Tech roundup: Groupon acquires LivingSocial, Google Fiber's new game plan, & more

by Andreas Rekdal
October 27, 2016

Groupon scoops up LivingSocial

On Wednesday, Groupon announced its intention to acquire Washington, D.C.-based deals site LivingSocial. A onetime Groupon competitor, LivingSocial currently employs 200 people and is expected to bring one million new customers to Groupon through the acquisition. The terms of the deal, which is expected to close in November, were not disclosed. [Chicago Tribune]

 

Google likely to prioritize wireless over fiber in Chicago

The Google Fiber initiative, which made waves last December when it announced it was bringing its high-speed internet project to Chicago, announced on Tuesday that those plans have been put on hold. The company is likely to prioritize high-speed wireless connectivity instead, which would make the project of extending the reach of high-speed internet far less capital-intensive. [Bloomberg Technology]

 

InContext Solutions gets $15.2M from Intel and Beringea

Chicago virtual reality startup InContext Solutions announced on Monday that its most recent $15.2 million round of funding came from Intel Capital and Beringea. InContext Solutions builds VR simulations of brick-and-mortar setups, allowing brands to test out store concepts without building a physical demo storefront. The approach makes developing new in-store experiences both cheaper and quicker. [Built In Chicago]

 

Occasion nabs $1.25M seed round

Chicago startup Occasion, which helps group experience providers take bookings and market their services, landed a $1.25M seed round on Tuesday. Hyde Park Angels led the round, with participation from Bluestein & Associates, among others. Occasion plans to bolster its team with hires in sales, engineering and customer success. [Built In Chicago]

 

Shiftgig breaks more than a quarter million shifts delivered

On-demand shift marketplace Shiftgig hit a big milestone on Wednesday as Pavida Chaweevong worked the company’s 250,000th shift as a runner at Citi Field in New York. Launched in 2014, Shiftgig recently made news by acquiring BookedOut, a Chicago-based competitor that specialized in the experiential marketing space. The company moved into new headquarters in River North last month in anticipation of further growth. [Press release]

 

Caterpillar opens doors at Chicago office

In a move to attract tech-savvy talent and foster in-house digital innovation, Caterpillar officially opened a new office in the Merchandise Mart last Thursday. The Peoria, IL-based heavy machinery titan told the Chicago Tribune that 1871 and Chicago’s robust university system were major draws for the company. Currently staffed with 10 people, the Merchandise Mart office expects to reach a headcount of 45 over the next 18 months. [Chicago Tribune]

 

The League lands in the second city

The League, a San Francisco-based dating startup, announced on Wednesday that it is bringing its invite-only dating app to Chicago. The company strives to match successful, well-educated singles with each other. CEO and founder Amanda Bradford told the Chicago Tribune that the company’s selective approach helps daters avoid awkward questions about employment and ambition and move on to more interesting conversations. [Chicago Tribune]

 

Amazon will now deliver your groceries

Amazon Fresh, a grocery delivery service from the Seattle e-commerce company, launched in Chicago on Wednesday. The service lets customers order same-day or next-day deliveries, and is available as a $14.99 monthly add-on to a Prime membership. After that, deliveries are free for orders exceeding $40. [Press release]

Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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