Tech roundup: City Council passes Airbnb regulations, Brad's Deals' new accelerator & more

by Andreas Rekdal
June 23, 2016

City Council passes Airbnb legislation

On Wednesday, the Chicago City Council passed a new set of rules to regulate the booming online home rental industry pioneered by companies like Airbnb. Parties in the 43-7 vote debated fiercely over whether the new rules are strict enough. The new rules limit the number of units that can be rented out in a single building, and allows registered voters in some neighborhoods to gather signatures to ban new listings. New fees will also be introduced, including a four percent tax on each rental to fund services for homeless Chicagoans and a $60 fee for listing a property to be spent on enforcing the new regulations. [Chicago Tribune]


Brad’s Deals to open tech accelerator for women

On Tuesday, Chicago online deals purveyor Brad’s Deals announced the launch of a women’s tech accelerator. Inductees will be co-located with the Brad’s Deals team, receiving guidance from experts at the company, including COO Amy Bourne, SEO manager Rebecca Lehmann, Senior iOS Developer Holly Schilling and UX Designer Jessica Wynne. The program was created — and is led by — women at the company.


Coding bootcamps to graduate 18k students this year

A new study from New York-based course report estimates that U.S. coding bootcamps will graduate 18,000 students this year, in addition to the 61,000 computer science majors coming out of the nation’s undergraduate institutions. The report also finds that the number of bootcamp providers in the country has risen from 67 to 91, distributed across 34 states. Coding bootcamps are hailed by many as a way to close the gap between supply and demand in the engineering market — the Department of Labor estimates that there will be 1 million more computer science jobs than computer science graduates by 2020. [Built In Chicago]


SiNode gets $4M to build better batteries

Chicago startup SiNode Systems announced on Monday that it has been awarded a $4 million contract to adapt and develop its battery technology for electric vehicles. Battery capacity and cost remains one of the biggest obstacles to bringing electric vehicles into the mainstream, with the battery pack of a Tesla Model S weighing a whopping 1,200 lbs. SiNode’s technology aims to make batteries both smaller and less expensive. [Chicago Tribune]


Swap.com rolls out men’s apparel line

Boilingbrook online consignment company Swap.com announced on Wednesday that it is getting into menswear. While sales of women’s clothing in brick-and-mortar stores outpace that of menswear five to one, an increasing number of men are shopping for apparel online. “A common perception of the male shopper is one of getting in and out of the store as quickly as possible,” said Director of Merchandising Jesse Gonzales in a statement. “At Swap.com, even the biggest mall-o-phobe can effortlessly find gently-used clothing by tailoring his search to generate results that suit his specific needs.”


Noted launches support for Spotify, Apple Music

Next week, Noted is launching a new feature that integrates its social music discovery app with Spotify, Apple Music and SongSync. The new features will make it easier for users to add the songs their friends share to playlists in the streaming services they already use.


Rightpoint expands Chicago HQ to accommodate growth

Technology and design firm Rightpoint announced on Tuesday that it is expanding its 29 North Wacker Drive offices. In total, the new space will sit at more than 21,000 square feet to accommodate its growing staff. The company acquired Boston’s Agency Oasis in April and has hired more than 80 people since 2015 with plans to hire 25 more this year. Following the expansion, Rightpoint will occupy the entire fourth floor and most of the fifth floor of 29 Wacker.


All the new hires!

A whole crop of Chicago tech companies brought on new people in leadership roles this week. Among them:

Cars.com: Tony Zolla, Chief Product Officer (formerly of Redbox and Ticketmaster)
Motorola: Ruben Castano, Consumer Experience Design
Northwestern University: Jim Wicks, Segal Design Institute Faculty Member (formerly of Motorola)
OfficeLuv: Kimberly Miller, CEO (formerly of Kapow); Lauren Polkow, Head of Product (formerly of Grubhub)
SpotHero: Anthony Broad-Crawford, Chief Product Officer (formerly of Fooda and GiveForward)
VISANOW: Mahi Inampundi, VP of Product and Technology (formerly of DRIVIN)

Images via Shutterstock and listed companies.

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