Startup innovators and specialists from across the U.S. will soon convene in Chattanooga to launch 12 next-generation companies. As the newest members of GIGTANK, these emerging entrepreneurs will spend 10-12 weeks preparing startups for the 3D printing/additive manufacturing, smart grid and healthcare markets.
Hosted by The Company Lab, GIGTANK is an annual startup accelerator that connects seed stage businesses with the tools, capital and connections needed to go to market. As the first and only startup accelerator wired to a metro gigabit network, GIGTANK attracts world-class talent to Chattanooga each summer, as well as ongoing recognition from tech circles across the globe, company officials stated.
This year, the accelerator will accommodate 12 startup teams and 10 specialists throughout the duration of the program, which begins May 12 and ends July 31. Key participation benefits include $15,000 in initial seed funding for startup teams, a $3,000 stipend for specialists, free workspace and free housing from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
“The interest GIGTANK has received from startups across the country has been amazing,” said Mike Bradshaw, director of GIGTANK and executive director of CO.LAB. “The reputation the program earned in its first two years brought us dozens of very highly-qualified applicants.”
Participants for the 2014 program come from a diverse array of geographies, backgrounds and skill sets. Among them, some are based as far away as San Diego and Los Angeles, while others are located in nearby cities such as Atlanta, Huntsville and Asheville.
“We were very excited to see so many innovative, qualified teams from the Southeast apply to GIGTANK,” said Mr. Bradshaw. “Building a regional focus with neighboring startup communities is a priority we all share, and we already see that value at work in our 2014 cohort.”
To support GIGTANK 2014’s three startup tracks, EPB and ProjectLift are partnering with CO.LAB to facilitate the program. EPB is assisting with the Smart Grid vertical, and ProjectLift is leading the Healthcare track. CO.LAB will oversee the 3D Printing/Additive Manufacturing vertical and provide general programming.
“One of our goals this year is to connect our region’s legacy as a manufacturing hub with its future-forward position as the nation’s first Gig City,” explained Mr. Bradshaw. “Gigabit networks like ours will play a central role in connecting the manufacturing supply chains of the near future. Along with our healthcare and smart grid teams, GIGTANK 2014 combines our region’s traditional strengths with our culture of innovation.”
National partners and supporters of GIGTANK 2014 include Alcatel-Lucent’s ngConnect program, US Ignite, Mozilla and Verizon Wireless, among others. To view a full listing of local and regional partners, go to http://www.thegigcity.com/gigtank/partners/. Visit www.thegigtank.com to learn more about GIGTANK 2014.