Who is Chicago’s Hottest Showcasing Startup? 2014

Little known fact: the only thing that got the Midwest through the polar vortex was the heat emanating from the Chicago startup scene.  No need to fact check that.

That’s why in early February Tech Cocktail is headed back to the Windy City to showcase a fresh set of sizzling hot Chicago-area startups.  Join us at 1871 to interact first hand with the dozen-ish early stage companies making the biggest wave in your ‘hood.

We’ll have a gaggle of startups on hand showcasing their goods, but before the event kicks off, we want to know what you think: Who is Chicago’s Hottest Showcasing Startup?  Let us know your thoughts by answering the poll at the end of this post (ends at 6:00pm local time on the day of the event ).

The winner will be announced live at the event and will receive invitation to an upcoming Tech Cocktail Week, recognition in the editor’s note of the weekly newsletter and added press recognizing the honor of being elected Chicago’s Hottest Showcasing StartupDon’t miss out.

Who is Chicago’s Hottest Showcasing Startup?

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  • dryv – Dryv is a modern and convenient dry cleaning and laundry service. We leverage the power of mobile to provide the most convenient pickup and delivery experience. People love us because our Dryvers are friendly, we’re available nights and weekend, and our cleaning is 5-star qualit. Let us make your Dry Cleaning “situation” better!
  • empeopled – There are 2.5 billion people on the Internet – approximately 40% of the world’s population. Yet, aside from celebrities and our family members, we don’t really know who’s who. Who should we listen to? What are they knowledgeable about? And even more importantly, how can we make ourselves heard? empeopled attempts to solve these questions by using peer-review, not only to stratify content similar to the way Reddit does, but to stratify users based on their contributions.
  • Freebie – For brands: Freebie provides an alternative to traditional advertising. Freebie gets the product or service directly into the hands of consumers while also generating social buzz and engagement around the brand/product. For consumers: Freebie allows you to use your social influence to try new products and services for free. Social currency has value.
  • GimmeAnother  Today, online retailers give their customers two options when shopping: they can either purchase a product, or they can abandon their shopping cart. With 65% of shopping carts being abandoned, GimmeAnother steps in to offer a crucial third option: saving the product for a later re-order. The customer no longer needs to make an impulse decision online by purchasing a product. Additionally, GImmeAnother is changing the way retailers capture their customers. Previously, retailers have had to fight for attention through Google and other advertising platforms. Now, all retailers need to do is partner with GimmeAnother to allow their customers to save their favorite products. By doing so, GimmeAnother is eliminating the need to spend (sometimes) thousands of dollars on ad space.
  • MiCard – There are many apps that allow the user to input stats and track them on their own. Additionally, there are apps that allow coaches to track players stats and manage their team. MiCard is different, Players own their stats forever. MiCard offers an easy way to share with family and friends, the fun of trading your MiCard and the opportunity to collect MiCards to “See How You Stack Up.”
  • OpenMarkets – We help healthcare providers better organize their supply chain, and using direct cost-reductions as an incentive and a reward for their utilization of our technology applications. Supply chain expenses represent an average of $67 million per year for an average hospital, and bringing this cost down is required for any hospital to survive healthcare reform.
  • Paganics – Feeding our soil which is so badly depleted. We are answering a waste problem by diverting from landfill stream. The more important problem we are dealing with is how to incorporate green living into people’s lifestyle naturally and without stress. This is about creating products and ways to allow local living and sustainable ideas to be supported. Our goal is to support the trash to healthy soil component often forgotten about when farm-to-table restaurants are discussed.
  • Point Drive – PointDrive is a smarter way to present content. Delivering files and insight on customer activity so you have smarter sharing, stronger relationships.
  • Reverb.com – Creating a place where musicians and music shops can come to buy and sell gear affordably (3.5% vs ebay’s 10% or amazon’s 15%). Creating price transparency through our price guide so that people know what their gear is worth, or when a good deal is on sale. Curating the experience through weekly content and gear pairings.
  • SayHey! – Introducing yourself – whether it be at a bar or work conference – can be difficult. It’s a social experience that, like all things in life, takes practice and requires experience to master. SayHey! aims to assist you and enhance one’s introduction experience by providing daily Icebreakers (think Coke vs. Pepsi, Cubs vs. Sox, etc.) that act a great way to start the conversation in a digital manner. Additionally, there are times when you don’t know who is at the same restaurant as you, or in your hotel, and you simply miss out on a great opportunity. By checking into SayHey!, that connection is now possible.
  • Symbiosis Health – Have you ever tried to get a straight answer from a doctor or hospital about how much a medical procedure would cost? Now imagine the pain of millions of consumers that end up high deductible plans and have to pay for medical services out of pocket. The situation is getting only more common with the implementation of Obamacare. Where should they turn? Symbiosis! Think of it as Expedia for medical services. Consumers can comparison shop and lock-in prices before their appointment.
  • Valloc – Valloc solves problems that it competitors do not provide. Competitors are more focused on the “social” aspect and litter a user’s profile with tons of images and ads. Valloc provides personal and collaborative bookmarking with these features: 1. Easy-to-use, simple web pages for organizing all your favorite sites that you frequently use. Any number of pages may be created 2. Pages will be located at a simple, easy-to-remember URL 3. Valloc link-pinning browser button. Sits outside a webpage, at the browser level, so any webpage can be pinned to page, in a fast 3-click process.


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Written by:
When Zach Davis isn't getting lost in the mountains, he is hustling from Boulder, CO as Tech Cocktail's Director of Marketing. He is the author of Appalachian Trials, a book chronicling the mindset necessary for thru-hiking all 2,181 miles of the Appalachian Trail, a feat he accomplished in 2011. Zach is a green tea enthusiast, die-hard Chicago sports fan, and avid concert-goer. Follow Zach on Twitter: @zrdavis.
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