Banyan was awarded the top $100,000 prize on Thursday at GigTank Demo Day for the groundbreaking version control system that they presented to a panel of judges and 500-plus audience. The event marked the finale of the 14-week GigTank accelerator program, co-hosted by CO.LAB and Lamp Post Group in partnership with the Chattanooga Chamber and EPB, which built and manages America's largest 1 gigabit per second Internet in Chattanooga.
Banyan (http://getbanyan.co/) provides solutions to the logistical and authorship challenges faced by researchers. With a modern user interface and integrated productivity tools, Banyan facilitates collaboration and information sharing in the research industry, where the U.S. spent $67 billion in 2011. A $50,000 prize also was awarded to Babel Sushi (http://babelsushi.net/) of the GigTank student track for the first crowd-sourcing language app that enables translated conversations in near real time. Also, entrepreneur team Iron Gaming (http://theirongamer.com/) took home the $10,000 Warner Brothers Digital Media Award for their social gaming model, which will create a new gaming experience through live competitive events and interactive streaming content.
Banyan (http://getbanyan.co/) and Iron Gaming competed with six other entrepreneur teams, whose investable businesses ranged from advances in big data to health care innovations, from public safety developments to enhanced digital media:
• Ariagora (http://ariagora.com/) helps independent musicians connect directly with fans in new and profitable ways.
• Corpora (http://corpora.io/) is a real-time intelligent agent that uses Twitter status updates and other public data to model the health of individuals by geography, providing insights into the spread of illness and quantifying the impact of previously elusive factors on public health.
• HD Fantasy Sports is building the next-generation fantasy football game. Their elusive, live HD video technology will personalize, socialize and enhance users' experience like no one has ever seen.
• Silver Communities (http://argentab.com/) Argentab provides elder care facilities with tools for accurate recordkeeping and on-the-job training.
• Tikk.it (http://tikk.it/) is a digital ticketing platform that enables bands and musicians to sell tickets directly to fans through a website plug-in, cutting back on fees and strengthening the connection between fans and artists.
• Vigia (http://vigia.cc/) produces video-focused mobile apps for public safety professionals and dispatchers, enhancing the benefits of emergency services for the public.
The eight teams and eleven students pitched to a 12-judge panel that included representatives from IBM, Cisco, Alcatel-Lucent, Mozilla, US Ignite, IDEO and the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. Held at the Read House in downtown Chattanooga, the invite-only event drew investors and media from across the country.
Demo Day featured a keynote speech from Reggie Bradford, founder and CEO of Vitrue. Michael Burcham, president and CEO of the Entrepreneur Center in Nashville, also spoke at the event, detailing the progress made by Startup TN.
"We're proud of Banyan's big win today, and believe that they're positioned to shape the future of collaborative research. But each of these teams has the potential to transform the industries they're working in," said Charlie Brock, executive entrepreneur at CO.LAB. "The teams have left an impressive stamp on Chattanooga's thriving entrepreneurial culture, and now they're ready to take what they've built here this summer and make great things happen."
"The progress made this summer is proof that Chattanooga truly is fertile ground for ideas, businesses and smart minds who want to change the world," said Jack Studer, partner at Lamp Post Group. "We look forward to being part of what happens next here in the Gig City."