October 3, 2011

Five Chattanooga area companies have been selected as finalists for the 11th annual Kruesi Award, which will be presented at the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Innovation Luncheon Oct. 26. All finalists will be honored during the event, which will take place Oct. 26 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

This year’s honorees are Chattanooga 3D, Global Green Lighting, KnobbyKnife, Inc., LifeKraze and RMJ Tactical, LLC. The Kruesi Award recognizes companies for innovative products, services and ways of doing business in the Chattanooga region.

Along with the Kruesi Award presentation, the Chattanooga Technology Council will name the winners of the Early Innovator Award, which honors emerging technology-based companies that have produced a groundbreaking prototype product or beta stage software application that represents the potential for a significant competitive advantage.

Robert Vrij, Alcatel-Lucent president of the Americas, will deliver the keynote address at the luncheon. The Spirit of Innovation was the first regionally-based innovation awards program and remains one of the only events designed to promote and foster cutting-edge business activities in a specific geographic area.

April 1, 2011

Regardless of their level of participation, everyone who attends 48Hour Launch can gain from the experience. We recently spoke with Matthew Craig, digital media guru and Technology Coordinator at Normal Park Museum Magnet School. Matthew’s imagination was sparked when he attended last year’s 48Hour Launch. “It’s incredible what can happen when you put a bunch of really smart people in a room like that,” he says. The event gave him ideas that he was later able to implement at the school, for the benefit of the community.

Matthew originally went to 48Hour Launch hoping to share his idea to reduce the number of streetlights in Chattanooga. “I didn’t realize the event was geared towards tech start-ups,” he says. “I figured out pretty quick that my idea wasn’t going to work there, but I was glad I stuck around.”

Although he saved his own idea for another day, Matthew decided to stay and listen to other pitches. “I was really inspired by Chattanooga 3D’s project,” he says. Launched by Stephen and Karen Culp, the project proposed using crowd-sourcing to construct a detailed three-dimensional model of the city with Google’s free modeling software, SketchUp. “I had no idea that SketchUp existed, and it blew my mind as soon as I saw it.” Matthew immediately started brainstorming ways he could integrate the new tool into Normal Park’s existing technology program.

Normal Park is currently seeking grants to enable the addition of an outdoor lunch area and an outdoor lab classroom. During a conversation with one of the parents overseeing the project, Matthew realized it was an opportunity for students to use SketchUp in the classroom. “It was a perfect opportunity to get them involved,” he says.

Matthew sees SketchUp as a valuable tool for the classroom that can help students become more conscientious citizens. “When they have a hand in designing things, it really gets them engaged,” he says. “It helps them realize that they have a voice, and it gives them a sense of responsible citizenship.” After designing their building plans, students were able to take still captures of the models they made in SketchUp and integrate them seamlessly into video presentations created in iMovie.

In the future, Matthew plans to work with students at Normal Park to build a detailed model of the school and the surrounding grounds. “The models that you can create in SketchUp are really useful for events planning,” he says. “We could even use them to create digital fly-through tours of the school.” Matthew hopes Normal Park can one day use those features to plan its annual outdoor arts and music festival, Normal-Palooza.

Now, what will you learn from this year's 48Hour Launch that you can use in the community, your career, or a new venture? Click here to register for the weekend and/or click here to sign up to pitch your concept on Pitch Night.

Here are some more details on 48Hour Launch.

Chattanooga 3D: Putting the Scenic City on the (virtual) map

by Casey Phillips

Times Free Press – 11.30.09

Click here to view the front page feature of the Life section.

Putting Chattanooga on the Map- In 3D

Putting Chattanooga on the Map—In 3-D


Ben Johnson


“I can guarantee that this will make all who participate in it no money…”

This is an unexpected project introduction at a business start-up event. But then again, the Chattanooga 3-D project is anything but expected. Intended as an event to incubate small business start-ups, 48Hour Launch was designed as a start-up resource for the entrepreneurial community. 89 people gathered over the weekend, the vast majority of whom worked on projects that they hoped would eventually turn into viable financial enterprises. Chattanooga 3-D on the other hand, started with the goal to “start something” cool that would benefit Chattanooga, even if it had no tangible economic impact for the participants.

The brain-child of Stephen Culp, Chattanooga 3-D was begun in response to Stand’s call for people to “start something.” Using a combination of Google Sketch-up and Google Earth, teams of volunteers have taken hundreds of pictures and are using them to make three-dimensional renderings of Downtown Chattanooga. During our 48-hour long event, over 20 people—by far the largest team at 48Hour Launch—built 3-D models of most of Main Street in Downtown Chattanooga. In the wake of the 48Hour Launch, the project is continuing full-throttle, as anyone with a good camera and a few hours to learn the program can contribute to the 3-D maps Chattanooga.

As we saw at 48Hour Launch, entrepreneurism and innovation is not only of great economic benefit, but is also a vital part of civic engagement. The ease with which people can join in this project allows for broad participation, and the potential applications are equally broad. Architecture, attractions, businesses, streets, greenways, parks, art…whatever you want to do with it can be done. The Chattanooga 3-D project is aptly described as “open-source,” the goal being to create this map, release it to the community—and see what happens. Embodying Stand’s goal of empowering individuals, they are providing a resource and leaving it up to the initiative and creativity of all of us to determine how we can best use this information.

If you have a few hours to spare, and would like to contribute to this project, head over to their website at for details on how to get involved.

48Hour Launch Wrap-Up: Meet the Results

Monday, November 16, 2009

CreateHere Blog

This weekend, CreateHere and SpringBoard had the great pleasure to host 48Hour Launch, an event aimed at sparking entrepreneurship regionally and launching at least one start-up over the course of two days. We’re pleased to announce that the weekend was a huge success, with over 100 participants building out seven unique projects. Here, we give you a brief write-up on each of those projects.

John Prevost started Sunday night’s presentations with a brief demonstration of Flobuckle, a task-management system designed to serve small to medium sized creative agencies. Their goal? Make sure basic tasks aren’t “adding density to your day.” Flobuckle was launched through the teamwork of Steven Hill, Michael Snyder, Angel Brown, and Kyle Posey.

Alex Lavidge of Knoxville Overground presented on behalf of his group, which worked in partnership with Knoxville-based jewelry designer Jennifer Ellison. Ellison’s handmade accessories evoke rock ‘n’ roll, and the team launched mStrandz, a visual identity and website for Ellison’s business. The site gives Ellison an opportunity to reach out to a broader audience, and within the next 5 years, she’d like to see her products compete in Atlanta’s difficult market. Additionally, mStrandz includes a community service component: a portion of all proceeds go to k-12 music appreciation programs in the Knoxville area.

Jason Luna presented on behalf of his group, which included Daniel Santa Cruz and Eric Polino. Working an abbreviated launch session of just under 15 hours, the team was able to start development on All My Stitches, a social network aggregator.

HyvMynd, an ambitious project with several components, was developed by a larger team, many of which collaborated with other fellow 48Hour Launchers. Building on their platform, Brix, the company provides custom solutions for small businesses to facilitate the growth of buying local. HyvMynd’s platform includes a free barcode generating website for people looking to sell their products on consignment, which allows for better inventory tracking. Throughout the weekend, they developed a backend database, a website, and an iPhone application, all intended to help manage supply chain and promote local sales. Hyvmynd was developed by Aaron Welch, Sydney Hale, Daniel Appleget, Benjamin Bane, Joshua Estes, Ed King, Bob Leffew, Travis Harvey, and James Long.

Lokewl was developed in collaboration with team members from HyvMynd, who used this project as an example of how they hope to operate. Lokewl, a website and iPhone application, collects deals, sales, and coupons from local businesses exclusively. During the demonstration, Shultz expressed that the original goal of the project was to highlight local restaurants, but quickly they realized that “mom and pop” shops could benefit from this type of technology.

James Long and his team used the weekend to continue development of an iPhone game called Farm Wars. This was one of Long’s first game development projects, and Farm Wars came away with a solid marketing and PR strategy to push the game into the market. He hopes to have it in the iPhone app store within the next couple of months.

The final group to present was Chattanooga 3D, a non-profit project headed up by Stephen Culp and Karen Liwanpo of SmartFurniture. The team used the weekend to develop 3D renderings of downtown and Main Street, to be used by Google Maps. This open-source platform can be used by anyone, and added to by all: at the end of a demonstration, Culp announced that this will be a community-owned project. For more information, visit

48HL was organized by SpringBoard, Knoxville Overground, Will This Float?, and Launch Memphis, four organizations specializing in entrepreneurship. The first 48HL coincides with the beginning of Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 16-20 and is made possible through generous support from local and national organizations. Sponsors include EPB, Mircrosoft’s BizSpark, the Chattanooga Technology Council, Angel Capital Group, Airnet, Slamdot, Spruz, Harwood, Launch Financial, the Chattanooga Choo Choo, SmartFurniture, Ackermann PR, Entrepreneurs of Knoxville, Technology 2020, and Estate of Confusion.

Original Project Announcement

November 12, 2009

Chattanoogans Put Their City on the Map (in 3D)

with SketchUp, Google Earth, and Community Collaboration

(Chattanooga, TN) Chattanooga3D is one of the first citizen-inspired initiatives to emerge from Chattanooga STAND, one of the largest community visioning processes in history. Building on STAND's call to "start something", C3D will launch November 13th at 48HourLaunch, a groundbreaking event to be hosted at Chattanooga's CreateHere,

The goal of Chattanooga3D is to bring the Chattanooga downtown and region to life in Google Earth for everyone to enjoy. Local entrepreneur and sponsor, Stephen Culp, says the idea is quickly taking on a life of its own. "It's becoming clearer every day that this project can make our city more accessible to all kinds of people and organizations," he adds, including local residents, public officials, artists, planners, tourists, architects, developers, and businesspeople. As a result, the project will likely be staged in "layers" corresponding to Chattanooga's uniquely diverse architecture, downtown art, attractions, businesses, parks, greenways, and more.

The Chattanooga3D project also continues to take on new volunteers and partners. Initially inspired by collaborative spirit of Chattanooga STAND, Culp has seen volunteers emerge from the local design, architectural, academic, and entrepreneurial communities, as well as early partners in organizations like RiverCity, CreateHere, 48HourLaunch, and Smart Furniture. On the 3D front, the team will be supported by the Google Sketchup/3D design team from Smart Furniture led by Karen Liwanpo, and the expertise of Chris Wilson, who led a similar and successful effort with the "Main Street McMinnville" project.

The Chattanooga3D project will launch at 48HourLaunch (48HL), an innovative event itself launched by three Tennessee-based entrepreneurial organizations-- Springboard, Knoxville Overground, and Launch Memphis. The event will kick off Global Entrepreneurship Week, and, according to local organizer Sheldon Grizzle of Springboard, is a "blitz-idea-incubator" based around collaborative creativity. Grizzle adds, "It will be a chance for entrepreneurs, project managers, web developers, pr and marketing minds, strategists, designers, and writers, to come together to do the unthinkable— create and launch real businesses and sustainable initiatives in 48 hours."

The team will initially meet at Create Here (55 E. Main Street, Chattanooga TN 37408) this Friday, November 13th, at 6pm. For volunteers interested but who can't make it Friday, Chattanooga3D will continue through the 48HourLaunch on Saturday, 8am–7pm and Sunday, 8am–6pm (and if you can't make the weekend, still contact Chattanooga3D-- this will be a long-term project). The Chattanooga3D team invites anyone interested to join the team of volunteers to be part of this launch, including Google SketchUp users, photographers, and other creative folks. Bring a laptop and camera if available-- the team will be indoors and around the city, photographing, drawing, and "pushing up" the city in 3D.


About Chattanooga3D

For questions about the Chattanooga3D project, or to sign up, please contact Karen Liwanpo at or call 423-822-2266.

About 48HourLaunch

Designed to inspire entrepreneurial action at the local level, 48Hour Launch (48HL) unites creative individuals to launch at least one start-up business or sustainable initiative. In just 48 hours, 48HL will bring bright minds together to participate in an intensive period of community building, planning, incubation, and launching. For more information on the East Tennessee 48HL, contact; or call Ben Johnson at 423.648.2195. Visit 48HL online at

About Smart Furniture, Inc.

Smart Furniture® brings custom design to a whole new market-- everyone. As the industry leader in “Design-on-Demand®” furniture and interiors, Smart Furniture empowers customers to customize furniture and spaces, quickly and easily. Promoting personalization through product design, technology, and a passion for customer service, Chattanooga-based Smart Furniture continues to earn industry-wide acclaim and dramatic customer growth. For product or showroom information, call 888-GO-SMART or visit

About RiverCity Company

The RiverCity Company is a private non-profit development firm committed to ensuring a vibrant and attractive downtown that is the economic, social and cultural centerpiece of the Chattanooga region by developing downtown real estate, making and programming great urban spaces and employing creative urban design.

About CreateHere

CreateHere is a Chattanooga, TN nonprofit; a group of residents and new recruits working for arts, economic, and cultural development in the urban core.

About Springboard

SpringBoard is a resource hub for Chattanooga's entrepreneurs, helping businesses and nonprofits move forward with confidence, for the good of their owners and the community as a whole.