Building Innovation

Amanda Ellis, Marketing Coordinator, Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce


From bottling Coca-Cola in the late 1800s to today’s advancements in 3-D printing, Chattanooga has always had an innovative streak – pioneering, revolutionary, groundbreaking — whatever you want to call it — we’ve got it.

The Chattanooga Chamber’s Spirit of Innovation Award, presented annually since 2001, is America’s first community-based award designed to foster and promote cutting-edge business activities in a specific geographic area.

This awards program honors companies, and now students, launching innovative products, practices or processes exhibiting the creative spirit that makes Chattanooga a thought leader and national model for both civic and private enterprise.

2016 Spirit of Innovation Recipient:  Branch Technology

“It started with just a sketch,” says Platt Boyd, Founder and CEO of Branch Technology. “Then a little bitty model that weighed half an ounce that held up 18 pounds, and then it has steadily grown in how much it can support. Now something that weighs 2 pounds – you can drive trucks on top of.”

What once was thought of as conceptual or theoretical is now made possible by Branch Technology.

Branch revolutionizes the design of our built environment by reimagining the way we build, combining 3D-printing, industrial robotics and conventional building materials.

With the world’s largest freeform 3D-printer, Branch enables 3D-printing of walls, large-scale structures and furniture items.

Branch is the only commercial company in the world with cellular fabrication technology, a unique process that solidifies material in mid-air to create a cellular matrix.

“Instead of asking how much we can 3-D print, we’re asking how little we can 3-D print and then use these other materials that have been around for a long time,” Boyd says.

With cellular fabrication, architects are free to design more creative buildings. Branch makes these structures feasible for contractors to build, clients to afford and all of us to inhabit.

As its headquarters, Branch chose Chattanooga, a city spearheading tech innovation in a region leading in manufacturing.

“We don’t really think of ourselves as a 3-D printing company, we think of ourselves as a company that is coming up with a new way to make things,” says Chris Weller, Branch co-founder.

Next year, Branch will build America’s first 3D-printed house right here in Chattanooga.

Spirit of Innovation Finalists

is a locally-based group of innovators passionate about making a difference in the healthcare industry.

They created Process Manager to empower healthcare organizations to better manage contract workflows from inception of need to termination of an agreement.  

Process Manager integrates with existing modules already used in one out of every four hospitals in the U.S.

Process Manager helps identify opportunities for operational efficiency and financial improvement. Even more importantly, it helps mitigate risk, allowing healthcare organizations to maintain compliance with government regulations.

This allows physicians to focus on what’s most important — patient care.

Through Process Manager, clients modify their contracting processes to fit industry best practices. In cutting fraud and waste through better compliance practices, healthcare organizations — and potentially taxpayers like you — save money.

MediTract has increased its workforce by 20 percent to build and support Process Manager.

As the company grows, MediTract will continue to add job opportunities in our community and become a more integral part of our Innovation District.

With Skuid, you don’t have to be an information technology (IT) professional to create beautiful, streamlined apps for your business. Anyone can do it, without writing a single line of code.

Because enterprise software can be difficult to use, Skuid created a new technology that allows companies to create made-to-order applications that fit their business needs perfectly.

Skuid customers achieve an average of 60 percent more productivity in their daily processes. They save thousands of hours in development time and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Since launching in 2012, Skuid has more than doubled revenue, customer base and team size year over year – and created more than 70 new full-time jobs in Chattanooga.

They now boast offices in Chattanooga, San Francisco, London and Zurich. In fact, Skuid is the first Chattanooga-based tech startup to grow a significant international presence while keeping its headquarters here.

Skuid serves more than 5 million users across more than 30 countries, including 10 percent of Fortune 100 companies and many Fortune 500 companies.

Committed to intentionality about workplace culture as they grow, Skuid strives to be a leader and resource for other growing startups in our area.

Where are they now? 

Ambition, a performance management platform combining cutting-edge gamification, analytics and reporting automation to score user performance in real time, received the 2015 Spirit of Innovation Award.

Ambition has since quadrupled its annual revenue, added clients like UPS, PriceWaterhouseCooper, Starwood, Xerox and West Corporation. The company has received recognition from the American Association of Inside Sales Professionals and G2Crowd as a Top Service Provider and Category Leader in Sales Performance Software.

They've also continued innovating – building more than a dozen new features into their software platform to help sales, service and call center teams track goals, coach reps and create a culture of success in their offices. 

Early Innovators

The Chattanooga Technology Council presents the Early Innovator Award to honor companies in earlier stages of development – defined as those with less than $50,000 in revenue to date.

These emerging technology-based companies have produced a groundbreaking prototype product or beta stage software application with potential for a significant competitive advantage.

Aegle Gear is a healthcare performance apparel brand dedicated to creating premier gear to empower providers. Today’s scrubs lack functionality, design and protection. Combining knowledge from the healthcare and sports industries, it’s Aegle’s passion to create healthcare performance apparel that is functional, protective and beautiful.

Collider’s technology is a groundbreaking solution for end-use parts, rapid tooling and prototyping.  Collider makes industrial 3-D printers that use a proprietary technology to produce parts in current manufacturing materials. These 3-D printed parts, with complex geometric capabilities and zero tooling costs, rival traditionally manufactured parts.

i-Card is the hassle-free way to manage business cards. When you sign up, the i-Card app makes a business card for you and generates a QR Code. When others download the app, they can scan your QR code to connect with you via i-Card, eliminating the need to keep track of traditional business cards.

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