Calling All Geeks: Chattanooga wants you

Authored By Chloé Morrison

Calling all geeks or friends of geeks-Chattanooga wants you.

“If you’re the first person to tag a genius student or budding entrepreneur who applies and is chosen for the Gig Tank, we’ll pay you a $1,000 finder’s fee,” Jack Studer, with Lamp Post Group, a private venture incubator, said. “We want to find the smartest and brightest tech geeks, so we’re going straight to social media to hunt them down.”


Annenberg Innovation Lab
Chambliss, Bahner, & Stophel, P.C.
Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce
Chattanooga Renaissance Fund
Chattanooga State Community College
Chattanooga Technology Council
The Company Lab
The Enterprise Center
Electric Power Board
City of Chattanooga
Lamp Post Group
Lyndhurst Foundation
Miler & Martin PLLC
National Science Foundation
River City Company
Startup Tennessee
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Business leaders with Chattanooga companies and organizations have dubbed Chattanooga “Gig City” and have created the Gig Prize competition, the winner of which will receive a $100,000 cash prize to start the business in Chattanooga. The winner of the student competition receives a $50,000 cash prize.

The effort is a public-private partnership that aims to create jobs, capitalize on Chattanooga’s 100 percent fiber optic network, spur innovative ideas and then implement those ideas in the Chattanooga market.

Chattanooga fiber optic network can deliver up to 1 gigabit-per-second speeds to more than 150,000 homes and businesses in a 600 square mile area-and local leaders want to figure out how to harness that technology.

The idea started taking shape after leaders of business incubator Lamp Post Group announced a summer 2012 program for college students.

That program, called Gig Tank, aims to bring the brightest college students from around the country to Chattanooga to help answer the question, “What could you do with the world’s fastest Internet?”

The student who comes up with the best idea about how to utilize the country’s first and only 1-gigabit-per-second Internet network will win a cash prize.

Out of that initiative grew the larger idea of Gig City and Gig Prize.

Now, leaders are asking for help finding geeks to create ideas.

The smartest gigabit applications and businesses that come out of the Gig Tank will compete for the Gig Prizes, with up to $300,000 in cash and seed capital at stake.

Last month, Alcatel-Lucent helped launch the prize program by investing $100,000 to a growing purse supported by more than 20 local, state and national organizations.

The news of the project spread quickly this week across the nation, with outlets from Forbes to reporting about the Geek Hunt.

J.Ed. Marston, vice president of marketing and communications with the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, said Gig Tank is different than other business plan competitions because it will generate next-generation Internet applications and business ventures.

“Participants in the Gig Tank will have access to the only large-scale gigabit network in America as well as a full range of support from local business acceleration and incubation resources,” he said. “Gig Tank students and entrepreneurs will have a tremendous head start because their ventures will be up and running as other communities bring gigabit networks online in coming years.”

Disclosure: is affiliated with the Lamp Post Group. Editorial decisions for are made independently from the Lamp Post Group.