Tech roundup: Chicago's newest venture fund, Amazon in talks to open downtown office, & more

by Sam Dewey
November 12, 2015

Chicago’s newest $125 million venture fund

This week, Chicago gained a new late-stage venture fund that promises to help fuel the city’s tech growth. The $125-plus fund joins a handful of other funds in the city large enough to provide substantial Series A and B rounds of funding. Typically, startups can find seed-stage investors in the city but often rely on $5 to $10 million checks being mailed in from the coasts. The fund is being made available by Dick Kiphart Terry Diamond, Bill Wolf, and Chris Capps. [Chicago gets a new big-time venture fund: Crain’s]

 

Amazon to set up shop in downtown Chicago

This week, Crain’s reported that Seattle-based e-commerce mammoth Amazon is in negotiations to lease office space in downtown Chicago at 227 W. Monroe St. The company, who’s already built warehouses across the city to support its on-demand deliveries, is reportedly seeking about 30,000 square feet of office space, but there’s no word on what the space will be used for or how many employees will be hired. [Amazon to open office in downtown Chicago: Crain’s]

 

Vive launches in Chicago to help schedule last-minute blowouts

Vive, an app that makes it easier to book last minute blowouts at top salons, launched in Chicago this week. Vive’s on-demand, subscription-based service intelligently matches users with a fully-vetted salon that’s best suited for the task, based on location and appointment availability. Appointments can be booked as quickly as 30 minutes in advance, arming women with last-second haircare support — and helping salons fill chairs, too. [Built In Chicago]

 

Four Chicago real-estate startups team up to acquire Shark Tank failure

After a rough go-round on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’ where judges, critics, and viewers panned their idea and business model, five of Tycoon Real Estate’s former competitors grouped together to acquire the company, which aimed to make crowdfunded real estate a reality. Four of the five (Peer Realty, CrowdFranchise, American Homeowner Preservation, and EquityRoots) are Chicago based, while the fifth (Patch of Land) does business out of LA. [Why Four Chicago Startups Joined Forces to Acquire a Shark Tank Flop: Chicago Inno]

 

Walgreens announces new digital health initiatives

Walgreens, through a partnership with MDLIVE, this week announced the expansion of their Walgreens mobile app, which has expanded MDLive’s telehealth services to users in 20 additional states, bringing the total up to 25. In addition, the drugstore giant also announced the launch of an updated telehealth experience within the app, which aims to provide better functionality and integration. [Read more here]

 

Applications for the 1871’s next WiSTEM cohort are now open

On Wednesday, 1871 announced that its women-in-tech initiative, WiSTEM, is now accepting applications for its second cohort. The tech hub’s second installment of the program, which nurtures tech-centered companies with at least one woman as co-founder, is set to begin in March of 2016. 13 companies are current members in the WiSTEM program.

 

GrubHub’s new apple TV app

This week, GrubHub announced its GrubHub App for Apple TV® is now available for download, making it easier for GrubHubbers to order delivery food than ever before. Said GrubHub founder and CEO in a statement, "GrubHub is a natural fit for Apple TV. Now, when people watch their favorite shows or movies with friends and family, everyone can view menus at the same time. We're excited to help people enjoy the convenience of ordering their favorite foods online while watching their favorite content on Apple TV."

 

Peapod’s new voice activated remote shopping tool

Thanks to a partnership with California-based Hiku Labs, ordering groceries through Peapod just got a whole lot easier. On Wednesday, the company announced that its Chicagoland customers can shop and order items using Hiku’s app or voice-recognition device. After speaking into a voice-recognition device, Hiku then adds requested items to a virtual grocery list, which can be sent to a store for shipment. [Voice-command remote shopping comes to Chicago-based Peapod: Chicago Tribune]

 

Narrative Science unveils Quill for Anti-Money Laundering

This week, Chicago-based Narrative Science, which leads the market in natural language generation software for the enterprise, unveiled a new product in Quill for Anti-Money Laundering. Quill for AML, which automates many reporting and compliance processes, helps AML departments meet regulatory requirements, ensure consistency and increase scale of reporting, and improve overall transparency.

 

DialogTech launches SpamSentry to help ward off spam callers

DialogTech, the Chicago-based provider of an end-to-end call attribution and conversation platform for marketers, introduced a new application on Thursday called SpamSentry. SpamSentry is an adaptive and machine-learning app that identifies and blocks incoming spam calls and stops spam data from appearing in a marketing campaign’s analytics report.

Images via Shutterstock.

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