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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.

FwdHealth plans to exceed what traditional employee wellness plans can do by using data for predictive modeling. For instance, the interactive dashboard can show human resources departments how an employee population is progressing toward wellness goals and indicate when it might be time to intervene.

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

Mira: Give Retail Customers Product Info, Get Behavior Insight
Mira is a SaaS application for retail stores that works in conjunction with digital signage to merge ecommerce and the hands-on feel of brick-and-mortar shopping.

Customers can interact with the digital sign to peruse information about a product on display and to see how many a store has in stock. Meanwhile, stores using Mira have access to data such as the time of day when consumers look at a specific item, how long they look and what product details are of most interest.

Mira's sustainability model focuses on providing partners with trends and user insights that can improve customer service and marketing capabilities, including the use of flash sales.

What's next: Chattanooga-based sporting goods retailer Rock Creek is piloting the system.

Tidbit: Video Training for the Hospitality Industry
Tidbit is all about improving employee training. The firm's initial focus is the hospitality industry, where a 65 percent annual turnover rate makes it difficult to share knowledge.

Tidbit CEO Tim Bowen talks about his startup's training software at GigTank.

While other services tether employees to an online or paper-based system featuring written content that takes weeks to produce, Tidbit lets users create and distribute video-based training content on a smartphone or tablet device, CEO Tim Bowen says.

What's next: The company plans to crowdsource and sell exclusive video-based training content through a Tidbit experts marketplace, Bowen says. The platform will likely evolve in response to customer feedback, he adds.

WeCounsel: Telehealth for Mental Healthcare Providers
WeCounsel offers mental health providers a HIPAA-complaint telehealth platform for interacting with patients.

In the traditional care model, 50 percent of mental health patients stop visiting their care provider due to a lack of access, WeCounsel CEO Harrison Tyner says. The company's platform, on the other hand, uses an interactive dashboard complete with note-taking, secure messaging, online billing and client record storage capabilities.

What's next: WeCounsel is a step ahead of its GigTank peers: The young firm recently received its initial $600,000 funding from UltraGroup, which provides outpatient behavioral health programs at 40 rural hospitals across an eight-state region.


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