Built in Chicago’s October launch event started on a high note. Before introducing the five recently launched startups that were set to pitch, Matt Moog, founder of Built in Chicago, reminded the crowd about the vigor of the local startup ecosystem: “Last year there were 193 new startups in Chicago—that’s a new startup every 48 hours,” Moog said.
Kevin Willer, President and CEO of the CEC and 1871, then shared his excitement about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s recent support of the Chicago tech scene and congratulated Food Genius for being the first company to move out of 1871.
Now, on to the pitches:
Winner of the Chicago Lean Startup Challenge, Unbranded Designs was developed to fill a major gap in the marketplace. The web-based furniture company will serve as the Etsy of furniture design: they will provide a greater variety to customers, allowing them to better express themselves through furniture. A two-sided marketplace that connects design-centric consumers with the furniture design community, Unbranded Designs takes care of seeking out designers and manufacturing the unique work they produce.
TableSavvy set out to redefine fine dining in Chicago. Using flash deals the TableSavvy platform is able to fill restaurants’ empty tables while providing a discount to customers. To ensure they get in front of the correct target market, the TableSavvy team has partnered with Chicago Magazine. Fully integrating their platform into the Chicago Magazine site has helped them to create a quick, simple, real-time platform for last minute reservations that reaches a huge audience.
Kauzu is a new model aimed at small businesses that connects jobs seekers with locals who need jobs. Helping these small businesses update their tools while reducing costs and employee turnover are a few of Kauzu’s top priorities. Small businesses are the engine that drives economic growth but “for small businesses it costs 80 percent more to hire someone than for big businesses,” said Mitch Schneider, CEO of Kauzu. Kauzu’s platform helps to promote small businesses by turning outdated job listings into online advertisements and job seekers into customers. The app will also provide built in communication, feedback and analytics.
Rentalutions is an online property management platform that helps users manage property throughout the rental cycle. The quick, easy and affordable platform helps inexperienced landlords save time, money and lower risks. Some of Rentalutions features include helping landlords find and screen tenants, create customized electronic leases and collect and process monthly rental payments.
QUEsocial will move the focus of social media beyond marketing, extending social media efforts into sales, recruiting, customer service and product development. The platform will help businesses convert social activity into transactions. “For the enterprise, QUEsocial is a SAS model: it provides scalability and sustainability for continuing social business efforts. It allows us to calculate a hard ROI from social activity to business outcomes,” said Patrick Rooney, CEO of QUEsocial.