SouthernAlpha’s team hopped in the car yesterday afternoon and drove down to Chattanooga for what turned out to be an impressive event hosted by The Company Lab (Co.Lab). A healthy crowd of what looked to be about 200 people were on hand at the Chattanooga Public Library for Will This Float?, a pitch competition featuring 18 companies presenting their ideas.
The competitors ranged from The Farmhouse, a collective vertical farm maintained via a web app, to Sophister, a group of Sewanee students taking an innovative approach to providing low interest student loans, to Spottlife, a current participant in Co.Lab’s program which has developed a social networking app that is meant to simplify the clutter that has become many people social presence. Nashville companies GameWisp and Listen Up were on hand as well.
The top prize, went to Roots Rated, an online recreation guide “curated and authored by independently owned specialty outdoor retailers.” Co-founder Fynn Glover will now have an opportunity to pitch in to 500 Startups for a chance at $250K in investment capital and a spot in the program.
Winners of other categories included Spottlife which took home prizes in the “I’ll use this tomorrow” and “I’ll tell my friends about this” categories, and Cloud Lounge, which took home top honors in the “A little over my head” category.
Most impressive was the regional draw of competition. Teams from Chattanooga were joined by the above mentioned Nashville competitors along with companies from areas dotting East Tennessee and even South Carolina.
At times the crowd grew a little too spirited, even forcing the bar to be shut down for a bit so that the pitches could be heard. But the enthusiasm in the room was palpable and clearly centered around the companies and the community’s support for them.
We drove home impressed with the Chattanooga scene and even batting around event ideas WTF? had given us. Chattanooga, we’ll be calling y’all for some tips soon.