The 2012 Top 100 Digital Companies in Chicago

Maria Christopoulos Katris

We are thrilled to unveil The Top 100 Digital Companies list for Chicago. Forbes' contributor Kelly Reid published a brilliant article this morning on the Infographic, Chicago's dynamic and welcoming ecosystem, and the strengths of Chicago's digital technology companies and people.

Note: This list is based solely on Chicago-based employee headcount.

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Our sincere apologies for inadvertently missing the following companies in 2012:

Critical MassDesignkitchen, Optionscity Software, CCC Information Services, RECSOLU, AKOO, OptionsHouse

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Cambria Rhay
This is a very interesting list. I never realized how many companies that I know were at the top of the list. I wonder how many employees are behind each digital company? I also would love to know how well Chicago is doing with digital companies compared to other states? Cambria Rhay |
Brandi Kurtyka
Personally, I think this is a wicked cool list. Again, well done BIC. It's interesting to see a compiled list of employers by headcount and also encouraging that these companies only scratch the surface of the growing number of digital companies in the area.
Jen Glawe
When were the employee headcount numbers retrieved. I know that our organization's headcount is up by almost 20 over what is included in the Infographic.
Maria Christopoulos Katris
Chris validated your numbers on May 14th. Given the nature of our industry, and the difficulty in aggregating data from over 100 companies for the very first time it was really quite challenging to be any more timely. Please be sure to update your company profile page to ensure the information on our site stays updated moving forward.
Jen Glawe
When were the employee headcount numbers retrieved. I know that our organization's headcount is up by almost 20 over what is included in the Infographic.
Celia Jones
I agree with the comments below. The title of this list, "Top 100 Digital Companies," is very misleading given that the only criteria is number of employees, and the omissions of key players in this market, including 37 Signals, Critical Mass and Designkitchen, indicates a lack of due diligence on the part of an otherwise great organization. It's a shame in this digital age that an infographic such as this can't be amended in light of the companies that were overlooked.
Ben Wallach
Here's a shameful plug for ( or We are "only" 12 people strong so I guess we don't qualify for this list, but last year we were 523 on INC's list of fastest growing companies. We are self funded, profitable, and a technology/digital "disruptor" in our space.
Marcy Capron Vermillion
Agreeing with Andrew and Seth - the title is misleading. Headcount can be an interesting or sometimes important headcount, but it's just a part of the puzzle. Plus, a lot of digital companies use a ton of contractors (who help drive revenue) but are low on actual W-2employees (I know when it comes to Blueline companies, that's often the case.) But interested to see more infographics like this though!
Marcy Capron Vermillion
And perhaps "Top 100 Digital Employers" is the way to go for this chart?
Maria Christopoulos Katris
Thanks all. Your comments have been noted and we will edit for future editions. Appreciate the feedback.
Seth Mindel
I think the issue is in the title, calling it Top 100 Companies is misleading.
Maria Christopoulos Katris
Thanks Andrew. We completely understand this is only one metric, but the best metric we could find that is publicly available and accurate to depict job creation. 37Signals is an amazing company and an icon in Chicago. We will work toward incorporating other metrics in the future.
Andrew Wicklander
I'm a huge fan of Built in Chicago and everything you all are doing. But I don't understand how in the world number of employees is the metric you are using to determine the 'top 100' companies in the digital community. Especially in the digital community, number of employees is meaningless. Why not numbers of users? Or influence across the web? Or any number of metrics that means something more than the number of people that are employed by a company. My guess is that half the companies on this list are using the Ruby on Rails framework, and yet the company that built and released the framework (37signals) doesn't make the list? According to this logic, if Instagram was built in Chicago, they too wouldn't have made the list. Again, I'm a huge fan, but the metrics used to determine this list seems to be flawed.

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