Chicago Startups to Watch in 2017 (Built In)

Jan17, 2017

Originally Published by James Risley, Built In Chicago, (Modified from Original)

Chicago’s tech star is burning bright. The industry is churning out plenty of new launches, attracting talent from across the country and keeping the scene funded with active local investors. For our annual top 50 startups to watch list, we looked at companies founded within the last five years that are poised to usher in a new era of innovation, creativity and success.

While there are booming companies like ReviewTrackers and Opternative that are surely doing great stuff this year, we’re focusing on names you may be less familiar with. These companies are using fresh funding, top-tier talent and innovative ideas to reach breakout success in 2017.



Stealth firm Catalytic may be hesitant to say what it does, but with a founding team led by former Fieldglass CTO Sean Chou and serial entrepreneur Ravi Singh, you can bet it’ll be big. So far, we’ve learned the company’s first project is called Pushbot and it will be a platform for business processes. To top things off, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Lightbank and Chicago Ventures are just a few of the big-name investors backing the company.


FourKites is using data analytics and cloud software to help shippers track their packages across the continent. While the company has 2.5 million tracking devices in its system already, it plans to rapidly increase that number and start tracking more details like internal container temperature, local traffic and weather delays in its system soon. To do that, it plans on hiring 100 employees by the end of 2017.



By tracking a huge amount of data on students, Learnmetrics helps educators plan for better outcomes. But it doesn’t just provide teachers and administrators with a bunch of raw numbers — it turns that data into insights that can be used to demonstrate need to district leaders and other stakeholders. The company can even take older data to help lead to new insights, making it an attractive option for schools that already employ data-gathering techniques but aren’t seeing the value yet.


Many companies need specialized software that really only works for their workflow. But that often just means a jury-rigged spreadsheet that struggles under the strain of a growing startup. LogicGate offers software that lets companies create their own software to fit their needs. That’s right, software to create software. But LogicGate can also help companies stay compliant or manage risk as they grow with automated procedures and simple alterations to ease growing pains.




Booze delivery is easier than ever thanks to a wealth of apps and services. But the process for bars, restaurants and hotels to get alcohol from distributors is a little more antiquated. Tiz streamlines the process with a cloud-based system that tracks needs across locations to optimize delivery schedules. Taylor Katzman, a Drizly vet, launched this startup and already has 115 establishments using the system.

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