About 800 people attended some part of Tuesday's Gig Tank Demo Day, which featured business ideas from entrepreneurs in additive manufacturing (3-D printing), health care and smart grid development.
The businesses were in varying stages of development, and the presenters pitched to investors and experts who can help them further their companies. In past years, winners have been named, but this year was more about the pitches.
Eleven presenters from across the country and Canada told the audience about their companies and asked for money and resources.
Community, business and government leaders packed into the auditorium at Girls Preparatory School for the annual Company Lab event.
Mayors Andy Berke and Jim Coppinger kicked off the event in the morning. Coppinger discussed the Business Development Center, which is an incubator for startup businesses.
It's located on the North Shore and houses 75 businesses and 400 people. There are about 22 tech companies there, Coppinger said.
Berke joked that whenever he leaves something at home, he runs to The Public Library and prints it using The 4th Floor's 3-D printer.
He said that is a joke now but is a taste of what could be coming as programs such as the Gig Tank continue in Chattanooga.
"We don't need more energy," he said. "What we need right now is to capture that and keep it in Chattanooga. It's because of Gig Tank and the partners that have come here to create it that we continue to build the greatest midsize city in America."
Mike Bradshaw, entrepreneur-in-residence for Gig Tank, is passionate about 3-D printing. Bradshaw also has 15 years of experience in directing software development projects, and he was a founding member of Compact Publishing.
He said that Tuesday's event is the only one if its kind in the country that local leaders know about.
3-D printing is having a large impact on manufacturing and will continue to do so, he said.
"I was thinking about Chattanooga's legacy as a manufacturing center and our present-day, Gig City, tech-driven [scene]," he said. "You can marry those two."
Presenters pitched an array of ideas, from a company that allows consumers to design their own clothes to a business that creates dual-material desktop 3-D printers.
Lucy Beard, who pitched a company called Feetz, also announced that she is moving the business from California to Chattanooga.
Feetz—which is a 3-D printing manufacturer and retailer that creates customizable shoes for consumers of all shoe sizes—will be locating in the Business Development Center.
Beard said she has been "wowed" by Chattanooga.
Another company, 3DOps, which provides contract medical devices for presurgical planning, also recently relocated to Chattanooga.
Click here to read about each startup that participated in the event. Click here to read about the event's keynote speaker, President of Wohlers Associates Terry Wohlers, a 3-D printing industry consultant and expert.