Tim Fulton of Sitka, founder of Ramper Innovations, finds out he won the Innovation Summit 2019 Pitch Contest at Centennial Hall, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Heather Holt)

Tim Fulton of Sitka, founder of Ramper Innovations, finds out he won the Innovation Summit 2019 Pitch Contest at Centennial Hall, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Heather Holt)

Sitka business owner places first in pitch contest

Device to help load plane baggage wins Innovation Summit award

Tim Fulton knocked his pitch out of the park.

The Sitka resident and founder of Ramper Innovations was the judges’ first-place pick in the 2019 Pitch Contest at the Innovation Summit Wednesday night at Centennial Hall.

“It blew me away, honestly,” Fulton said in an interview. “I entered it just to have fun.”

He compared it to races that he has run just for the experience.

“I never had any plans of winning a marathon, and I sure didn’t have any plans of winning this,” Fulton said.

The Innovation Summit is an annual conference and gathering for professionals presented by Juneau Economic Development Council. This was the fifth year a pitch contest has been held, said JEDC Executive Director Brian Holst, who praised the event’s five contestants.

[Innovation Summit starts in Juneau]

“They consistently demonstrate the caliber of talent we have in our business community,” Holst said.

Fulton’s business, Ramper Innovations, was formed in 2014 and makes a folding conveyor system that moves baggage and cargo within the bellies of 737-sized aircraft.

Fulton, who spent 38 years loading and unloading airplanes as a ramp service agent, said his company saves airlines money and prevents pain and suffering in his fellow rampers. He said he has 14 of those units throughout Alaska Airlines stops.

“My product is called TISABAS, and that stands for Tim Saves Backs,” Fulton said in an interview. “It gets a smile, and it resonated with the crowd last night.”

Tim Fulton of Sitka, founder of Ramper Innovations, pitches his business at the Innovation Summit 2019 Pitch Contest at Centennial Hall, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. Courtesy Photo | Heather Holt)

Tim Fulton of Sitka, founder of Ramper Innovations, pitches his business at the Innovation Summit 2019 Pitch Contest at Centennial Hall, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. Courtesy Photo | Heather Holt)

Fulton’s pitch also placed first in Audience Choice voting.

H. “Ky” Holland, University of Alaska Fairbanks technology commercialization officer and an investor, who emceed the pitch contest, said this year judges were looking for businesses that have real-world experience and received and adjusted to actual feedback.

“As an investor myself, I care more about the team and their ability to learn and react,” Holland said.

By placing first, Fulton won 60 percent of $2,360 that came from the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce and attendees, who could buy votes for the Audience Choice Award for $10.

Jeff Levin, founder of Legalverse, from Anchorage, placed second in both the judges’ choice and audience choice and will receive 40 percent of the pot.

Levin’s business is a service company that creates legal software that helps legal teams respond with relevant documents in a timely and accurate manner.

Jeff Levin of Anchorage, founder of Legalvers, pitches his business during the Innovation Summit 2019 Pitch Contest at Centennial Hall, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Heather Holt)

Jeff Levin of Anchorage, founder of Legalvers, pitches his business during the Innovation Summit 2019 Pitch Contest at Centennial Hall, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (Courtesy Photo | Heather Holt)

Fulton said while the award money is nice, the experience and exposure are more important.

“One of the reasons that I signed up was just an awareness of being out there, and hopefully at some point having some investors interested in the project and helping me move that forward,” Fulton said. “This really is valuable for me when I’m trying to get my foot in the door for airlines and have those sales conversations.”

Additionally, Fulton, Levin and the other three pitch contestants will get to meet with the event’s judges Bradley Monton, Erin Baca and Yup S. Kim, which Holst and Holland said is a big deal for pitch contestants.

Holland said it’s unusual for pitch contestants to have followup time with judges, and the chance to get personal feedback is valuable.

“It never happens,” Holland said. “Normally, you have a pitch events, and the contestants are all stressed out, then it happens, and they all scatter to the four winds. The most important aspect of these competitions is helping the founders craft their message.”


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter @BenHohenstatt.


More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Sept. 25

Here’s what to expect this week.

Police vehicles gather Wednesday evening near Kaxdigoowu Héen Dei, also known as ]]Brotherhood Bridge Trail, while investigating a homicide. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Police: Woman was walking dogs when she was killed

JPD said officers are working “around the clock” on the criminal investigation.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Coast Guard, a Coast Guard Cutter Kimball crew-member observes a foreign vessel in the Bering Sea, Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. The U.S. Coast Guard cutter on routine patrol in the Bering Sea came across the guided missile cruiser from the People's Republic of China, officials said Monday, Sept. 26.  (U.S. Coast Guard District 17 via AP)
Patrol spots Chinese, Russian naval ships off Alaska island

This wasn’t the first time Chinese naval ships have sailed near Alaska waters.

An Alaska judge has ruled that a state lawmaker affiliated with the Oath Keepers, Rep. David Eastman, shown in this February 2022 photo, may stay on the general election ballot in November even though he's likely ineligible to hold public office  (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Judge keeps Oath Keepers lawmaker on November ballot

Judge ordered delaying certifying the result of the race until a trial scheduled for December.

Water rushes down Front Street, just a half block from the Bering Sea, in Nome, Alaska, on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 as the remnants of Typhoon Merbok moved into the region. It was a massive storm system — big enough to cover the mainland U.S. from the Pacific Ocean to Nebraska and from Canada to Texas. It influenced weather systems as far away as California, where a rare late-summer storm dropped rain on the northern part of the state, offering a measure of relief to wildfire crews but also complicating fire suppression efforts because of mud and loosened earth. (AP Photo / Peggy Fagerstrom)
Repair work begins in some Alaska towns slammed by storm

ANCHORAGE — There’s been significant damage to some roads and homes in… Continue reading

j
Sniffen indicted on sexual abuse counts

Sniffen will be arraigned Monday.

In this undated file photo the Trans-Alaska pipeline and pump station north of Fairbanks, Alaska is shown. (AP Photo / Al Grillo)
Oil price drop endangers plan to fund Alaska schools a year early

If oil prices fall, amount is automatically reduced to an amount the state can afford. At

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Juneau Police Department announces technology and reporting updates

Emergeny services and direct reporting will not be interrupted

The hoverfly can perceive electrical fields around the edges of the petals, the big white stigma, and the stamens. (Courtesy Photo / Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Electric flowers and platform plants

You cannot see it, it’s electric.

Most Read