Chattanooga, America’s First Gig City, Welcomes 500 Startups For Will This Float At GEW

500 startups, Chattanooga, Will This Float, Paul Singh,CoLab,Global Entrepreneurship WeekOne of the biggest misconceptions in the startup and tech space is that Kansas City and Google were the first to offer 1GB Ethernet to businesses and residents. While we love Kansas City startups it’s actually Chattanooga Tennessee that was first with citywide 1gb Ethernet to homes and residences.

Chattanooga has been doing some very big things for entrepreneurs and startups lately. Back in August we brought you exclusive coverage of the GigTank Demo Day. Chattanooga has also been aggressively recruiting entrepreneurs and startups to the region with economic incentives.

Community leaders Sheldon Grizzle and Enoch Elwell haven’t slowed down either. Among other things, including running the Colab space, Grizzle and Elwell have recently been in Chicago, Nashville and Atlanta evangelizing about one of the most truly beautiful places in the world to launch a startup.

In fact it was at the VentureAtlanta event where Grizzle caught the eye of 500 Startups Co-Founder & Sith Apprentice Paul Singh.

500 Startups is the extremely active and diverse vc firm and accelerator in Mountain View. Although the secret 500 startup lair is physically located in Silicon Valley it’s anything but a valley accelerator. Here on nibletz alone we’ve profiled over a dozen 500 startups, none of them have been from the valley.

This week, as the world gears up for global entrepreneurship week so does Chattanooga. Their signature event pits 15 startups against each other this year, in the “will this float” startup competition. The competition, abbreviated WTF, has grown in both the number of participating startups and prize money/investment. The Times Free Press reports that last year’s winner, SupplyHog, is already making money.

This year the contestants include a new startup aiming to help convert streaming music listeners into active music purchasers. Another innovative idea vying for an investment of up to $250,000.

Another startup competing for the gold is looking to turn Farmville into somewhat of a reality. Entrepreneur Troy Cain plans on building an urban farm that is ultimately controlled by mobile devices.  Farmers would be able to buy warehouse space where they would be able to plant their own urban farms. Plant watering, and other needs would be monitored and executed via mobile phone commands.

“People want to have a garden and grow their own food, but they don’t have the space or time to maintain it,” Cain said to the Times Free Press.¬†“We’re looking at making it less than the average people spend on food per month,”…”We think it’ll float.”

Entrepreneurs, other startups and the community can come and see the 15 teams pitch live on Thursday at 6pm on the fourth floor of the public library at 1001 Broad Street. They’ll be showing off a new space that’s dedicated to tech work and will even feature things like lights that dance on the walls in response to tweets.

Linkage:

Get your ticket for “Will This Float” here

Source: Times Free Press

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We’ll see you in February

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