And the gig prizes go to …

Authored By Chloé Morrison


After months of preparation and a day of pitches, judges announced the winners of the Gig Tank competition. 

The biggest prize of $100,000 went to the entrepreneur team Banyan, a cloud-based control system for collaborative research. The product aims to make it easier for researchers at universities nationwide to share information. 

Creators Toni Gamayel, Travis Staton and TJ Weigel are from Florida and stopped in Chattanooga on a road trip. They Googled Chattanooga and found out about the Gig Tank, and they applied the next day. 

Babel Sushi, a real-time, free translation app, earned the $50,000 student prize. 

Nicole Newman, Dartmouth College, and Cintia Kotsubo, who attends a school in Brazil but is doing an exchange program at Tennessee Tech University, were the only females to pitch Thursday. During their presentation, they had technical difficulties. 

In front of nearly 500 people, Kotsubo and Newman overcame the technical problems, made the crowd laugh and earned the judges’ respect. 

Michael Burcham, president of Startup Tennessee, said that is what entrepreneurship is all about and that he would “back them any day.” 

Kotsubo said she didn’t expect to win, and the women got a standing ovation from the crowd when they won. 

The only Chattanooga team, Iron Gamer, won the $10,000 digital media award. 

Iron Gamer is building a new social gaming experience through live competitive events and interactive streaming content.

Aaron Welch and Darwyn Siplin of Iron Gamer are bringing their business to downtown Chattanooga by participating in Project: PopUp. 

Gig Tank is a competition that brought college students and entrepreneurs to Chattanooga to create businesses and find applications for the city’s high-speed Internet.

The worldwide search for the college students was dubbed the Geek Hunt.

After the hunt, the geeks joined the entrepreneurs in the competition.

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