A participant in GigTank, an accelerator built on a living fiber network, talks about building solutions on top of super fast connection speeds. By Bogdana Rakova (Co-founder & CTO, HutGrip)
What is the Gig?
The Gig means 1-gigabit-per-second Internet speed. That answer is obvious, but the biggest question still remains - What do we do with it?
To help entrepreneurs find the answer, Sheldon Grizzle founder of The Company Lab started GigTank - the world's only startup accelerator on a living fiber network. Their goal is to create a playground for people to develop and test future applications on top of the Gig. I was part of the program this year and I love the way it managed to bring amazing people together. The super fast Internet that is now available through fiber optics is a great tool. However, the value is in solving real problems. To do that startups and entrepreneurs have to start with the problem. It’s a step-by-step process where you need to ask the right questions, do your job and then dig into how the next generation 1Gbps infrastructure can make everything happen.
This was our goal during GigTank! The company I co-founded and have been living and breathing for the past about two years is called HutGrip. We apply artificial intelligence and data mining to improve process controls in manufacturing and facility management.
I love the story behind our name. The "Grip" part is about getting a grip on something. In our case this is data - in order to truly understand a process you need to get a lot of data and then be able to see it on a larger scale and make decisions based on that. "Hut" is a word that was used by the centurions in the Roman Empire. They would shout "Hut!" after each actionable command meaning execute now. In the same way we want to give manufacturers a solution and help them execute better, do something about a potential problem or make something more efficient right away.
Creating Economic Development
The other women-led company in the program is Sisasa, founded by Debbie Tien. They set out to embrace Generation Y's social and mobile way of life with a product that connects financial institutions with their customers. Both Debbie and I came from far away to do the GigTank in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga is the home of the Gig and is often referred to as The Gig City. The local utility company - EPB laid out Fiber Optics throughout the city and in 2010 became the first municipally-owned utility company in to offer 1Gbps internet access directly to the public in the US. This has made a huge difference and brought businesses and people from all over the world to Chattanooga.
"Though Sisasa means so much to me and is making an impact on its own, being part of this growth makes us all feel like we're part of something bigger than just ourselves and our companies,” shares Tien, who is also CEO of Sisasa.
Knowing Your Core Values
Like in the city of Chattanooga, in startups it takes a lot of bricks to build a home. It takes a lot of small wins, a lot of fails, a lot of everything, and the key is that you always have to be ready to take 200% out of every opportunity and evaluate the circumstances very quickly. You can’t manage what you can’t measure and you can’t measure what you can’t see. That’s true not only in production processes but in everything that we do on our daily bases. This is why this is one of the core values at HutGrip and in everything we do, we stick to that. In time we found out that knowing our core values helps us tremendously stay focused and execute.
How will next generation 1Gbps infrastructure impact startups?
About the guest blogger: Bogdana Rakova is co-founder and CTO at HutGrip, a cloud-based process improvement platform to help people make more informed decisions and increase efficiency utilizing artificial intelligence and the industrial internet. She studied Computer Science in Sofia, Bulgaria and in the Graduated Studies program at Singularity University in 2012.