$117M this month says Chicago's tech ecosystem is back in the groove

by Andreas Rekdal
October 3, 2016

The Chicago tech ecosystem is kicking off fall with a bang. The city’s startups raised a total of just under $117 million in funding in September, with a whopping five rounds crossing the $10 million threshold. That is a significant step up from August, which saw only $21 million in funding in total.

Four of the month’s biggest rounds were raised by startups who have already made a name for themselves on the scene, but September’s leaderboard also saw the entrance of a new stealth company. Read on to learn more about this month’s biggest closes.


5. project44, $10.5M, September 12

Investors: Chicago Ventures, Emergence Capital and Silicon Valley Bank

Bio: project44’s cloud-based logistics platform helps freight operators and other players in the shipping sector track and optimize their fleets.

News: After getting its start in the less-than-truckload freight vertical, project44 is now expanding its platform’s capabilities to cover additional parts of the shipping industry like air freight, truckload- and ocean shipping. The company will also be hiring a sales staff, despite reaching 400 percent year-over-year growth without one.


4. Catalytic, $11.1M, September 21

Investors: New Enterprise Associates, Boldstart Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Lightbank, Chicago Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels, Jai Shekhawat, Sam Yagan and Dan Ratner

Bio: Catalytic’s flagship product, Pushbot, is a platform that helps companies build, run and improve their processes.

News: Founded by former Fieldglass CTO Sean Chou and Chicago serial entrepreneur Ravi Singh, Catalytic is still in stealth mode and tight-lipped about the particulars of the product it’s working on. That said, the company’s impressive slate of early investors suggest that it’s definitely on to something.


3. InContext Solutions, $15.2M, September 21

Investors: Undisclosed

Bio: InContext Solutions uses virtual reality to demo store layouts and design concepts for companies like Walgreens, Coca-Cola and AB InBev before trying them out in brick-and-mortar stores.

News: InContext declined to comment on its most recent round of funding, but according to a September 26 press release the company has also recently entered into a new partnership with Intel to “develop innovative VR hardware and software for retail.”


2. 4C, $26M, September 20

Investors: Kayne Partners, Jump Capital and Prime Ventures

Bio: With its multi-screen analytics platform, 4C helps advertisers ensure that their social media marketing campaigns are in sync with what consumers are watching on TV.

News: The company’s $26 million Series C will be used to expand to new markets and introduce new products. 4C is hiring for both technical and sales talent.


1. Home Chef, $40M, September 29

Investors: L Catterton

Bio: Home Chef delivers recipes and fresh ingredients for home cooking to customers on a subscription basis.

News: The company’s most recent $40 million Series B comes less than five months after a $10 million Series A. In that time, the company’s employee count has also gone up from 400 to 600 across three facilities, the newest of which is located near Atlanta, Georgia.

Images via featured companies.

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