Variable, Inc. Named Southland’s Most Innovative Startup

Monday, June 17, 2013

Variable, Inc., the Chattanooga-based creator of the NODE wireless sensor for iPhones, was named Most Innovative Startup Sunday at the first annual Southland conference here, winning a $10,000 award from presenting sponsor Nissan. A Launch Tennessee event, the Southland conference attracted a capacity crowd of more than 650 entrepreneurs and investors on June 12-13 to share ideas and opportunities.

Also awarded was Fuelzee, creator of an iPhone app that helps drivers find cheap gasoline and earn points for free merchandise at gas stations. The Orlando-based company won $5,000 and was named the top startup in Southland Village, the trade show portion of the conference. 

“Variable, Inc. most impressed the investors who heard pitches from some of the Southeast’s most innovative startups over the last two days, and Fuelzee was one of two companies that garnered the highest ratings from attendees at Southland Village,” said Launch Tennessee CEO Charlie Brock. “We hope the inaugural Southland conference was a success for all of the companies that attended as they got to network and hear from some of the most influential investors and tech thought leaders throughout the country.”

George Yu, CEO of Variable, Inc. and inventor of the NODE, said he got the idea for the device while creating a chemical gas sensor for NASA several years ago. He credits CO.LAB, Chattanooga’s startup accelerator, for helping him envision commercial applications for his invention. Today the iPhone-based sensor has apps that allow it to measure temperature, color, pressure, humidity and other variables. Eight apps are on the market today and Yu expects more to be developed by outside developers. He has received interest in NODE from Apple, Intel, Google and Nokia. 

Other finalists for Southland’s “Most Innovative Startup” were:

Yellow Jacket, a Baton Rouge, La., company that has created an iPhone case that contains a 650,000-volt stun gun. 

VIPAAR from Birmingham, Ala., which has created technology that allows experts to interactively guide or train others from thousands of miles away.

World Housing Solution from Orlando, Fla., which has developed modular housing that can be easily and economically set up and taken down. 

Launch Tennessee is a public-private partnership focused on supporting the development of high-growth companies in the state of Tennessee with the ultimate goal of fostering job creation and economic growth. It focuses on four key areas: entrepreneurship, commercialization, capital and outreach. Launch Tennessee is in part funded by a grant from the State of Tennessee. Find Launch Tennessee on Facebook (, Twitter (, YouTube ( and Flickr (

For more information on Southland, please visit

Couple Launches Hat Company; Gives Part Of Proceeds To Public Schools

Olivia Connor was a resident in the local Project Inspire teacher residency program when she realized the need for more funding for Chattanooga's public schools so that students have every possible opportunity to learn inside and outside the classroom. She and her husband Ty came up with a creative, innovative way to add more funding to the Hamilton County Department of ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Police Department Sponsors Crime Prevention Training For Business Owners And Managers

The Chattanooga Police Department is sponsoring free crime prevention training primarily designed for business owners and managers who are interested in making their facility and employees as safe as possible. A nationally-accredited Crime Prevention specialist from the University of Tennessee’s Law Enforcement Innovation Center will cover the following topics during the four-hour ... (click for more)

Signal Facing Decisions On Expanding Commercial Area Past Albert Road, Mountain Community Center And Water Service

The design review committee (DRC) of the town of Signal Mountain is in the process of establishing standards for commercial buildings. In the meantime, developer Bob Elliott would like to buy property at the corner of Taft Highway and Albert Road. Albert Road has traditionally been where the commercial property ends. A number of residents in the neighborhood around that area are ... (click for more)

Report Of Shots Fired At Hamilton Place Mall Sends Crowd Scrambling; No Victims Found

A report of shots fired at Hamilton Place Mall shortly after 6 p.m. on Saturday sent customers at the mall racing out in a panic. Police later said no shooting victims had been found. A call to 911 at 6:07 p.m. said there was an "active shooter." There was a call for EMS to the mall, then another call at 6:10 p.m. of an "active shooter." Those in the vicinity of the mall said ... (click for more)

Legislators: Protect Our Students And Teachers

When students step into their classrooms, they are there to learn and prepare for their future. Our teachers serve to advance each student’s education and guide them towards success.  Educators have an additional responsibility: maintaining the trust and respect of their students by conducting themselves professionally and responsibly. The vast majority of our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why CNN Is Gonna Croak

I believe CNN (Cable News Network) has become one of the most disappointing news sources America has ever known in the last five years. The bastions of sound journalism no longer exist as the once-great organization has gone the way of liberal loathing. Its new basis-of-fact cannot be trusted and the overwhelming bias against conservatives in our nation is as morbid as it is frightening. ... (click for more)