The Company Lab (CO.LAB) and Unum have formalized a new partnership to leverage Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial strengths and leadership in the employee benefits market. The relationship will commence in August with the goal of enhancing health and well-being innovation in the region.

“Unum has established itself as a leader in the insurance market and the Chattanooga community,” said Marcus Shaw, CEO of CO.LAB. “We are excited to kick off a partnership that will offer real-world insight into the challenges industry leaders encounter and explore how startups can provide unique solutions. This partnership illustrates how corporate and entrepreneurial ecosystems can work together to foster digital innovation and accelerate results.”

Unum’s investment into the collaborative effort includes funding and access to its robust pipeline of experts. In the same spirit, CO.LAB will connect entrepreneurs and technology talent to Unum’s extensive insights into the employee benefits market. More broadly, the two entities will work together to apply entrepreneurial thinking and advanced problem solving to health and wellness opportunities both inside and outside of Chattanooga.

“Our partnership with CO.LAB allows Unum to support the small, more nimble companies that will drive change in our industry,” said Puneet Bhasin, chief information and digital officer for Unum. “As a large employer, we recognize that a vibrant ecosystem of innovation and job creation will give us access to the best talent to grow our companies and give back to the community we call home.”

Unum Group, one of the area’s largest employers, is a leading provider of employee benefits and a global leader in disability income protection. The company is built on the promise of helping people when they need it most. Each year, Unum pays nearly $7 billion in benefits to the people who depend on them, and the company’s drive to grow is inspired by the social and human value of the work they do. Investments into technology and digital capabilities helps them better serve their nearly 193,000 employer customers and the 36 million policy holders and families they protect.  

Since launching in 2010, CO.LAB has played a critical role in strengthening Chattanooga’s entrepreneurial environment and cultivating economic opportunities for both nascent and established companies. In doing so, the organization leverages the area’s competitive assets such as its advanced broadband infrastructure and its strategic location to major markets like Nashville, Atlanta and Birmingham. Focusing on these strengths has continually allowed CO.LAB and its partners to stimulate entrepreneurial activity in industries in which new ventures are well-positioned to thrive.

To learn more about Unum’s workplace initiatives and social responsibility commitments, visit www.unum.com. For more information about resources available to entrepreneurs at CO.LAB, visit www.colab.co.

About The Company Lab

The Company Lab (CO.LAB) is a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurial growth in southeast Tennessee. Established as the region’s front door for entrepreneurs, CO.LAB works to increase the viability of startups and strengthen the ecosystem of support behind them. In doing so, the organization helps entrepreneurs refine their business models, test their ideas with customers, pursue capital and partnerships, and connect with a community of mentors, peers and business experts. Additionally, CO.LAB works to create environments that inspire entrepreneurial activity, open doors within the business community and promote job creation. The companies CO.LAB supports range from street-corner mom and pop shops to tech startups scaling into major markets. To learn more, visit colab.co.

About Unum

Unum Group (www.unum.com) is a leading provider of financial protection benefits in the United States and the United Kingdom. Its primary businesses are Unum US, Colonial Life, and Unum UK. Unum’s portfolio includes disability, life, accident and critical illness, dental and vision coverage, which help protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an illness or injury. Unum also provides stop-loss coverage to help self-insured employers protect against unanticipated medical costs. The company reported revenues of $11.3 billion in 2017 and provided nearly $7 billion in benefits.