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Fairfield Businesses Reach Innovation, Investment Intersection At Summit

Cheryl Thomae Viirand is the Founder, CEO and Executive Editor of Freedible, Inc., which is based in Darien. She attended the Connecticut Innovation Summit Tuesday in Hartford. Photo Credit: Tom Renner
William Steele is Chairman And CEO of KenCast, which is based in Norwalk. Photo Credit: Tom Renner
Michael Kauffman, left, and Mike Patterson, of Stamford-based MoVi Interactive attended the summit Tuesday in Hartford. Photo Credit: Tom Renner

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The Connecticut roads of innovation and investment came to a crossroads Tuesday at the Connecticut Innovation Center in Hartford, where companies from Fairfield County were among those showcasing their businesses at the Connecticut Innovation Summit.

Companies from Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Norwalk, Westport, Trumbull, Shelton, Monroe, Wilton, Ridgefield and Bethel were among the 131 companies at the event. Companies with potential investors, shared information, collected networking contacts and attended workshops as part of the all-day event.

“I wanted to learn about about Connecticut resources and connect potential investors,’’ said Cheryl Thomae Viirand, Founder, CEO and Executive Editor of Darien-based Freedible.com ,. She is a self-described "Mom on a Mission," determined to make it easier for the millions of people with food allergies, intolerances and other restrictions to make – or find – the dinner that’s freely edible for them. “It’s time build relationships, especially with technology, that can help our company grow.”

Business of various sizes and a wide range of fields made pitches to investors at the conference. Freedible, a 3-year-old business, came to Darien in 2014. Norwalk-based KenCast, a 22-year-old high-tech security company, is seeking financing to build its business internationally. MoVi Interactive , based in Stamford, is a three-year-old company that creates unique applications that leverage data captured by physical sensors, such as a Fitbit.

“I’m a big advocate innovation in the state,’’ said Michael Kauffman, the company’s CEO. “It’s not an easy process. We’d like to keep more businesses in the states. It’s interesting to see what’s happening with other companies.”

William Steele, the Chairman and CEO of KenCast, wants to help establish his technology in the entertainment and media industries in South America. Among its clients are major television networks and filmmakers, such as SONY. KenCast technology is also used in military, homeland security, public safety, and banking and finance, where flawless delivery is essential to business success.

“The film industry would like us to go worldwide and we want to start with a roll out in Mexico,’’ Steele said. “We were able to get started with family money. For us to move to the next stage we’re going to need help from the equity markets.”

Christian Morris, the Executive Vice President for Fairfield-based Cometa Works, was not seeking to impress investors. The company mentors early-stage start-ups, and delivers programmers, designers and entrepreneurs to work on the back end of business websites. He’s also a Managing Principal at SmartPath Labs of Westport, which he helped start.

“I love to see the growth in the Connecticut technology world,’’ Morris said. “I’ve been in their shoes. I know the hardships and the challenges that they are facing. It’s great to see the vitalization around here and see all the innovation that is taking place in the state.”

The annual event is presented by the Connecticut Technology Council, the Angel Investor Forum, BEACON, Connecticut Innovations, Crossroads Venture Group, and CURE. Click here for more information on the Innovation Summit.

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