After preparing all summer, participants of Chattanooga’s business accelerator program Gig Tank pitched their business ideas to the community Tuesday.
Unlike last year, they weren’t competing for a monetary prize, but the event was still a platform of potential for the participants. The event allowed them to connect with people who can help them grow their businesses.
Last year’s largest prize of $100,000 went to Banyan, a cloud-based control system for collaborative research. The product aims to make it easier for researchers at universities nationwide to share information.
Banyan has since moved from Florida to Chattanooga and is working with venture investment incubator Lamp Post Group.
Before the pitches began, Toni Gemayel told the crowd that the size of his business team had doubled since last year and that there isn’t a better place to have his startup than Chattanooga.
When he and his team left last summer’s Gig Tank program and went back to Florida, it didn’t take long for them to decide to come back.
“I missed the entrepreneurial spirit of Chattanooga,” he said.
And Charlie Brock, CEO of Launch Tennessee, pointed to Gemayel as an example of how accelerators, such as Gig Tank, can literally change lives.
“Toni’s life is on a totally different trajectory than it was a year ago,” Brock said.
Also, before the pitches, Mayor Andy Berke told the crowd he was inspired by the event, which drew participants from around the world, including 14 different states.
And this year, there were four times more female participants than last year.
Berke also said that city leaders are working with business leaders to help spur innovation. He wants to make sure that business leaders have access to data, such as housing statistics, he said.
“The city can be innovative ourselves,” he said. “We are undergoing a true change to make sure we have open data in our government.”
Sisasa: Debbie Tien pitched for the business Sisasa, which aims to bridge the gap between young adults and small financial institutions, such as community banks.
Community banks need to engage young people as future customers, but young adults are often overwhelmed by their financial illiteracy, she said.
So her team developed a platform for banks to integrate into their existing online and mobile systems that will engage young adults. The platform is made to look like a social media site and uses gamification, such as earning points for engaging, to appeal to the younger demographic.
The company has partnered with TransCard for a pilot program and needs $500,000 of funding.
FwdHealth: Founder of FwdHealth Shayne Woods pitched the business, which aims to bridge the gap between lifestyle and clinical data.
The app analyzes and shares information gathered from wellness apps, such as a run tracker, with health care providers, employers and insurers. The idea is to help save on health costs for everyone.
There are incentives for users, and the platform allows the user to forward wellness accomplishments to employers or insurers for encouragement or rewards.
The team needs $400,000 to cover operations for 12 months to continue to develop the platform.
HutGrip: HutGrip is cloud-based software that monitors manufacturing processes, so leaders manage their processes and predict and prevent equipment failures.
HutGrip sensors collect and store data-temperature, humidity, speed, pressure, flow, vibration levels, energy consumption per machine and others.
The team is currently working with six businesses in five different industries, such as wine making and snack cake production, to perfect the product.
They need $500,000 and strategic partners in the manufacturing world.
Mira: Mira CEO Sunny Feng told the audience that this team’s product is helping shoppers and retailers by bringing content traditionally found online, such as detailed product information, recommendations and reviews, into the physical retail space.
The product helps consumers feel empowered and educated, and retailers benefit from higher foot traffic and browsing metrics that the system collects.
TidBit: TidBit is a mobile-based training platform that aims to help employers train staff in an easier and fun way.
Businesses lose money and progress when there is employee turnover, and employees traditionally don’t like training sessions, Samuel Bowen said.
Tidbit makes it easy for leaders to publish training content for employees, customers and partners via mobile devices.
The team needs $300,000 for product development and to solidify the distribution plan.
Sensevery: It isn’t like the products from the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercials, said Bentley Cook, who pitched for his team.
Sensevery is a wireless sensing device that caretakers can use to monitor an aging loved one’s daily activities, such as sleep, heart rate, body temperature and motion, and it notifies family and emergency responders in the event of a fall.
It works through a smart wristband that shares data with a device that’s connected to a cloud platform. Family members can see the information online.
WeCounsel: WeCounsel is an online network that will allow patients to connect with therapists via videoconference.
WeCounsel is HIPAA-compliant and uses the cloud to connect mental health providers with patients and colleagues online, which can make seeking treatment more convenient.
Users will be able to search for area therapists, and patients pay the mental health professional.
The team has 63 people preregistered and over the next two months will be conducing more than 200 sessions to get feedback about possible improvements.
The company is in negotiations with a local health care group and, pending the outcome of those negotiations, will be fully funded.
The team is still looking for industry contacts, though.
Disclaimer: Nooga.com is affiliated with the Lamp Post Group, but editorial decisions for this publication are made independently of the Lamp Post Group.