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January 22, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Chattanooga’s CO.LAB making smart mobility a major priority

The new accelerator program will launch this spring.

Chattanooga’s CO.LAB has announced a new initiative and start-up accelerator that encompasses the future-forward movement of people, goods, energy, and data.

During a presentation last Thursday to the Chattanooga Rotary Club, Tasia Malakasis, CO.LAB’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), outlined the new programmatic focus on the sustainable mobility sector. It will officially kick-off in May with a community-wide start-up event featuring a special guest. More details will be available in the coming months.

“With our new sustainable mobility program, CO.LAB and Chattanooga will once again be front and center supporting start-ups who are building the innovative companies of tomorrow,” says Charlie Brock, Chairman of CO.LAB’s Board of Directors. “Our accelerator participants will have access to multiple technology platforms along with capital, mentorship, talent, and pilot customers.”

In its announcement, CO.LAB noted that Chattanooga has critical has testbeds that will be leveraged. They include cutting-edge research teams dedicated to exploring clean, sustainable energy sources, Quantum networking, freight technology, smart traffic solutions, and electric and autonomous vehicles.

The sustainability mobility focus is intended to not only reflect Chattanooga’s spirit of innovation, but also draw on the emergence of the city as an innovation hub for logistics-related start-ups and the international recognition that is coming as a result of the work of the work by the Center for Urban Informatics and Progress (CUIP) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC).

The new initiative includes a number of partners including Launch Tennessee, FreightWaves, US Express, EPB, Brickyard, VentureSouth, Chattanooga Smart City Collaborative, and UTC’s CUIP.

“I’m very excited that Tasia and the team are focusing on a sector of great promise and opportunity for our city,” says Craig Fuller, CEO of FreightWaves. His excitement was underscored by Mina Sartipi, founding Director of CUIP. “Leveraging our growing and dynamic testbeds with the support of numerous community partners, CO.LAB’s new programmatic focus will help fast-track Chattanooga’s place as the hub for mobility electrification, connectivity, and automation,” she said.

“We are actively recruiting start-ups, mentors, and industry partners who are engaged in the mobility revolution,” Malakasis said, adding, “If you want to work with us on this, please reach out. We are open to exploring potential partnerships and opportunities to collaborate together.”

She added that CO.LAB will continue to support entrepreneurs with access to capital, programming, talent, connections, and voice while also bolstering businesses in search of Chattanooga’s competitive advantage. Look for an upcoming article in where Malakasis provides an overview of CO.LAB’s plans for 2023.

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