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July 26, 2015 | Tom Ballard

Engajer relocates from Silicon Valley for “GIGTANK”

GIGTANK Demo Day(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last of three articles spotlighting start-ups participating in this year’s “GIGTANK” accelerator that will be showcased at “Demo Day” on Tuesday (July 28). Each has a tie in one way or another to Knoxville as well as Chattanooga. This one also has an extra dimension with Teknovation being mentioned in an article that published over the weekend in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.)

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.

Engajer is not a start-up in the traditional sense, but the company’s Founder and Chief Executive Officer still believed there was value in participating in this year’s “GIGTANK” accelerator.

“We are doing very high bandwidth intensive work,” Michael Castellano told us recently. “This is a good place to show-off the strength of our platform.”

It also helped that the resident of Silicon Valley knew Alex Lavidge, this year’s “GIGTANK” Director. The latter is a Knoxville native and well-known catalytic player in the city’s local entrepreneurial space, perhaps best known for his Knoxville Overground initiative.

“When I was just starting-up engajer, he was a fan of it,” Castellano said. “A lot of finding out about ‘GIGTANK’ was from Alex.”

Castellano has relocated, at least for now, from the Bay Area to Chattanooga for the “GIGTANK” program. With “Demo Day” coming tomorrow, he is clearly pleased with what has transpired.

“It is pretty much as great as we hoped it would be,” Castellano says, citing networking opportunities and the specialists that are provided.

“They have given us a much larger team that we could have afforded,” he says of the individuals in marketing, finance and other areas.

Castellano is a South Florida native who has spent the last decade in the Silicon Valley. A Cum Laude graduate of Santa Clara University, Castellano is on his third start-up, all with a tie to video. The first was Millennial College Television, followed by Millennial Productions before engajer was launched in January 2010.

“We did a classic Silicon Valley pivot in 2012,” Castellano says of the firm.

Like so many companies today, analytics is a key underlying component.

To help us understand engajer’s product, Castellano used an imaginary political candidate as a client. The individual identifies an overall topic with a number of subtopics that are directly related or that add further information on some aspect of the main item. Video clips with the candidate’s position or explanation are recorded for the main topic and each subtopic.

Next, through social media, email and other means, the candidate distributes the main message to a target audience. Those who receive it view the introduction to the topic and can elect which additional videos about the subject they want to see and hear, based on their own preferences.

Constantly running in the background is a robust analytics platform that provides feedback to the candidate on which messages are being viewed the most as well as a rank ordering of individuals to further target.

The political segment is just one of a number of areas where engajer is being used. Others include sales, marketing, training, technical support, and donor cultivation for non-profits. In fact, one of engajer’s clients is a well-known national brand that gets a million service calls a month.

“We warm-up the cold call,” Castellano explains.

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