Best Consumer Web:
SpotHero - We take the stress out of parking by showing you available spots and letting you reserve with a discount, online or through our free app.
Packback - Packback helps students across the country save hundreds on textbooks every year with their revolutionary $5, on-demand eTextbook rentals.
Rocketmiles - We help folks vacation faster. Consumers get ~7K miles / booking, jet to Kauai and escape polar vortexi. Hotels find premium consumers. Programs like MileagePlus earn $Ms in new revenue.
tastytrade - An online financial network with live shows and free actionable content, designed to inform, entertain and empower investors of all levels.
BucketFeet - Our mission is to connect people through art. We collaborate with artists from around the world to create products that stand out and tell a story.
MarkITx - We’re Coders, Traders, Disrupters - rebooting the IT hardware game. Using pricing data & intelligent matching, we help you buy/sell IT gear.
Fooda - Tired of the same old lunch options? Fooda is the easiest way to get great food while at work. Fooda empowers companies to offer great employee food programs.
TempoDB - TempoDB leads the Sensor Analytics revolution & enables customers in solar, smart grid, & more to unlock value in Internet of Things data.
Hireology - Hireology’s SaaS platform helps companies leverage data to make better hiring decisions. It's time to build a better team, Chicago.
G2 Crowd - Business software ratings and reviews - driving better purchasing decisions through authentic, real-time insights from users and social data
Best New Startup
Civis Analytics - From the Obama campaign on, our mission has been clear from the start: help great organizations solve their biggest problems with Big Data.
digedu - Our kids deserve to learn with more than textbooks, chalkboards, pen and paper. digedu technology brings learning to life and unlocks the potential of every student.
DRYV - DRYV leverages the power of mobile to provide fast, convenient dry cleaning and laundry service: we pick up, clean and deliver on demand!
Opternative - The world's first online eye exam. Opternative delivers a valid prescription, signed by an ophthalmologist, for glasses and contacts."
Spring Rewards - Spring is your new best friend: automatic cash back on the credit cards you already carry. Growing Chicago's economy while saving you money!
Best Startup Co-founder(s)
Jim Alvarez (Auctions by Cellular) -My team and I are on a mission to enhance people’s lives. Our purpose as a business is to foster generosity.
Frank Muscarello and Ben Blair (Markit X) - A charismatic electronics reseller partners with a high-frequency trading technologist to build the first online exchange for used IT hardware
Mike Shannon, Kasey Gandham and Jessica Tenuta (Packback) - Packback was started by juniors in college, who turned a concept for $5, on-demand eTextbook rentals into a household name in just 2 years.
Jeremy Smith and Mark Lawrence (Spothero) - The duo transformed the parking industry. After accumulating $3,500 in parking tickets, they launched SpotHero to solve the parking problem.
Jimmy Odom, Daniela Bolzmann and Kirk Lashley (WeDeliver) - @WeDelivr's founders look to empower local businesses with delivery. They #dowork and their pedigree....is #hustle.
Best Service Provider
Hirewell:"Hi! We're Hirewell! You might remember us from such things as unsolicited messages on LinkedIn. Give us the word and we'll find your nerd!"
LaSalle Network: LaSalle Network is the leading local staffing provider, and has helped thousands of clients find top talent that fit the job requirements and the company culture.
Objective Paradigm: "Talent is key to unlocking innovation. As a services provider, we support Chicago's tech community by connecting talent with opportunity!"
VineSprout Public Relations: Chicago’s only PR firm truly dedicated to growing tech startups & promoting the Chicago spirit of innovation.
Walker Sands Communications: Results driven PR & digital marketing firm that tripled in size by providing innovative services integrating PR, social and search for Chicago’s Tech companies"
Digital Agency of the Year
Rise Interactive:Numbers are sexy. Results are sexier. Making marketers look better every day.
Ora Interactive: Premier design & dev investing in the future of Chicago tech. Ora balances fortune 100 clients while incubating the city's hottest startups
Eight Bit Studios: Vote for us, and we will work with Rahm to put vending machines in all the startup cafeterias and shorten the work day to 4pm! #WWMasonD
Manifest Digital: Manifest Digital's passion lies in creating meaningful, balanced and transformative experiences that meet both consumer and business needs.
Gorilla Group: Our people power the innovative ecommerce solutions that make us who we are. We’re not just Built in Chicago, we’re still building Chicago.
Mentor of the Year
Amanda Lannert (Jellyvision): Amanda is the CEO of Jellyvision and tells it like it is. An advisor to 1871, Starter League, and numerous startups, she’s was named TechStars Mentor of the Year in 2013.
Chuck Templeton (Impact Engine): I love working with entrepreneurs. They are the life blood of the US economy and impact entrepreneurs are the future business. #socent.
Don Bora (Eight Bit Studios): Focusing my energy on today’s youth, mentoring high school and college students. Changing people lives by teaching them to code.
Sean Johnson (Founder Equity and Digital Intent): Professor of Marketing at Kellogg. Partner at Digital Intent and Founder Equity. "The guy to talk to about growth in Chicago" ~ Logan LaHive
Tom Sosnoff (tastytrade): Tom's has dedicated his life to the do-it-yourself investor. He shares his trading expertise in a humorous, honest and useful way, for free.
Investor of the Year
Guy Turner (Hyde Park Venture Partners)
Paul Lee (Lightbank)
Rishi Shah (JumpStart Ventures)
Sam Yagan (Corazon Capital)
Stuart Larkins (Chicago Ventures)
Tech Woman of the Year
Amy Bourne (VP Product at Brad's Deals): By day, I develop products that help consumers win, as Product VP for Brad’s Deals. After work, I use my tech skills for marine conservation.
Chee-Young Kim (President at viaForensics): Leader/co-founder @viaForensics to advance mobile security worldwide with @viaProtect, free and named 100 best Android apps of 2014 @PCMag!
Kristi Ross (CEO & President at dough): Non-stop work ethic, drive and passion set Kristi apart from other innovators. She leads by example, motivates employees and women in tech.
Rachael Pfenning (VP of Operations at Sprout Social): Rachael’s leadership of strategic operations fosters bigger, better & faster results - and she's grown Sprout's team from 7 to more than 117.
Shradha Agarwal (President at ContextMedia): Shradha is an entrepreneur extraordinaire, co-founding ContextMedia at 20! She's brilliant, passionate and inspires women everywhere!
CTO of the Year
Aaron Rankin (Sprout Social): Aaron’s team delivers powerful software wrapped in a sleek interface and handles the most tweets/second/engineer this side of Sierra Nevada.
Craig Ulliott (Belly): Building Chicago's best team with strong values on engineering craft, community and product. Wants to build robots and take over the world.
Dylan Richard (Modest): Obama Tech in 2012. Moxie Best Beard 2012. Unsuckifiying commerce in Chicago in 2014. Only as good as my Team. Join us: [email protected]
Luke Shepard (eSpark Learning): I'm currently growing an engineering team to help personalize education for elementary and middle school kids. Before this, I spent most of my time at Facebook on the platform team.
Sanjib Sahoo (TradeMonster): Game changing CTO. Disrupted trading industry w/ award-winning innovations including 1st streaming web-based platform + #1 rated mobile app.
Best Software Company
BrightTag: BrightTag's real-time, cross-channel marketing tech enables brands to unlock the power of their data + deliver amazing customer experiences.
Centro: Centro tech automates the whole media buying lifecycle. In 2013, we facilitated $250mm in media spend from 600+ agencies, 3800 advertisers.
Ifbyphone: Ifbyphone empowers businesses to take control of voice-based customer engagements to improve lead attribution and shorten sales cycles.
Sprout Social: Sprout passionately builds software that manages billions of social interactions & improves customer relationships for 14K+ brands worldwide.
The SAVO Group: Used by Blackboard, Experian, Philips, Welch Allyn and others, SAVO productivity apps help sales reps sell smarter and close more deals.
Startup of the Year
Avant Credit: AvantCredit is revolutionizing the near prime lending industry. 250 awesome Chicago employees backed by $200M raised and over 35,000 happy customers in the US & UK.
Belly: This month Belly reached 3M members, 25M check-ins, 1M reward redemptions and over 120 employees, with plans to continue it’s serious growth.
MarkITx: We’re Coders, Traders, Disrupters - rebooting the IT hardware game. Using pricing data & intelligent matching, we help you buy/sell IT gear.
Packback: Supported by top Chicago investors and advisers, Packback is adding 1,000+ new users each week after their national debut on Shark Tank.
Sprout Social: A growing team of nearly 120 and 14,000+ customers worldwide, Sprout is setting the gold standard for social business software.
Best Company Culture
Belly: As Belly grows it maintains culture with happy hours, team meetings & Nerf wars. Every week someone’s rewarded for making Belly more awesome.
Brad's Deals: brads·deal·er /noun/ one who makes awesome; expert editors finding deals so consumers save; master technologists building tools to delight.
Centro: Centro was voted #1 Best Place to Work in Chicago for four years in a row by Crain’s because of our commitment employee happiness.
Sprout Social: Sprout’s team is scrappy, talented and driven - pushing the envelope & working hard every day for their customers and each other.
tastytrade: An all-hands-on-deck approach means employees work hard, value each other's contributions and have fun while building a growing company.
Best Enterprise Web Company
Emmi Solutions: We make complex health information simpler, taking care of yourself easier & care conversations more impactful.
G2 Crowd: Disrupting traditional tech analysts & helping companies make better software purchasing decisions based on real user reviews & insights.
kCura: Relativity is kCura’s web-based e-discovery platform with 94,000 users worldwide—known for its scalability, flexibility, and ease of use.
SIM Partners: Velocity allows brands with 1000’s of locations to dominate local, mobile and social search results by optimizing location specific content.
SpringCM: Who’s got moxie? Chicago-born @SpringCM – big growth on it’s way to $1B in hot #ContentManagement mkt. Vote #SpringCM for #ChicagoMoxieAward
Breakthrough Digital Company of the Year
Centro: Centro’s banner year was highlighted by $250mm in revenue, 400 employees (33% headcount growth), and the acquisition of SiteScout.
Coyote Logistics: At Coyote, we design and build our own innovative tech—we are transportation experts who also know science, engineering and app development.
Fieldglass: Fieldglass powers the flexible workforce. Global organizations use our technology to find the most innovative workers in Chicago and beyond.
GrubHub: After merging with Seamless and sending more than $1.3 billion in sales to local restaurants last year, GrubHub IPO’ed on the NYSE on April 4, 2014
GoHealth: GoHealth evolved with health care reform, coupling world-class technology and industry expertise to create one of the nation’s largest health insurance exchanges.
CEO of the Year
Amanda Lannert (Jellyvision): Triple digit growth. Very profitable. Crain’s #1 Best Place to Work for Millennials. Headcount rocketing toward 200. Killer shoes. But most importantly: you won’t find a CEO who cares so deeply about the personal and professional well-being of her staff.
Justyn Howard (Sprout Social): Justyn strategically, skillfully & fearlessly leads Team Sprout through unprecedented growth & booming popularity in a crowded marketplace
Logan LaHive (Belly): Logan’s lead Belly to 3M members, 25M check-ins and 1M reward redemptions and over 120 employees in under 3 years - and wore a zebra fedora
Rishi Shah (ContextMedia): Humble and generous, Rishi is not your average CEO. He gives of his time, energy, and money, and invests in 'people', not just great ideas.
Shawn Riegsecker (Centro): Shawn led Centro’s growth while keeping focus on core values – major reason why it is Chicago’s Best Place to Work 4 straight years.