As previously reported, Chattanooga’s “Gig Tank” has seven start-ups that are accelerating the development of their companies this summer, and a number of specialists who provide expertise in areas like marketing, engineering and graphic arts.
During our recent visit to CO.LAB, we had an opportunity to talk with several of the specialists. They have varied educational backgrounds, come from other regions of this country as well as other nations, but share a common trait – enthusiasm for what they are doing.
Taylor Mergele is a “rising senior” at Vanderbilt University who calls Chicago home. She describes the role of a specialist as “being available for them (start-up entrepreneurs)” when needed. Her area of expertise is marketing.
Mergele and Zeeshan Khan had to travel the shortest distance to participate. Khan, who is from Atlanta, was somewhat familiar with “Gig Tank” when he signed-up. “I’ve known Sheldon (Grizzle) for a year or two,” he says in referring to the Co-Director of CO.LAB, the sponsoring organization. Zeeshan is an aspiring entrepreneur with his own company – Zoot Interactive.
Patrick Dunlop-Karagianis is a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The Chicago native worked for a biotechnology start-up last year. “I had never heard of Chattanooga before applying,” he said, but it was clear he was excited about his work during our conversation.
Soyoung Yoon is an electrical engineering major at Carnegie Mello University in Cleveland. The South Korea native says she learned about “Gig Tank” during a Career Fair and thought it would be a good experience.
Another Michigan student told us she goes by one name – Niyan. She comes from China and is a graphic arts major in the School of Information. “It’s a totally different experience from Ann Arbor,” she says.
The last of the specialists that we met that day is Parth Suthar, who hails from India. He’s probably the most seasoned of the group, working on his third start-up. Suthar learned about “Gig Tank” and signed-up to be a specialist as part of a strategy to relocate to the United States to launch his new company. It is focused on “making the life of seniors better,” he says.