GIGTANK 2013, a Chattanooga-based summer-long accelerator hosted by the Company Lab, kicked off Monday morning. For the next three months, GIGTANK’s startups and specialists will build and test their applications while taking advantage of Chattanooga’s one-gigabit-per-second Internet speeds.
GIGTANK, the world’s only accelerator focused on gigabit fiber networks, connects entrepreneurs with the tools, capital and contacts needed to go to market. The program culminates with Demo Day on Aug. 6 in Chattanooga, when participants will pitch their startups to hundreds of investors, potential corporate partners and members of the press.
“We have extremely talented and creative people coming to Chattanooga from France, China, Bulgaria, India and all over the U.S.,” said GIGTANK Director Sheldon Grizzle. “The industries represented are as diverse as the participants and include health care, manufacturing, finance and retail technology. Our participants realize that Chattanooga’s fiber infrastructure is one of the most advanced in the world and they are eager to test their applications here.”
Entrepreneur Bogdana Rakova and her team have joined GIGTANK from Bulgaria to take advantage of the program’s resources and Chattanooga’s superior Internet connectivity. Their startup, HutGrip, aims to enhance product feedback and automation in manufacturing processes for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies.
“We’re really excited to be here,” said Rakova, HutGrip’s chief technology officer. “Through GIGTANK, we’ll have the opportunity to get out in the field, work directly with potential clients and truly understand the problems that they face.”
In addition to the startups, 13 specialists have been selected to participate from colleges and universities across the country, including University of Chicago, Vanderbilt University, Duke University, University of Michigan and Dartmouth College.
This year, GIGTANK has partnered closely with ng Connect, a program launched by Alcatel Lucent that facilitates the collaboration of over 200 companies to create new products for high-speed networks. As a GIGTANK partner, ng Connect provides the startups and specialists with access to next-generation tools and concepts.
GIGTANK also features partners and mentors from other prominent companies and organizations around the globe, including Alcatel Lucent, Cisco, Mozilla, Xerox, Warner Brothers, US Ignite, National Science Foundation, EPB, LampPost Group, Chambliss Bahner and Stophel, University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, Solidus, Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce, Benwood Foundation, Lyndhurst Foundation and more.