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7 startups show how the entrepreneurial spirit drives innovation

Peter Fretty | Sept. 12, 2013
GigTank, an entrepreneur accelerator event, paired seven startups with mentors, business leaders and others able to help people with big ideas start to bring them to market. Everyone gathered in Chattanooga, Tenn., where citywide 1 gbps is part of the initiative to turn 'Gig City' into an innovation hub.

Although most game-changing technologies ultimately reach their target market through well-established organizations, many innovations come from entrepreneurs. Ultimately, success for tech startups often rests with the entrepreneur's ability to recognize an industry issue and build a differentiated product or service in a timely manner. However, achieving this level of success means assembling numerous building blocks that typically extend beyond the talents of the entrepreneur.

This summer, seven teams moved to Chattanooga, Tenn. to participate in GigTank, a tech entrepreneurial accelerator event hosted by The Company Lab. Why Chattanooga? The city has installed 1 gbps Internet on its entire grid and now invites entrepreneurs, developers and students to help turn " Gig City" into an innovation hub.

Teams live and breathe all aspects of their new product in a 14-week span while gaining access to specialists and mentors willing to help them put those blocks together. Here's an introduction the seven start-ups that participated in this year's GigTank and a brief look at what's next for each firm.

HutGrip: Real-Time Data for Manufacturing
HutGrip is a specialized data processing application designed to gather and analyze data that helps prevent costly damage to or failure of off-the-shelf sensors, especially in highly automated environments such as manufacturing facilities.

"We calculate what can happen so we can give early notifications via text message," CEO Ivan Dragoev says. "We focus on giving suggestions ... and probable solutions to problems in real-time."

As a SaaS offering, HutGrip's main goal is providing reliable service. "We are focused on building our platform on several small but highly specialized modules - for storing data, for analyzing data, for notifications," Dragoev says. "Each module could work on its own virtual instance, which gives us the flexibility to run more instances of each module, when needed, as long as needed."

Given the nature of the data being collected, HutGrip is working to deploy new software versions without interrupting the normal work of the platform. The aim is to host on at least two data centers, complete with data replication, and "an automatic way to switch if the main data center is out," Dragoev says. "Platform reliability, scalability, uninterrupted deployment of new versions and platform mirroring are all crucial components to success."

HutGrip's goal is to hasten manufacturing's adoption of technology and "do for manufacturers what Apple did in the consumer market," Dragoev says. To do that, the start-up must prove that it is a reliable partner. "All of our actions are focused on building trust from development, through installation and initial setup, until customer support and satisfaction."

What's next: HutGrip was one of two GigTank teams selected as a finalist in last month's TENN Statewide Demo Day.


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