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 sign on a city bus urges the use of face coverings, but following an ordinance passed by the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly, all passengers will now be required to wear masks on buses and while using other city facilities. Friday, May 29, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)
Face coverings now required on buses, in city facilities

Masks will be provided for those who cannot afford them.

Juneau City Hall on Monday, March 30, 2020. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)
Finance committee votes to hold line on property tax

“Projects will still go on. Services will still go on.”

Police calls for Friday, May 29, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Police calls for Thursday, May 28, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Police calls for Wednesday, May 27, 2020

This report contains public information available to the Empire from law enforcement… Continue reading

Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire 
                                Henry Williams runs from Douglas to the Mendenhall Valley on Memorial Day to honor dead service members, including his relative, Air Force Tech Sgt. Leslie Dominic Williams, who died in Afghanistan in 2011.
Memorial Day passes quietly amid coronavirus concerns, damp weather

People found their own ways to honor the hallowed dead.

Archie (center), Ella (left) and Arrow (right) enjoy the dog-friendly Field 2 in Melvin Park on April 26, 2020. The field, Dimond Park, and the grassy area on top of Gold Street are all closed to dogs indefinitely due to a rising amount of unremoved dog poop. (Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)
Poop piles pose problem for parks

Three areas are closed, and more may follow if behavior does not improve.

Most Read