published Thursday, May 15th, 2014

GigTank 2014 kicks off as teams meet mentors

GigTank 2014 Teams

* Feetz - creates hypercustom-fit footwear for consumers using patented algorithms, photos and 3D printing

* Lathon Technologies - manufactures affordable, dual material desktop 3D printers

* SeamBot - uses automation technology to speed up manufacturing of clothes and textiles

* The Fab Cloud - online network that connects partners and customers in the additive manufacturing industry

* TrakTek 3D - mobile manufacturer that uses 3D printing to create parts on-demand and on-site

* 3DOps - 3D printer provides medical models to allow surgeons to plan procedures before operating on patients

* Nestegg Bio - 3D printer that creates non-toxic scaffolding that can make it cheaper for companies to bring drugs to market

* KORHealth - cloud-based network to educate consumers about healthy choices and care

* MHA - big data network designed to help patients manage conditions like PTSD or Alzheimer's

* eFit2Play - interactive, social platform that measures milestones and wellness outcomes for families and health care providers

* GridCure - smart grid software analytics provider focused on security and operation management, allows companies to harness the data grids generate

Source: Co.Lab

GigTank history

2012: 72 applicants, 8 teams

2013: 30 applicants, 7 teams

2014: 65 applicants, 11 teams

Source: Co.Lab

A rainy reception kicked off Chattanooga's GigTank on Wednesday, the beginning of a chance for 11 entrepreneurs to create new companies during an intensive 12-week business boot camp.

As many as 65 young companies applied for the chance to receive $15,000 in seed money, free housing and free work space during the summer, with the possibility of earning an investment if their startup turns from a promising idea into a viable business.

"We recruited the teams with a very specific goal," said Mike Bradshaw, executive director of the CoLab, which runs the event. "We're going to build on the platform that's been created in the first two years of GigTank, but connected with some of the core competencies in Chattanooga, such as 3D printing."

3D printing, or additive manufacturing, builds on Chattanooga's past as a center for industrial development, while taking advantage of future technologies like the city's ubiquitous gigabit Internet speeds. Teams will also work to use 3D manufacturing and gigabit speeds in the health care field, as well as work to turn the data gathered from EPB's smart grid into a useful resource.

"We said, "OK, Chattanooga has got a gigabit network, and if they connect the additive manufacturing network to the gig, you have a micro manufacturing future, a bunch of machines running cottage industry style,'" Bradshaw said.

The goal isn't just to have receptions and develop Chattanooga's infrastructure, but to keep the teams here as they transform into successful companies, creating jobs and furthering the Scenic City's goal to be an entrepreneurial paradise. A handful of businesses have already moved here, either as part of the GigTank or in preparation for it.

"That's happening already," he said. "It's the truth."

about Ellis Smith...

Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...

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