Left to Right: Susan Ruhlin, Claire Owens, Don Gooding, Rob Harville, & Janice de Lima

Representing Norway Savings Bank, Claire Owens, Business Development Officer, Rob Harville, Commercial Lender and Janice de Lima, CRA Officer presented Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) with a check for $1,500.00 to sponsor their upcoming Table Talk Series. The Series will feature topics for aspiring entrepreneurs who are seeking outside equity for their businesses to learn about effective presentation methods, legalities and other barriers they will need to overcome as they scale up their ventures and attract potential investors.   

MCED is a private non-profit founded in 1997 that helps Maine’s most promising entrepreneurs to grow through innovation, with the goal of revitalizing the Maine economy.  Their programs include:

Monthly Lunch and Learns and Table Talks, open to the general community and provide detailed, actionable training especially related to Marketing and Money.

The Top Gun track which begins with an open, statewide online course (Top Gun Prep), and continues for some, with the selective Top Gun entrepreneurship acceleration program.

MoneyTrack program which provides ongoing coaching, advising and mentoring (especially in non-debt financing strategies).



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