Tech roundup: Sam Yagen brings ShopRunner to Chicago, tons of funding, and more

by James Risley
July 14, 2016

Sam Yagen named CEO at ShopRunner, HQ moving to Chicago

Amazon Prime competitor ShopRunner brought on OkCupid and SparkNotes co-founder Sam Yagen as CEO. He more recently served as CEO of The Match Group and was Tinder’s director. Announced alongside the leadership change was the news that ShopRunner will move its headquarters to Chicago, where the Alibaba-backed venture will increase headcount. [Built In Chicago]

Valence Health sold for $145M

Health care consulting and technology firm Valence Health is being acquired by Arlington, Va.-based Evolent Health for $145 million. The fast-growing Valence raised nearly $50 million in the past five years and has been on a hiring spree in the last year —with a goal of bringing on 500 new people. [Built In Chicago]

11 Ronin takeover saves Matchist from outright sale

Coding freelancer marketplace Matchist was in dire financial straights last year, looking to potentially sell the company before 11 Ronin co-founder Paul Lee stepped in. Now, after taking over control of the company but keeping Matchist co-founders Stella Garber and Tim Jahn on as advisors, Matchist is back on track. That’s partially due to a shift in focus from targeting the needs of large companies to smaller firms. [Chicago Tribune]

Crafty brings cold brew to the office kegerator

Kegerators are a staple of the tech startup office space, but they may encourage a negative image of the industry. But Crafty is helping the kegerator go beyond beer with a new cold brew kegerator that puts icey-cold coffee and tea on tap in any office. The beer-focused startup partnered with Limitless Coffee & Tea to bring the brewed beverages to office taps around the city. [Press release]

Grubhub update brings detailed restaurant ratings

Grubhub is taking on Yelp with an in-depth restaurant review system in its latest update. By analyzing user feedback around order accuracy, quality and delivery time, the food delivery service will be able to show customers a more well-rounded picture of the places they’re ordering from. The new system also allows restaurants to target improvement efforts on the areas that need it most. [Chicago Tribune]

4C hires Kevin Kearns as CRO

Data science and media tech company 4C hired its first chief revenue officer this week. Former ShopperTrak CRO Kevin Kearns is joining the firm’s Chicago office to lead a team of 50 global employees tasked with meeting revenue goals across all products. The news comes on heels of 4C being named a Snapchat partner and a year after it acquired TV monitoring network Teletrax. [Press release]

Maestro Health takes the bronze for Most Innovative Company

Employee health and benefits company Maestro Health took home two bronze awards at the 14th Annual American Business Awards. The company was awarded in both Most Innovative Company of the Year and Tech Startup of the Year categories, beating out 3,400 nominated companies. [Press release]

UChicago accepting applications for South Side Pitch

The University of Chicago is now accepting applications for the South Side Pitch, with more than $7,000 in prizes up for grabs. The third annual “Shark Tank”-style event will take place on Oct. 6 at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (formerly the Chicago Innovation Exchange). Judges will hear from entrepreneurs looking to enrich South Side communities through innovative apps and services. Applications are open until Aug. 12. [Press release]

Pokemon Go set to take over Millennium Park on Sunday

Pokemon Go, a modern take on Nintendo's classic monster collecting game, has already taken people to new places and introduced them to new friends. But a new Facebook event could more than 8,000 people to Millennium Park this weekend to catch monsters and trade tips. [Facebook]

Fundings galore show health of Chicago tech market

This week also saw a ton of new funding flooding into Chicago, including a new office opening up in the city. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Wireless heart implant maker Endotronix raised $32 million to develop and test a cloud-based outpatient management system to keep track of patients’ vitals
  • Rise Interactive announced a strategic partnership with Wisconsin-based Quad/Graphics, the company announced. And as part of that partnership, the Chicago-based digital marketing agency raised $12.3 million.
  • CityBase just raised a $6.25 million Series B to help modernize the online presence of local authorities. The round was led by KDWC Ventures and builds of an earlier $4 million round.
  • Caremerge, whose platform streamlines patient information, took in $14 million this week with a round led by Insight Venture Partners. 
  • Industrial auctioneering firm Ritchie Bros. led a $3 million Series A round for Machinio, the search engine and marketplace for industrial and agricultural machinery. 
  • A new Chicago branch of San Francisco-based Embroker opened this week with space for 35 employees. There are plans to hire 10 more people this year, in part thanks to a $12.2 million funding round also announced this week. [Press release]

Images via companies, Facebook, Creative Commons 2.0, and Shutterstock.

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