Inside 10 of the hottest holiday parties in Chicago tech

Andreas Rekdal

For many, the holiday season is a rare opportunity to bond with coworkers outside of the office. Startups and tech companies tend to prioritize culture and offer far more frequent company-sponsored shindigs than their corporate cousins, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on their holiday celebrations. To see what we mean, take a look at how 10 of Chicago’s hottest tech companies rang in the season this year.’s “Holiday Showdown” featured three full live music sets by dozens of bands composed entirely of Reverb employees. Crowd favorites from the night included a cover of Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8er Boi” performed by International Seller Engagement Manager Rachel Geistfeld (top), Founder and CEO David Kalt’s rendition of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” and CTO Yan Pritzker’s impassioned version of Rage Against the Machine’s “Guerilla Radio” (bottom).


Devbridge Group transformed its office space into a lavish casino for a James Bond-themed holiday party. Several 007s made appearances throughout the night, as did Austin Powers supervillain Dr. Evil. Blake Vogt of America’s Got Talent fame also made a cameo, wowing the crowd with some awesome magic tricks.


For its annual holiday party, Guaranteed Rate packed the Chicago House of Blues. The celebration featured holiday cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and live music by Chicago’s own South of 80, which is known for serving up covers of bands like Mumford and Sons, The Killers and Pearl Jam, to mention a few.


PowerReviews decided to go glamorous for this year's holiday party with a Great Gatsby theme. Hosted at Salvage One, a combined event space and antique furniture store, the party had everything from food and signature cocktails to dancing and fabulous costumes.


Holiday party? Try holiday parties. has been celebrating all December long, kicking the month off with ugly sweater day and cookie exchange before hosting a toy drive to benefit Lurie Children’s Hospital. The team also got together for a white elephant gift exchange before wrapping the season up with a holiday party at Revolution Brewing.


Signal celebrated its successful 2016 at Bottom Lounge — a West Loop spot known for underground music. Signalites enjoyed festive cocktails and delicious food, built their own s'mores, captured memories in a photo booth, and cut a rug on the dance floor. Spouses, partners and friends were also invited to join in on the fun.


Hosted at iO Theater, CraftJack's 2016 holiday shindig was open to employees and their favorite plus-ones. To add to the festive spirit, the company supplied custom tree ornaments that employees could take home, along with bright red toolbox centerpieces with photos from its six year history. The evening culminated with a hilarious Shakespearean improv show that's said to have left the audience in stitches.


G2 Crowd celebrated the holiday season and a successful 2016 at a hip loft venue in the West Loop, with food, drink and music. To mark the occasion, the company’s founders also presented the coveted “Golden Goose of the Year” award — a peer-nominated recognition of an employee who went above and beyond for the team and who exemplifies G2 Crowd’s values.


For many of us, the holiday season is all about tradition, and’s got one that will make Chicago sports fans green with envy. On December 1, for the fifth year running, the team went to the United Center to watch the Chicago Blackhawks from two suites, with lots of great food, drinks and laughs. That the Hawks beat the New Jersey Devils in overtime that night probably didn’t hurt, either.


Why pick just one way to celebrate the holidays? Smokeball’s celebration this year included a white elephant gift exchange, a festive company-wide dinner and drinks celebration, and getting together with the company’s beloved clients. The team also set aside time to give back to those in need during the season.


Images via listed companies.

How does your company celebrate the holidays? Send us a tip or tweet us @BuiltInChicago

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