There’s a palpable buzz around Chattanooga right now regarding the start-up culture that is growing and gaining steam each week. The last couple weeks have been fascinating and exciting!

Here’s a quick recap of the good things that have happened/are happening in the start-up community:


  • A local group of Angel Investors are trying to put together a pool of capital that would seek to invest in start-ups. This is HUGE!
  • InnovateHere is working to make downtown a great place for technology based high-growth potential start-ups.
  • Other really exciting stuff that’s just on the horizon, but not yet publicly announced…stay tuned!


  • Launch of The Company Lab
  • SecureWaters is named the official winner of ThrottleUp in Knoxville. LifeKraze, another Chattanooga start-up, unofficially finished second.


The Kauffman Foundation founded this competition to celebrate entrepreneurship in this country, and startup companies were selected on the basis of the industry that the company is in, the solution each could bring to each market, management expertise, and other factors for startup companies. The competition was part of a worldwide effort by Kauffman last week called Global Entrepreneurship Week in which we participated by hosting the Will This Float? event.

Back to the reason for the post: Secure Waters is a new venture that’s currently out trying to raise money to launch. The company has a technology that continuously monitors drinking water sources. The technology is capable of transmitting immediate alerts on detecting the presence of toxic agents at levels well below those anticipated from terrorist attacks or accidental contamination. It’s unfortunate that we need a company to be thinking about this, but we’re excited that these guys are based here in Chattanooga and we’ve been impressed by their proven ability to get recognition for what they are doing.

Ray Slatton, Founder/CEO, and Robert Clark, CFO, are leading the charge on protecting our drinking water. These guys bring a lot of business and entrepreneurial experience to their new venture. I lost count of how many start-ups Ray has been involved with over the years, and it sounds like they are hoping that this is the big one.

Even with all their business experience, Ray and Robert value the recognition from the Kauffman Foundation. “It’s important for a startup company like ourselves to have an external validation of our business model,” said Slatton. “The fact that an organization as well respected as the Kaufmann Foundation in the world of entrepreneurship would give us that validation is very exciting. We are very appreciative.”

So, hopefully you agree that something’s happening in Chattanooga that may not have happened here since the early 1900’s…entrepreneurship is taking root. Maybe it’s something in the water…oh wait, we’ve got a start-up that’s watching out for that.