In 2023, The Co.Lab, our city’s startup accelerator, and TennSmart, a statewide collaboration of public-private mobility industry leaders, issued a challenge to entrepreneurs near and far: help us address four of the logistics industry’s most pressing issues: 

Workforce optimization.  

Smart integration. 

Charging infrastructure. 

Quantum Connection. 

The challenge was called the Sustainable Mobility Reverse Pitch. 

“Whether it’s streamlining supply chain routes, revolutionizing workforce management, powering the electrification of transportation, or diving into the world of quantum technology, this challenge is the gateway to groundbreaking solutions with real-world implications,” the challenge declared. 

The inaugural competition selected 20 entrepreneurs, innovators, and forward-thinkers to respond to CO.LAB’s reverse pitch: we’re giving you the problem. Now, sell us a solution.  

Earlier this winter, four winners were announced:  

JAKAPA: Gavin Pringle’s St. Louis-based company offers training and certification in 32 soft skills in five major areas – from emotional IQ to self-management – for younger generations entering the workforce. 

Meredot: Roman Bysko’s Oregon-based company builds highly efficient wireless charging stations powered by autonomous technology. 

FYT: Brent Bowker calls his Jackson, Tenn.-based FYT an “innovative solution” that uses smart integration and user-friendly experiences to enhance and streamline the efficiency and adaptability of logistics networks.  

Kuza: well-known innovator Scott Kozicki’s company boldly addresses energy infrastructure needs by providing clean, quiet, sustainable autonomous energy distribution “anywhere on earth.” 

While gaining access to a state-wide network of leaders and investors, these four winners also presented at Mobility Expo, a premier event for the latest advancements in smart and sustainable transportation hosted by TennSMART. 

 “At the end of the day, Chattanooga has unparalleled resources and opportunities in the sustainable mobility space,” said CO.LAB CEO Tasia Malakasis. “We believe that founders and industry leaders like TVA, EPB, UTC, Qubitekk, and Kenco Group can work together to give Tennessee the competitive edge in sustainable transportation, entrepreneurship, and the overall future-forward movement of data, goods, people, and energy.”