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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.

Sensevery: 'FitBit for Grandma'
>Sensevery used its time at GigTank to develop a HIPAA-compliant, SaaS-based wristband to monitor various aspects of senior citizens' health, including activity levels, heart rate and body temperature. A syncing device plugs into the wall and charges the bracelet while gathering data and sending it to the cloud.

Sensevery doesn't require an Internet connection or a smartphone cellular plan, though real-time reporting capabilities let caregivers and loved ones "check in" using their own smartphones to monitor sleep patterns and other aspects of overall health. Another device setting provides automatic notifications if its wearer falls or presents other signs of potential concern.

CEO Bentley Cook says Sensevery's product is designed to address the stigma attached to the poorly designed, "large, gray and cumbersome" medical devices that dominate the market.

"Understandably, loved ones don't like wearing them, even though they understand the usefulness, he says. "We see this as an opportunity to make a product that not only provides an important service, but also ... looks good. We want to make a product that we wouldn't mind wearing on a daily basis."

What's next: Sensevery aims to have its cloud-based platform and wearable product available to customers "as soon as possible" and is exploring pilot program opportunities with Chattanooga-area senior healthcare facilities, Cook says.

Sisasa: Mobile Banking That Appeals to Young Adults
For most consumers, mobile banking means checking balances and making transfers. Sisana hopes to "reinvent" mobile banking - and change the way banks engage with young adults - by focusing on social finance, gamification and financial education, CEO Deborah Tien says.

Sisana CEO Deborah Tien speaks at GigTank.

"These are key customers for banks going forward, yet they're often confused about financial awareness and desire an easy, interactive way to understand financial management," she says.

Sisasa's partnership with prepaid gift card and payroll card distributor Transcard provides access to more than 200 banks nationwide. "It's a great opportunity for us to pilot our offering, gauge acceptance and make adjustments," Tien says. Through Sisasa, for example, these banks can run targeted campaigns and offer customer rewards.

What's next: Sisasa is keen to add mobile application developers, Tien says.

FwdHealth: Predictive Modeling From Wellness Data
As healthcare costs rise, Shayne Woods and his FwdHealth partners see wellness as a key to controlling costs. The firm's app uses data produced by fitness apps and wearable tech such as RunKeeper, Nike+ and Fitbit to encourage and empower users while sharing information with employers, insurers and caregivers.

FwdHealth President Shayne Woods shows the GigTank crowd one way to be active.

"The goal is to create an environment that allows for more personalized care from providers, improves productivity for employers and helps insurers manage risk," Woods says.


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