Student companies win all three finalist spots in ‘Greenlight Maine’ competition

University of Maine student entrepreneurs working out of and with mentors at UMaine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation student incubator have won all three finalist spots in the college competition of “Greenlight Maine,” a business contest television show twice nominated for an Emmy Award. The students will compete live for the grand prize at 4 p.m. March 23 in Hauck Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Student entrepreneurs representing colleges and universities from around the state went head-to-head for the final three spots. All finalists will compete for the grand prize of $25,000 as part of a larger prize package with an estimated value of $60,000.

“The UMaine team is so proud of these students. They’ve all worked very hard and spent countless hours devoted to developing their businesses,” says Veena Dinesh, director of business incubation at the Foster Center.  

The winning companies are Ferda Farms, KinoTek and RentScore.

Ferda Farms is an oyster farm in Brunswick, Maine on the New Meadows River. Operated by three first-year students and one of their fathers, Ferda Farms produces farm-fresh oysters while bringing innovation and automation to the aquaculture industry. Leading the company are Brunswick natives Max Burtis, a mechanical engineering student; and Sam Dorval, an electrical engineering student.

KinoTek uses virtual reality and motion capture technology to see the way people move and the muscles they use. The company’s work seeks to mitigate musculoskeletal injuries, increase body awareness, and help with overall education of physiological and biomechanical concepts. KinoTek is led by Justin Hafner, who has bachelor’s degrees in kinesiology and psychology from UMaine and is a native of Queensbury, New York. Other team members include Jon Gagnon, who holds a bachelor’s and master’s in kinesiology and is from Glenburn, Maine; David Holomakoff, who has a bachelor’s and master’s in bioengineering and is from East Norwalk, Connecticut; Patrick Breeding, a master’s student with a bachelor’s in bioengineering from East Granby, Connecticut; and Walter Rasmussen, a computer engineering student from Auburn, Maine.

RentScore is designed to provide landlords with critical information about their tenants. Based on in-person landlord and tenant interviews, the company has found that in many cases, negative landlord-tenant relationships stem from a perceived lack of trust from destructive tenants and landlords neglecting their responsibilities. RentScore will help rebuild this trust by providing the information that landlords want from tenants quickly and easily. Preliminary public relations research shows tenant groups, landlord associations and city officials will welcome the services that RentScore will offer. Team members include Steve Doman, a current master’s in business administration student from Portland, Maine; and John Peters, who holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and is from Lewiston, Maine. Doman and Peters were part of the Foster Center’s Innovate for Maine Fellows program.  

Greenlight Maine” is a business competition that airs on News Center Maine (WCSH 6 in Portland and WLBZ 2 in Bangor). The student competition will air at 10 a.m. every Sunday in March. The series is produced by Portland Media Group, LLC in cooperation with the New England School of Communications. In the five seasons the series has aired, more than $11 million has been invested in companies that have appeared on the show, in addition to the $300,000 given out in prize money.