(EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is the first in a seven-part series focused on the current cohort in the “GIGTANK 365” accelerator in Chattanooga. Today’s article features an interview with Mike Bradshaw, Executive Director of CO.LAB, the sponsor and coordinator. The remaining articles profile six of the participating teams.)
By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA
In a little over a week, most of the teams in the summer cohort for Chattanooga’s “GIGTANK 365” program will take center stage to pitch their companies to a group of investors and community leaders.
The event is set for 5:30 to 8 p.m. July 27 on the fifth floor of the city’s Edney Innovation Center, 1100 Market Street. To register, click here.
In advance of the celebration, we were in Chattanooga recently to meet with a half-dozen of the entrepreneurially-driven teams and the always upbeat Mike Bradshaw, Executive Director of CO.LAB and “GIGTANK 365’s” ringmaster.
“Two of our 14 teams are not seeking investment at this time and another is continuing on for the fall cohort,” he told us. The result is 11 teams that will be presenting a variety of ideas across the program’s core areas of emphasis – 3D printing and additive manufacturing, healthcare, software defined networking, and general gigabit business.
“Those 11 are really fascinating to me,” Bradshaw told us, citing one key metric – many come from the local area or nearby communities compared to the early years of the program when the majority came from other states.
An example is Graham Bredemeyer, a resident of Ft. Wayne, IN until two years ago when Bradshaw recruited him to Chattanooga to serve as CO.LAB’s Technologist-in-Residence. In addition to that role, he also became engaged in other activities in the community such as running two maker faires.
“He’s brilliant,” Bradshaw says of Bredemeyer who founded and is growing a start-up named Collider. “He had a radical idea on how to increase 3D printing speeds. It’s a revolutionary take of 3D printing.”
“Chris was already a leader in the local start-up scene,” Bradshaw noted. “It was great that he saw the value of CO.LAB’s collaborative approach. He’s good for our program, and I think we’re good for his company.”
CO.LAB’s Executive Director also cited two other local participants – TelemeterEd and One-to-One Telehealth – which have garnered substantial support through community partnerships. The former is creating a model for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) using high-speed broadband technologies, while the latter connects patients and providers instantaneously through high-speed networks.
Bradshaw noted that the Hamilton County Schools, Mozilla Foundation and The Enterprise Center have greatly supported TelemeterEd, while EPB has done the same for One-to-One whose corporate sponsor and medical provider is Chattanooga’s One-to-One Personal Physician Network.
“Both are early-days demonstration of the coming power of ultra-high speed, low-latency networks,” he added.
Other participants we will be profiling in the days ahead include:
- injii, a start-up whose founder recently relocated from New Jersey to found the company that exclusively showcases talented artists to help promote their content, while innovatively raising awareness and funding for great charitable causes.
- Fetch, a Birmingham-based, non-traditional human resources company that Bradshaw says is “making real progress in making a marriage between employer needs on one side and skills development on the other.”
- iPrint3D, a spinout from an existing Chattanooga company that is focused on enhancing the efficiency of orthodontists and the satisfaction of their patients through the use of 3D printing.
- Mixtroz, a Franklin-based start-up utilizing the power of customized algorithms to enable individuals to connect with, build and sustain more powerful social networks.
- Xcellent Life, founded by a Lexington, TN resident as a personal cause and focused on using artificial intelligence to transform healthcare while improving the lives of individuals.
To register for the pitch event, click here.