Calling all geeks: Chattanooga seeks nation's smartest
(WRCB) – Chattanooga would like to meet your geeky friends.
On Monday, the project launched the Geek Hunt, to gather participants for next summer's Gig Tank, a business accelerator designed to utilize Chattanooga's unique gig-per-second fiber optic network.
The Geek Hunt launched on Facebook and Twitter with a video that asks people to call out and tag the geekiest, most brilliant friends in their social network. "If you're the first person to tag a genius student or budding entrepreneur who applies and is chosen for the Gig Tank, we'll pay you a $1,000 finder's fee," said Jack Studer, of Lamp Post Group, a private venture incubator that is partnering in the effort. "We want to find the smartest and brightest tech geeks, so we're going straight to social media to hunt them down."
The smartest gigabit applications and businesses that come out of the Gig Tank will compete for the Gig Prizes, with up to $300,000 in cash and seed capital at stake. Last month, Alcatel-Lucent helped launch the prize program by sponsoring a growing purse supported by over 20 local, state and national organizations.
According to J.Ed. Marston, vice president of communications for the Chattanooga Chamber, which is also partnering in the initiative, the Gig Tank is different from previously announced business plan competitions because it will actually generate next-generation internet applications and business ventures on the only network of this size and scale that is in place today.
"Participants in the Gig Tank will have access to the only large-scale gigabit network in America as well as a full range of support from local business acceleration and incubation resources," Marston said. "They will be able to test their applications with real-world users and actually launch their businesses. Gig Tank students and entrepreneurs will have a tremendous head start because their ventures will be up and running as other communities bring gigabit networks online in coming years."
EPB, a municipally-owned utility, deployed Chattanooga's gigabit network last year, and it is already serving as the foundation for the first killer app. "Using our 100% fiber optic network as the communications backbone, we're putting the finishing touches on the most advanced smart grid in the country," said EPB President Harold DePriest.
Applications are now being accepted for the Gig Tank, which will begin in May and take place in what has recently been dubbed the Gig City™, Chattanooga TN. The winners and prizes will be announced in August. Nominations, applications and additional information can be found at www.TheGigCity.com.