GigTank Winner Sets Up Headquarters In Chattanooga

Thursday, January 3, 2013

CO.LAB on Thursday announced that Banyan, winner of the 2012 GigTank competition, has secured its first round of funding from the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, as well as Chattanooga and Silicon Valley angel investors.

Banyan CEO Toni Gemayel said the company will move its Florida headquarters to downtown Chattanooga in the coming weeks.

“Chattanooga’s robust startup culture and supportive investment community have played an integral role in Banyan’s early success,” Mr. Gemayel said. “We’re excited to establish our headquarters here, and we’re confident that the city will act as a catalyst for Banyan as we take the company to a new level.”

Banyan is a cloud-based version control system that caters to the research industry, where the U.S. spent $67 billion in 2011. With a modern user interface and integrated productivity tools, Banyan facilitates information sharing between researchers and eliminates the need for countless iterations of a project.

“Last year, 1.5 million research papers were published in the U.S., with an average of 10 collaborators per project. Those researchers need more efficient means of exchanging data,” Mr.Gemayel said. “Our partnership with the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund and other valuable investors will allow us to fill the void we’ve identified in the massive research industry.”

Banyan’s first round of funding comes on the heels of the 2012 GigTank, a summer-long startup accelerator and competition co-hosted by CO.LAB and Lamp Post Group. The company was awarded GigTank’s top $100,000 prize.

Banyan’s GigTank success drew the attention of multiple investors, including the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund. Founded by a group of local business leaders, the Chattanooga Renaissance Fund is a formalized angel capital fund that focuses on the city’s entrepreneurship and economic growth.

CRF has raised more than $3 million from dozens of Chattanooga area investors as well as six general partners, who manage the investments and oversee the vetting process.

“CRF is pleased to contribute to Banyan’s growth, and we look forward to a long and successful relationship with the company’s management team,” said David Belitz, a general partner of the fund. “This investment will help Banyan build a solid foundation, and on a larger scale, will further CRF’s mission to foster Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial culture.” 

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