GIGTANK, a summer-long accelerator and funding program for aspiring 3D printing entrepreneurs set in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has selected their winning projects for this summer's event.
The GIGTANK program is an incubator for budding entrepreneurs in conjunction with The Company Lab (CO.LAB), and one element of the program is directed at Additive Manufacturing startups.
The selectees will be able to take advantage of access to a metro-wide fiber optic network with ultra-fast broadband, the opportunity to collaborate with conventional manufacturers to develop 3D printing pilot programs and access to conventional manufacturing facilities, experts and equipment.
The proposals which met the criteria will have access to an expansive range of 3D printing resources from leading technologists and experts at Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility in Oak Ridge, TN. The program also includes $15,000 in initial seed funding (for a 5 percent stake in the company) and opportunities to attract additional investment capital from a large pool of investors.
The seven startups chosen can also take advantage of free housing for the duration of the summer program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and collaborative workspace in the heart of the city.
The seven winners will also have the opportunity to participate in a cross-country investment tour of entrepreneurial funding bastions such as Silicon Valley and New York City. The program culminates in a nationally-promoted Demo Day, where participants present their progress to a strategic audience of investors, partners and media.
The 3D printing-focused applicants who made the final cut are:
Feetz a 3D printing manufacturer and retailer that creates custom-fit footwear for consumers of all shoe sizes. Using patented algorithms and snapshots from the customer's phone, Feetz integrates custom sizing measurements with individual design preferences to bring comfort, fit and style into each pair of hyper-customized shoes.
Lathon Technologies, a producer of affordable dual material desktop 3D printers. The company's leading product, the Lathon 3D Printer, is a dual-nozzle large format printer that prints multi-material parts faster and larger than current desktop printers on the market.
SeamBot, an additive manufacturing technology for clothing makers and crafters worldwide. The platform uses automation technology from the textile industry to enable the rapid creation of clothes and textile products.
The Fab Cloud, a Web platform that facilitates project collaboration between partners and customers in the additive manufacturing industry. This online network connects users with additive project proposals to equipment owners who are looking for clients, while equipping both parties with successful case studies to guide the way.
TrakTek 3D, a mobile manufacturing facility that uses advanced 3D printing to create an array of metal and polymer-based parts on-demand and on-site at the location of clients' choosing. This innovative new platform drastically reduces lead time while bringing lightweight, customized parts to consumers in industries ranging from equestrian sports to automotive racing.
3DOps, a 3D printing manufacturer that provides contract medical devices for pre-surgical planning. Using patient-specific data, the company creates anatomical 3D models that enable surgeons to plan procedures before operating on patients.
Nestegg Bio, a biotech solutions provider that leverages 3D printing to spur advancements in biomedicine. Using patent-pending technology, the company provides non-toxic scaffolding to the pharmaceutical and research industries, enabling them to make informed decisions about which products to fund and reducing the cost of bring a single drug to market.
"The interest GIGTANK has received from startups across the country has been amazing," said director of GIGTANK and executive director of CO.LAB, Mike Bradshaw. "The reputation the program earned in its first two years brought us dozens of very highly-qualified applicants."
Participants in the 2014 program came from around the nation. Among them, some are based as far away as San Diego and Los Angeles, while others are located in nearby cities such as Atlanta, Huntsville and Asheville.