For the Best in Chicago Tech, Look to the ITA’s CityLIGHTS Award Winners

September 15, 2014

7:30 pm

From the likes of GrubHub and Groupon, to Braintree and Trunk Club, Chicago has launched some major companies that have grown to become recognizable on a global scale. Groupon essentially started the daily deals industry, becoming one of the leading influencers in Chicago’s tech scene during the early stages of the startup boom in the region, and driving the launch of other startups in the region. This past July, Trunk Club got acquired by retailer Nordstrom in a deal worth $350 million, giving the Chicago startup scene another major boost and highlighting the ecosystem as a top area. Unbeknownst to many, a lot of these companies were actually recognized through the CityLIGHTS Awards before they turned into leading figures in their respective industries. This Thursday, September 18, the Illinois Technology Association (ITA) will announce the 2014 CityLIGHTS Award winners at a gala, recognizing the Chicago tech scene’s newest gamechanging startups.

“The CityLIGHTS Awards have led the way for the past 15 years – showcasing who and what will define success in years ahead,” said ITA CEO Fred Hoch, in a statement announcing the CityLIGHTS Award finalists. “This year’s finalists are no exception. We are proud to be honoring the individuals and companies who have achieved so much already for themselves and their customers.”

Started in 1997, CityLIGHTS began giving awards to companies and industry leaders in the Chicago tech scene to highlight and promote the great innovators in this ecosystem. Past winners include individuals like now-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo for his leadership of Feedburner in 2008 and companies like NAVTEQ (also in 2008) for its work on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data. This year’s finalists that will be in attendance at this Thursday’s gala were selected by a panel of 50 tech industry leaders; the winners that will be announced at the event are a result of a composite score of their industry insight and public votes (which closed last week).

Eight awards will be presented at the 15th Annual ITA CityLIGHTS Gala. Among these,the “Lighthouse Award” will be given to the best growth-stage startup that has earned more than $25 million in revenue, and the “Prominent Woman in Tech Award” will be awarded to a woman in the Chicago scene who has made an impactful role in supporting the growth of women’s influence in tech.

To learn more about the other CityLIGHTS awards and for a list of all the finalists, check out the slide deck below:



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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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