Tech roundup: Salesforce acquires ÄKTA, Motorola unveils Moto 360 smartwatch 2.0, Public Good goes national, & more

by Sam Dewey
September 3, 2015


Salesforce acquires ÄKTA for undisclosed sum

Chicago-based digital design firm ÄKTA announced today it has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by Silicon Valley-based Salesforce. “Clients and employees of ÄKTA will continue to experience what makes ÄKTA unique and special, bolstered by the power of the world’s #1 CRM company,” said CEO and founder John Roa in a blog post, who will continue to lead the company and its employees.


Chicago’s donating platform Public Good goes national 

Tech A-listers Jason Kunesh and Dan Ratner have announced the national launch of Public Good, an online donation platform and social network designed to raise awareness around various causes. The Chicago-based company, which originally focused on local non-profits, now promotes over one million charities on its platform. Kunesh and Ratner have previously been founding team members on companies like Orbitz, SitterCity, and Groupon. 


Motorola unveils second version of Moto 360 smartwatch

Chicago-based Motorola announced Wednesday the second generation of the Moto 360 smartwatch, which comes in men’s, women’s, and fitness styles and promises more features and longer battery life. With customizable colors and materials, the smartwatch attempts to merge high fashion and high tech. [Motorola announces updated Moto 360 smart watch: Chicago Tribune]


VISANOW heads to new headquarters

VISANOW, a provider of online immigration services, announced that it has relocated across town to 230 W. Monroe St. The 30,000-square-foot new headquarters houses VISANOW’s 130-plus employees. The company, which has been in the space for about a month, said it expects to quadruple its sales team size and see revenue increases by 75 percent by the end of the year.


Trunk Club opens up shop in Highland Park

Chicago darling Trunk Club has quietly expanded to the suburbs, according to the Chicago Tribune. The move to Highland Park marks its second location, where the company can offer its customized styling services in person (as opposed to the online experience it traditionally offers). The move follows a busy summer for Trunk Club, which also announced earlier this season that they’re expanding their subscription service to women’s apparel. [Trunk Club branches out to suburbs in new strategy on custom clothes: Chicago Tribune]


Here are this week's need-to-know hiring announcements

On Wednesday, VISANOW announced that Jamie Womack has joined the company as CMO and will oversee all B2B and B2C marketing strategies for the Chicago-based provider of online immigration services.

Chicago healthtech company OpenMarkets announced Wednesday the appointment of a new Chief Technology Officer, Michael Fineberg, who will own OpenMarket’s tech strategy as they move forward, bringing more than twenty years of technology experience to the table.

ÄKTA, a Chicago-based consulting agency that specialized in digital design, user experience, and development, has hired award-winning designer and brand strategist Sara Frisk as Vice President of Brand Strategy.

Chicago-based Oranj, a tech platform designed to help financial advisors better serve their clients, announced this week they have filled three senior roles for their headquarters in Chicago. Don Bodnar, a software developer with more than 20 years experience with companies like Options Away and and JP Morgan Chase Bank, has been appointed as the company’s first ever CTO. Greg Sauer has been named vice president of business development, whose 15-plus years of experience in the financial services industry will help inform Oranj’s direction. Meanwhile, Ben Pera joins the team as senior data scientist after years of experience with data analytics and wealth management. [Built In Chicago]


Saucey raises $4.5M seed round, brings the party to Chicago

Saucey, the LA-based alcohol delivery platform, announced they will be expanding their services to Chicago after a $4.5 million seed round. The round was led by Blumberg Capital with participation from Structure Capital and Altpoint Ventures. Saucey’s Chicago service will be available from The Loop to Wrigleyville, as far west as Wicker Park, West Town and the West Loop. [Built In Chicago]


GoHealth acquires neighboring Creatix to amp up technical chops

Chicago-based GoHealth, which provides a digital marketplace for private health insurance, announced it has acquired a neighboring tech company in Chicago. GoHealth’s deal with Creatix, a digital design and custom software development agency, means that GoHealth’s insurance marketplace will have access to a new pool of technical chops to fuel innovation in both the company and the realm of digital health insurance. [Built In Chicago]


Narrative Science unveils enhanced version of Quill Engage

Narrative Science this week released an enhanced version of Quill Engage to extend their lead in natural language generation innovation. The new and improved Quill Engage is an application that automatically translates an ocean of Google Analytics data into reports your team can understand and act upon. Quill Engage’s digestible reports include all the need-to-know information about your site traffic, from content engagement and sources to paid search and audience metrics. [Built In Chicago]

Have a tip for us or know of a company that deserves coverage? Email us via [email protected].

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