Tech roundup: Allstate acquires device insurance provider, Dolly delivers trees, and more

by James Risley
December 1, 2016

Allstate acquires device protection service SquareTrade

Chicagoland insurance company Allstate paid $1.4 billion for SquareTrade, a consumer protection plan provider. SquareTrade, which provides plans through partnerships with major retailers, is being acquired from a group of shareholders including Bain Capital Private Equity and Bain Capital Ventures. San Francisco-based SquareTrade quadrupled revenues in the past five years and provides protection plans for 25 million connected devices. [Press release]


Dolly is delivering Christmas trees this holiday season

Dolly, a startup that moves bulky items for you, is now delivering Christmas trees on demand through its app. Users can choose the type of tree, its height and even if they want a stand, and Dolly will deliver it. You can even save a few bucks by helping to bring it up to your apartment. [Dolly blog]


Pritzker Group expands to LA

Pritzker Group Venture Capital is sending two employees to Los Angeles as the group launches its West Coast offices. Partner Gabe Greenbaum and Vice President Peter Liu are heading to the new office, which puts them closer to the more than 20 companies in the area that Pritzker has already invested in, like Dollar Shave Club, Hello Giggles and Honest Company. [Chicago Inno]


Machinio expands to Europe amid ballooning revenues

Used machinery marketplace Machinio has tripled revenues, along with with web views and buyer requests, the company announced this week. The company recently launched its service across Europe after raising $3 million earlier this year. [Press release]


Second Shift is a new coworking space focused on the community

A new coworking space is coming to Logan Square with a focus on the community. Second Shift looks to expand beyond the crowds that normally colonize coworking spaces downtown, helping to energize the entrepreneurship community with fresh talent that might be turned off by traditional coworking spaces. Community-building activities will accompany traditional coworking amenities, including yoga, community lunches and game nights. [Chicago Inno]


Capital One hosts graduation for young coders

Capital One’s C1 Coders program is wrapping up Thursday, and the company is hosting a graduation program for the Chicago students who developed their own apps over the past 10 weeks. Students, who are all in sixth, seventh or eighth grade, are now more prepared to take on the challenges of a modern workplace. [Press release]


November finishes with $31.4M in fundings

Three fundings in the past 10 days helped November fundings finish strong, accounting for nearly half of the month’s total money raised.

  • Civis Analytics plans to expand across the board with a fresh $22 million raised from Drive Capital, Alphabet’s Eric Schmidt and others.
  • ItemMaster’s $7.5 million Series A will help the company double its headcount over the next year as the company moves out of its incubation space at Peapod’s headquarters.
  • Compliance software maker LogicGate completed a $1.9 million seed round with participation from Chicago Ventures, OCA Ventures, Hyde Park Venture Partners and others.


3 new executive hires round out the week

Three Chicago companies hired new executives this week, all in their financial and sales departments.

  • Former HERE CFO Bob Burns is joining DialogTech as its new chief financial officer. Burns oversaw HERE's divestiture from Nokia in 2015 — a $3 billion transaction.
  • NextCapital hired Matt Clink as chief investment officer. Previously, Clink served a similar role at Aon Hewitt Investment Services, overseeing $50 billion in investments.
  • Caremerge brought on Jeffrey Niles (above) as vice president of sales and marketing, leading a growing team that is putting to use the firm’s recent $14 million funding round.

Images via featured companies, social media and Shutterstock.

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