Chicago has become one of the most interesting tech hubs in the US and the world. Already known as the tech capital of the Midwest it offers startups advantages for growth and a stable foundation. Chicago is not trying to be Silicon Valley or New York. Its most interesting startups are creating a Chicago way of doing things and it’s working!
There is so much potential and room to grow in the windy city, creating the right combination of factors for success. Chicago hosts established companies, growth partners, talent and tech culture. This has made it possible for these companies to innovate, build and shine with their ideas and products.
So, what are the most eye-catching interesting startups in Chicago?
Cambio – Pre-seed – $500K
Cambio is a fintech startup looking to help users improve their credit scores, reduce debt and exit financial hardships. The company has a goal of adding 1Million credit points to its services.
Cambio’s foundation comes from its own CEO Blesson Abraham’s story of credit loss. In 2015, Blesson’s financial situation forced his account to go into collection and destroyed his credit score.
This prevented him from accessing lending opportunities and took 4 years to reverse. Following that experience Blesson became committed to helping others overcome those circumstances.
Cambio has so far raised $500K in pre-seed investment. It has also been accepted as part of the prestigious Y Combinator. Its latest financial innovation tool is Cambio Co-Pilot. An AI-powered assistant that helps users negotiate and navigate debt collection calls in real-time.
This is a great example of turning real-life experiences into useful products and using technology to improve users’ lives. We can’t wait to see the change Cambio creates!
Aqua cultured foods – Seed – $7.8 Million
Aqua Cultured Foods is food tech at its best. Creating a sustainable fungi-based alternative to seafood that mimics taste and texture. The company has developed proprietary formulas for sushi-grade options for tuna, whitefish, squid and shrimp.
The company addresses one of the most impactful issues in our food supply, the depletion of our oceans and fish banks. Demand continues to grow despite the warning that we will have depleted wild seafood resources by 2023. Enter the seafood-tech alternatives like Aqua Cultured Food.
The Chicago company just came from a successful $5.5 Million seed raise to take its product to mainstream markets. There is an increasing interest from investors in seafood alternatives. As it is one of the most essential gastronomic ingredients and hasn’t gotten as much attention as the meat alternative.
Aqua Cultured Food has also cemented its commitment to building in Chicago, having acquired a 5,000-square-foot food-grade facility in Chicago for its pilot facility. A great catch for the city!
Logik.io – Series A – $26 Million
Logik.io customizes and simplifies B2B buying processes to make purchases easy and straightforward using intelligent rules, guided quoting, and other advanced sales tools. Offering high-performance headless configuration to make selling a streamlined process.
The company helps enterprises connect their customers to the perfect product quicker, thanks to intelligent product guides and recommendations. Creating a better experience for users and sales.
Logik just closed a $16 Million Series A round led by Emergence Capital, with participation from other investors, to further develop product and scale-up plans.
This Chicago-native company has experienced incredible growth reporting a 500% year-over-year growth. We’d logically bet this is an interesting startup to watch in Chicago and beyond.
Trala – Series A – $19.8 Million
Trala is an EdTech startup focusing on music education and innovation. The company is on a mission to make music education more accessible through tech.
It’s developing a platform and music school, equipped with technology that can listen to students playing instruments to provide accurate and helpful feedback.
Trala has already gained the support of important names in EdTech like Duolingo’s CEO Dylan Field, and others. This same year the company closed a Series A funding round of $8M led by Seven Seven Six to further its growth plans.
The company is growing in users and expects to employ over 300 musicians in the next 2 years. An admirable effort to give people the chance to access music education in a meaningful way.
Obie – Series B – $39.2 Million
Obie is a startup that focuses on simplifying rental insurance for real estate investors, and landlords. Cutting through many of the unnecessary traditional practices Obie offers a tech-forward alternative to insurance and risk management for rentals.
The company is able to offer landlords and investors instant binding quotes from partner insurance platforms. Consequently cutting on time, cost and processes.
This Chicago native just raised additional backing of $25.5 Million in a Series B round led by Battery Ventures, with participation from other real estate investors.
Obie has seen a remarkable 300% growth in the past two years, and with an ever-expanding real estate market there seems to be no cap for that potential.
Insurtech is definitely not the sexiest of the tech niches but it is a reliable one since most people need at least one form of insurance in their life. The development of new tech to cut unnecessary confusion and hassle has a significant impact on users and gains popularity quickly.
Hallow – Series C – $105 Million
Hallow is a faith-based Catholic prayer and meditation platform that helps users connect with their faith and God. This year the platform reached more than 10 million downloads on the Apple Store, becoming the first religious app to feature in the Top 10.
CEO Alex Jones launched the app back in 2008, after having experienced a distancing from his faith. Jones grew up catholic and had an interest in both his religion and secular meditation practices. Uniting both gave way to Hallow being funded.
Hallow closed on a considerable $50 Million Series C funding round led by Goodwater Capital to make its total funding go over the $100 Million mark. Presently, the company is expanding rapidly in both market growth and headcount.
A leap of faith that is working out wonderfully for Jones and his team!
Red Shelf – Series unknown – $58.1 Million
Red Shelf is an EdTech platform that makes it easier for students to access materials digitally and at a lower price. The company is partnered with students, faculty and publishers to complete its mission.
Born in Lincoln Park, Chicago the company expects to make 100% digital course material available to students across colleges and universities. Digitalizing content straight from publishers and integrating it directly with institutions’ learning programs or platforms.
Red Shelf also closed on a $25 Million funding round this year which will further its campus-wide offering. Getting education material to students at more affordable prices and quickly.
Education solutions have been on the rise in the last few years with a considerable push for digitalization after the pandemic. The star pupil spot is open for Red Shelf to take and there are plenty of As to be handed out in the niche.