The Lamp Post Group, which aims to leverage Chattanooga's high-speed Internet access and the River City's whitewater and hang-gliding amenities, is quietly gathering momentum.
Jack Studer, an area investor and startup mentor, is leading the Lamp Post Lab effort, with support from allies Chattanooga Renaissance Fund (CRF, in which Studer is a general partner), the Lyndhurst Foundation, EPB and CoLab. The new LLC was chartered with the state in December, according to information online. Studer deferred an interview request til after his impending nuptials.
A Lamp Post summer program designed to attract collegiate entrepreneurs seems in-the-offing, though it may launch in 2012, rather than this year. Recruitment efforts are beginning, but details are being held in abeyance pending a May unveiling, said Lamp Post spokesman Weston Wamp.
The program, outlined preliminarily in broad outline on the site, hints at prize money, team competition, tech support, mentoring and opportunities to pitch investors. The Lamp Post Lab, as it apparently will be called, will be centered on the second floor the landmark Loveman Building, a former department store, now renovated at 8th and Market.
The formal Lamp Post launch may roughly coincide with a forthcoming visit to Chattanooga by representatives of Intelligent Community Forum, the New York City-based think tank that is ranking America's "Smartest City" based on broadband infrastructure and related criteria. Chattanooga is already one of seven finalists in the program, with the winner due to be announced in June.
Lamp Post has about eight startups, according to the temporary website. Online research indicates the fledglings include reTickr and Wamp Strategies, a public-relations and social-media strategy consultancy. reTickr's software allows users to create a multimedia stream of music, news and other content, accessible via multiple platforms, in what the company describes figuratively as a mashup of Pandora and the iTunes interface.
Studer has previously done venture capital business through RainClif Capital, according to LinkedIn. Earlier, he was an analyst in the technology group of Credit Suisse, where he handled IB chores for Google, Blackstone, HP, Oracle and others. Among other pursuits, Studer was co-founder of Draftspace.com, a file sharing and collaboration SaaS now owned by EthosData (Copal Partners Group). He is a 1995 graduate of Princeton University, where he focused on operations research and financial engineering. VNC