Maritime data firm that relocated to Chattanooga wins CHATech award

IMSA co-founders Frank Fenner and Corey Ranslem, from left, talk about their maritime data company, which won the CHATech Early Innovators Award.

Chattanooga is more than 400 miles from the nearest ocean, but the city's high-speed internet links, reliable power and low cost of living helped make it the choice of an emerging maritime business that relocated here last year.

International Maritime Security Associates, a software startup business developing a platform to provide real-time data for ships around the world, was launched in 2013 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., by veterans of the Coast Guard and Navy who saw a need for more integrated, immediate information for those operating on the high seas.

Without any recruitment by Chattanooga, IMSA CEO Corey Ranslem said his firm decided in the spring of 2016 that Chattanooga would be an ideal site for the data center and software operations of his global company. EPB offers 10-gigabit-per-second internet links - the fastest citywide internet service in the Western Hemisphere - and power, real estate and living costs were much lower.