What is the Gig Tank?
The Gig Tank is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs with the ambition to build disruptive businesses that utilize and take advantage of the country’s first and largest gigabit fiber optic network.
The Gig Tank is powered by CO.STARTERS, Chattanooga's start-up accelerator -- the only one in the nation today that offers companies access to gigabit bandwidth speeds together with a live test market of residential customers and businesses on the same 1Gig fiber network.
Why should we apply to the Gig Tank?
This is a chance to pioneer the future of the internet, when bandwidth is no longer a barrier. This also gives you and your company a significant technological head-start in what is otherwise a crowded start-up landscape. And if that weren’t enough, there’s a $100,000 prize for the best gigabit business to come out of the Gig Tank. You and your team will have several opportunities to work with mentors and pitch your idea to VCs and Angels from around the country ... so that’s why.
What happens once our team is there?
The 14 weeks of the program are roughly divided into three sections of 30 days. We kick-off with Gig Tank boot camp, which will be followed by a mentor introduction night to begin mentor selection. Each Monday, all the teams will meet to update the group on progress. Once a week there will be a information session with a focus on a particular aspect of running a startup. There will also be social gatherings throughout the program to connect you to prospective angel investors, service providers, mentors, influencers, and community leaders. The conclusion of the program is Pitch Night, where the smartest viable gigabit businesses compete for the Gig Prizes with a $100,000 cash prize for the best pitch.
How much do you invest in our company?
We invest $15,000 seed capital from three funds: Chattanooga Renaissance Partners, Blank Slate Ventures (two Chattanooga angel seed funds) and Solidus TNInvestco (a Nashville-based venture capital fund). In return for our investment, we receive 6% of the founding level equity in your startup. Additionally, you have the discretion to give equity to your mentors. We recommend that you strongly consider doing so, but that you wait until the end of the program to decide who gets equity and how much. This decision can be made based on which mentor(s) have provided the greatest value and may be able to help your company going forward. Note that the cash investment may be spent any way the startups desire as long as it guides the Starters towards reaching milestones and the mentors “sign off” on the use of funds.
What type of businesses are you looking for?
We are looking for business ideas that will utilize and take advantage of Chattanooga’s unparalleled gigabit bandwidth speeds. We’re looking for game-changing businesses that couldn’t be built anywhere else without the Gig. Specifically there are 7 business sectors we are hoping to disrupt: Cloud Computing, Advanced Manufacturing, Digital Media, Healthcare, Education, Energy, and Public Safety & Emergency Response. But if you have a business idea that doesn’t perfectly fit into one of these sectors, we would still love to hear it.
Do I need a team?
We like teams ... therefore, we are less likely to accept single founder companies. The best things you can do to strengthen your application are: (1) put together a solid team with business, technical, and other necessary skill sets; and (2) show us your commitment to your idea by making progress on your alpha/beta product or prototype. Really, just show us how committed you are to your own idea.
How big can our team be?
We will accept up to four members for each team to participate in the program. And, in case you were wondering, you don’t get additional start-up capital or housing compensation for a larger team.
What’s the purpose of the Mentors?
Our mentors come from a wide array of backgrounds and have seen success and failure first hand in their business career. In addition to business and startup acumen, our mentors provide domain expertise. Whatever your concept, there is a good chance that a couple of the mentors have some to accelerate your success. Mentors sharpen your concept and provide tough love when needed to insure founding entrepreneurs execute quickly and as correctly as possible.
Is the Gig Tank a full time commitment?
Yes. At the very least, we need one Starter from your team to be physically in Chattanooga for the entire duration of the program from May 14th to August 16th. And while you’re here, we own you. Not really, but we do expect you and your team to hustle…we’ll make sure to schedule some time off for you to relax and explore Chattanooga.
Are there any rules on eligibility ?
Kind of. Here's what you need to know:
• Time Commitment- At least one person from your team must commit to working on the concept full-time for the entire 14 weeks.
• Geography- There are no geographical restraints for application. We’ll gladly accept applications from all over the US and world!
• Team- Remember, because we are looking for startups that are technology or product based, it is important to have someone on the team who can actually create/refine your product/service.
What accommodations and/or resources do you provide?
Your team will be provided with your own private workspace at our HQ in Chattanooga’s Southside District (it’s cozy…but cool!). You are provided with the fastest gigabit per second broadband speed in the country. Access to the Gig Labs lets you tap directly into the fiber grid. You’ll also have access to conference rooms and larger workspace when needed. As other operational or organizational needs arise in the development of the business, we will help you meet those needs.
Any fun stuff to see or do while I’m in Chattanooga?
Oh yeah, did we mention Chattanooga is a scenic city surrounded by mountains, world-class kayaking rapids, and hiking trails? Recently voted best city to live in by Outside Magazine, downtown Chattanooga is five minutes from caving, rock climbing, mountain biking, and boating; another 20 minutes from olympic-class whitewater rafting and hang gliding. If you’re more of a downtown type, you can walk to dozens of restaurants, bars, parks and museums. It’s certainly one of the best places in the country to be for 14 weeks.
We’re not from Chattanooga, where can/should we stay?
One of the best benefits of Chattanooga is affordable housing. Check out Craigslist and other apartment finder sites. One of our partners is a new, local hostel called the Crash Pad. We have an arrangement with them for out-of-town guests, so if you have any trouble finding a place just let us know and we’ll see if we can hook you up.
Who can I contact if I have any other questions?