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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, March 4, 2016

GIGTANK relaunches as year-round startup accelerator




Robbie Hillis, founder of The Ark Labs, pitching at GIGTANK Demo Day 2015. - (Photo provided)

GIGTANK, a local startup accelerator and annual production of The Company Lab (CO.LAB), is relaunching as a year-round program May 16.

The accelerator, which supports entrepreneurs developing applications and business models that leverage gigabit networks, will now go by GIGTANK 365 and add focus areas in 3D printing, software defined networking (SDN), and healthcare.

In conjunction with this development, municipal power distributor EPB will provide 10 gigabit-per-second Internet service to The Company Lab (CO.LAB) at its new location in the Edney Innovation Center, where GIGTANK 365 will take place.

“Chattanooga’s advanced broadband infrastructure presents enormous opportunities for entrepreneurial innovation,” said Mike Bradshaw, executive director of CO.LAB and entrepreneur-in-residence for GIGTANK 365. “Right now, GIGTANK is one of the only accelerators in the U.S. where startups can realistically develop and test applications that leverage gigabit networks. We don’t want to confine those opportunities to just one season a year. GIGTANK 365 will position our startups and our city to make the most of our unique infrastructure while better preparing entrepreneurs for the new markets these networks enable.”

GIGTANK began in 2012 as part think tank, part startup accelerator. Launched in partnership with Lamp Post Group, the program challenged innovators in entrepreneurship and academia to answer one question: “If you had the world’s fastest Internet, what would you do with it?” Now a production of CO.LAB, GIGTANK regularly attracts entrepreneurs from across the world to Chattanooga to explore new ideas and business models that leverage ultra high speed, low latency networks. The program was previously held each summer from May through early August.

CO.LAB will prototype GIGTANK 365 in conjunction with its Spring Accelerator, which will take place Feb. 22–May 31. Applications for the summer 2016 cycle of GIGTANK 365 are due March 31. Qualified candidates for GIGTANK 365 may include those utilizing tools such as big data analytics, streaming and 4K video, sensor networks, connected devices, artificial intelligence, and machine-to-machine communication, as well as other advanced technologies.

Preference will be given to seed-stage startups working in 3D printing, SDN, and healthcare. These three industry verticals draw on Chattanooga’s strengths as a manufacturing hub, a nexus of several major healthcare networks, and the home of one of the nation’s most advanced broadband networks.

With the official launch of GIGTANK 365 in May, the program will run concurrently with the CO.LAB Accelerator in three cycles occurring in the spring, summer and fall of each year. Both accelerator programs will leverage the organization’s partner and mentor networks. This structure will also allow startups working in each program to collaborate with one another by sharing industry contacts and company-specific capabilities when appropriate.

“This is a major change in the structure of both GIGTANK and the CO.LAB Accelerator,” said Bradshaw. “We’re accepting applications for both programs now, including our GIGTANK 365 prototype this spring and the one that will begin in May. We’ve identified a number of homegrown startups that are working on gigabit-oriented business models already, which is why we’re making GIGTANK 365 resources available to them this spring.”

Housing for the summer cycle of GIGTANK 365 will be provided May 25–July 31, courtesy of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. To learn more about GIGTANK 365, visit www.thegigtank.com.

Source: The Company Lab