On demand app gives local musicians "air" time for music, talk

Dave Castaneda with undaground pitches his company at the Will This Float? event held at the Revelry Room on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Ten finalists pitched business plans in the contest, and the selected winners were the company undaground in the best overall category, Southside Strings in best music & entertainment, and the CPR Lifewrap in best general business.

Will This Float Winners

Best music/entertainment idea: Southside Strings Best general business idea: CPR Lifewrap Best overall idea: undaground

Musicians, DJs, promoters, journalists, businesses and more are game to host a show through undaground, the overall winner of this year's "Will This Float?" competition.

There will be one catch though: All those folks have to be local.

"It's pretty much 100 percent community powered," Dave Castaneda said Thursday night as he presented his concept to judges and a full house at Revelry Room in the Chattanooga Choo Choo during the annual business competition organized by The Company Lab and supported by a variety of local businesses and foundations.

Undaground plans to offer live streaming music, talk and news that listeners can access from a browser or app. The shows will be live and on-demand.

"By giving the music community a voice we are doing what local FM Radio can't at a speed that can't be matched," says the fledgling company's website, undaground.co, which launched Thursday night.

Meanwhile, listeners will be able to follow musicians and get updates on their performances. They also will be able to track songs in order to explore the local music scene.

Castaneda plans to raise just $2,500 through Kickstarter to build out his product. He hopes to launch in Chattanooga next year.

This year's competition among local entrepreneurs highlighted music and entertainment business ideas. Co.Lab officials chose to highlight music startups to help boost Chattanooga's growing music scene and capitalize on Tennessee's music-based tourism appeal and global brand.

Although music has arguably gotten less attention in Chattanooga than its outdoors scene, community leaders said both are critical to helping the city grow as a compelling destination.

The competition yielded two other winners. Southside Strings won the music/entertainment category in a field of six, and CPR Lifewrap won the general business category in a field of four.

Southside Strings is looking to create string instruments in modern ways, using CNC woodworking technology. Among other benefits, this would allow for less traditional types of wood to be used, said the company's founder, David Dunn.

CPR Lifewrap is a simple tool to help people administer CPR. A small plastic apron that comes in three sizes and folds easily, the product includes clear instructions and hand placement.

"You don't have to know how to do CPR," founder Felicia Jackson told judges. "It tells you what to do."

The winners will each get 10 hours of legal services from Chambliss Startup Group and 10 hours of accounting services from Henderson Hutcherson & McCullough. As the overall winner, undaground got $1,000 and a $500 voucher from Forum Sherpas. Southside Strings and CPR Lifewrap each got $250. In addition, undaground and Southside Strings will get connected with music industry experts that local nonprofit startup SoundCorps features at its quarterly professional development events.

About 40 applications came in for this year's competition, the sixth hosted by The Company Lab.

"For most of them, it's the first time they've been in front of anybody talking systematically about their idea," said Mike Bradshaw, Co.Lab's executive director.

The experience and benefits have paid off for many past winners and finalists. Will This Float? offered a stage for several successful Chattanooga startups to take take off, including Granola, RootsRated, SupplyHog and Variable.

Contact Mitra Malek at mmalek@timesfree press.com. Follow her on Twitter @MitraMalek.