Chicago, let’s get ready to rumbleeee…well, you get the idea! Tech Cocktail is back in town and we’re very thrilled to host our 3rd 2014 Chicago Startup Showcase & Cars.com Speaker Series event. We have a special event prepared for our local entrepreneurs, which includes a chat with Ben Huh, CEO and Founder of Cheezburger, and Talia Mashiach, CEO and Founder of Eved.
We will also have an awesome group of startups showcasing their products. This is an event you won’t want to miss, so put it on your calendars now and join us at John Barleycorn – River North on September 4th, 2014.
Now for the fun part: Who is Chicago’s Hottest Showcasing Startup? Let us know your vote by answering the poll at the end of this post (ends at 6:00pm local time on the day of the event – get the official rules here). The winner will be announced live at the event and will receive recognition in the editor’s note of the weekly newsletter and added press recognizing the honor of being elected Chicago‘s Hottest Showcasing Startup, as well as a chance for a spot at this year’s national competition, Tech Cocktail Celebrate.
Who is Chicago’s Hottest Showcasing Startup?
- Caktus Music, Inc. - User facing: Caktus makes music social, again. Caktus takes what has become a largely insular activity and allows users to find and interact with friends, family, and others with the same musical tastes. Caktus allows users to interact directly with bands and musicians by following the artists that they care about. Caktus enables a whole new level of music discovery through geo-location, genre filtering, and ‘Pin Surfing’. Artist facing: Caktus allows the musicians to activate their fan base like nothing else out there. Caktus provides metrics and statistics that allow bands to make better informed decisions regarding the management of their craft. Caktus increases musician revenue by making music and ticket purchases directly available through the app.
- Fare Mechanic - When buying a plane ticket, travelers have no idea of what the real final cost will be. Airlines are now charging checked bag fees and carry on bag fees, making longer connecting flights, and offering varying benefits that are very confusing to the average person. We make it simple with a matrix that will show immediately what the real cost/benefit of all their travel choices based on the traveler’s profile.
- Finom - Most people choose a financial adviser based on a tip from a friend. Now you can choose an adviser based on their actual track record with clients. Finom is the first company to have historical performance and practice data on investment advisers and the first to use this data to empower investors.
- Popular Pays LLC - We’re doing to advertising what Airbnb did to hotels. Just like how Airbnb is cheaper (and often cooler) than a Hilton room, our p2p advertising is more organic and 20x cheaper than an ad on Instagram. Ex: IG’s minimum buy is $500k and the post is inserted (unwanted) into your feed. An equivalent pop pays campaign would be $25k and comes from people that you follow b/c you love their content.
- Project Fixup - Project FIxup takes the work out of meeting someone new. The typical online dater spends 12 hours browsing through profiles and messaging with people. This back and forth messaging, while occasionally entertaining, is also time consuming and inefficient. We are bringing the human element back into dating by helping people connect the right way – by meeting in person and seeing if there’s a spark.
- SchoolRush – Schools have a challenge communicating timely & relevant information to parents. Newsletters, websites and emails are currently their main means of communication to parents. Existing School Information Systems and education tool vendors and products are focused on grade books, collaborative learning, attendance and lunch menus. These existing tools lack daily direct engagement with parents. Parents are busy and have a challenge keeping up and staying organized about their kids activities at school. Parents are increasingly relying on smart phones and mobile apps to organize their lives. SchoolRush provides parents instant, personalized access to current and upcoming events for each of their children on their smartphone. Parents can access each other’s contact info, contact info for teachers and school with the touch of a finger. Schools can send targeted notifications to parents VIA in App notifications.
- Strados - It solves the imbalance of information surrounding car maintenance. The check engine light does not help drivers and is a source of anxiety. Drivers have no idea if there car is about to fail on the next drive. Going to a mechanic can be an anxious and frustrating experience because you’re at their mercy for information/pricing for fixes.
- SymGym – Current guidelines call for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity, along with two weekly sessions of muscle strengthening exercises. Yet, more than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle strengthening activities. According to Nielsen, the average U.S. gamer age 13 or older spent 6.3 hours a week playing video games during 2013; and according to gamespot, gamers are spending on average of 13 hours per week playing video games. The reason? Exercise for the sake of exercise is boring. But videogames are fun. SymGym is an exergaming device that uses bodily movement to control video game actions. The independently operated resistance based arms and foot pedals simulate real life bodily movement that is in sync with game play. The game controls the effort level and gives dynamic feedback and shows your fitness stats, such as calories burned, level of difficulty, duration, and resistance.
- Whittl – Though some companies such as Angie’s List have tried to tackle aggregating lists of service providers, no one has yet compiled all of the information in a way that is geo-targeted and bookable, the features we find to be most useful to, well, everyone. We allow users to store their credit card information, meaning that they never have to pull out any payments in store, and we’ve created a unique two-fold benefit for our users: they don’t have to make a phone call to schedule any of their appointments, and they can discover services in their neighborhoods that they never even knew existed.
- Zoome - Collecting loyalty points or punches for future rewards is a major pain and not motivating enough. People want instant gratification. And that’s where Zoome shines. With Zoome, users get instant rewards in exchange for pre-purchase of loyalty offers at their favorite local businesses. Merchants can customize these offers as they please and users can now enjoy rewards at their own convenience. Zoome helps increase pre-sales revenue and provides better cash-flow to businesses. It provides valuable insights to merchants – in real time, which enables them to engage their customers at a whole new level. It’s like having an in-store CRM system that keeps track of customer spending and visits. Best of all, with some smart iBeacon integration, Zoome makes checkout not only convenient but super quick. In our tests, it has proven to reduce checkout time by over 50%.