CO.LAB is a 501c3 nonprofit based in Chattanooga, TN that accelerates early-stage startups in the sustainable mobility space.
We believe that your venture can make the world a cleaner, smarter, more sustainable place—if provided with the right resources.
Our organization has the connections, means, and motivation to help you move the needle of progress forward.
There are few things more exciting than scaling a new venture. Entrepreneurship is the beating heart of Chattanooga, and we are thrilled to immerse ourselves in it.
Team collaboration is the rising tide that lifts all boats. We believe in creating a positive, creative synergy that helps you efficiently achieve your goals.
Diversity enriches our perspective, challenges our beliefs and broadens our understanding of the world. Embracing this allows us to foster a more equitable environment to live and work.
Chattanooga's strength of industry, competitive advantages, and unparalleled resources make our city your destination for growth.
Get the investment you need
Strengthen your proof of concept
Connect with leaders in your space
Expand your talent network with ease
Get to market faster
Kirk is an innovative thinker using a unique mix of experience to develop solutions to complex problems. A proven senior executive with demonstrated ability to deliver value and lead change, he's thrilled to be working alongside the CO.LAB team to leverage the creative energy of startups in Chattanooga and beyond.
Christine is an operational leader who has worked in several industries and loves working at COLAB to support local entrepreneurs. She's passionate about making a positive impact on our community and driving organizational success. In her free time, Christine loves to be outside, hiking trails with her husband and dogs.
Benjamin Banks is a Chattanooga creative with a love of music, movies, comics and all things media-related. He has a passion for storytelling and strives to provide a platform for those that are overlooked to share their own experiences to a broader audience.
Angela Poffenbaugh is an award-winning storyteller, expert in communications, and former News Anchor/Reporter in both Wisconsin and Chattanooga. She is thrilled to settle in the beautiful Scenic City and support entrepreneurs changing lives for the better through The Company Lab.
Allie Schrenker has spent the last few years playing professional rugby all over the world - and with her experience, she knows that no dream is unreachable. She is thrilled to bring her passion and professional goal setting skills to Co.Lab's new mission.
Charlie Brock serves as Chair for CO.LAB’s Board of Directors.
Charlie is an experienced entrepreneur, angel investor and ecosystem builder. Charlie served as CEO of Launch Tennessee, a public-private entity charged with developing and enhancing the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
A key player in Chattanooga’s startup landscape, Charlie co-founded the city’s first angel group, Chattanooga Renaissance Fund, and was CEO of CO.LAB, the region’s entrepreneur center. He has helped found three startups, including Foxmark Media, which he sold to an Australian public company.
He currently mentors various entrepreneurs and CEO’s on scaling their businesses. Charlie is a director of Pinnacle Financial Partners, The Dixie Group, FourBridges Capital Advisors, Alderman Enterprises and Variable.
Ms. Allen has more than eighteen years of Economic & Community Development experience, including having served as the Deputy Administrator for Economic Development with the City of Chattanooga.
Prior to her role with the City of Chattanooga, Ms. Allen worked nine years as the Vice President for Economic Development and Urban Initiatives at the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s Official Economic Development Partnership. In collaboration with more than nineteen municipalities, she designed, oversaw, and directed targeted industry economic development activities throughout Miami-Dade County, with a special focus on Urban Initiatives, Florida Enterprise Zones, and other designated areas for redevelopment.
Her success in economic development includes her previous background working for major corporations in marketing, business development, and real estate. Ms. Allen is a native Tennessean and a graduate of Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.
Aaron Cramer is a Sr. Enterprise Account Executive at Figma, the San Francisco based design startup.
At Figma, Aaron supports customers within the Fortune 100 through sales and partnerships. Aaron is also a go-to-market and sales strategy advisor/investor for Seed and Series A startups.
Previously, Aaron sat on the board for San Francisco Young Life and Orange County Young Life.
Malcom Harris is the Director of Culture and Brand Experience for Steam Logistics, and has the sole focus on building employer brand awareness and cultivating relationships within the community and other external partners, by positioning Steam as the ideal inclusive logistics company to work with and for.
Malcom plays a vital role in the marketing of the company internally, as well as, publicly, by overseeing content creation for social media and public relations. He provides guidance and leadership and plays a key role in driving the next phase of growth at Steam, while continuing to develop an environment where our team can thrive.
Whenever I am not at Steam, you will catch him with the Brewer Media Group featured with ESPN 95.3FM which is Chattanooga’s affiliate ESPN radio network talking about sports as well as with Power94 – 94.3FM, which is Chattanooga’s #1 station for Hip Hop and R&B.
Laura Ann (LA) Howell is COO of Reliance Partners, a national leader in commercial transportation insurance.
She loves the fast pace of scaling businesses and works to build productive and positive teams which translate into positive client experiences.
LA is a graduate of the University of Georgia, earning a B.B.A. in risk management and insurance and a B.A. in Spanish. She also served as the risk manager for Thompson Appalachian Hardwoods, where she founded an internal flatbed trucking company and brokerage division.
She loves getting outside and enjoying all that Chattanooga has to offer with her husband, Jeff, and their son, Charlie.
Willa Kalaidjian is a shareholder at Chambliss and chair of the firm’s Business Section, Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Section, and the Chambliss Startup Group.
She supports businesses at all stages of growth – from startups to public companies – in various industries such as technology, manufacturing, 3-D printing, consumer goods and services, telecommunications, nonprofit, and transportation and logistics.
Thomas S. Lyons is the Clarence E. Harris Chair of Excellence in Entrepreneurship and Professor of Marketing & Entrepreneurship in the Gary W. Rollins College of Business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
He is the co-author of fourteen books and numerous articles and papers on these subjects and has edited a three-volume set on social entrepreneurship (Social Entrepreneurship: How Businesses Can Transform Society).
In 2011, Dr. Lyons received the Ted K. Bradshaw Outstanding Research Award from the Community Development Society.
Dr. Lyons is currently Co-Editor of the Entrepreneurship Research Journal. He is a practicing entrepreneur, who has co-founded two companies. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Mark received the 2021 Association of Nature Center Administrators “Outstanding New Leader Award.”
He brings more than 15 years of outdoor recreation industry expertise to bear as the President of Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center.
While serving as Marketing Director for outdoor retailer Rock/Creek for more than a decade, Mark led an expansion online and into regional brick-and-mortar.
While there he co-founded RootsRated, a media startup answering the question of where to go outdoors.
He and his partner Chris run a greeting card subscription business called Lost Art Stationery.
Tiffanie Robinson is a professional connector, bringing together businesses with property, women entrepreneurs with investors, and parents with their school board.
She is the President/CEO of Lamp Post Properties, a real estate fund and development group, specializing in projects like The Tomorrow Building; the Founder and President of SVN|Second Story Real Estate Management; and a founding member and active general partner at The JumpFund, an angel fund made up of all female investors focusing on investments in female led companies.
In August of 2016, she was elected to the Hamilton County Board of Education, making her the youngest woman to be elected in Hamilton County history.
In 2020, she was re-elected unopposed for her second term on the Hamilton County Board of Education.
Santosh Sankar cofounded Chattanooga-based venture capital firm Dynamo in December 2015 with Ted Alling, Barry Large and Allan Davis.
He has led investments including Starsky Robotics and PlusOne Robotics and has also made investments through other Dynamo entities.
The Tennessee seed fund has focused so far on startups in logistics technology, which it defines as including supply chain and transportation companies.
With nearly 20 years of experience in the healthcare information technology industry, Rebekah Elkins Sharpe is a visionary when it comes to identifying new strategic offerings and executing go-to-market plans.
Her expertise is on building teams and developing operational departments, and she is experienced in leading healthcare IT startups from concept to scale and through aggressive growth stages, including multiple capital raises and strategic acquisitions.
She is a Certified Healthcare Compliance Professional (CHCP) and is a board member of the Chattanooga Co-Lab and NPMM Education Fund boards of directors.
Sybil McLain-Topel, MFA, IOM, has served as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce since 2014. Shortly before joining the Chamber, she completed an MFA in Writing from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta.
In Chattanooga, she serves on the board of ArtsBuild, Co.Lab, and the Girl Scouts of Southern Appalachians, which covers three states and 48 counties.
She’s an active member of the Public Relations Society of America and Rotary International. She serves as a mentor for the SCAD Writing Program.
She completed both the Holmberg Arts Leadership Institute and Leadership Chattanooga programs.