Tech roundup: Hiring sprees, fundings, acquisitions and more

by Andreas Rekdal
March 2, 2017

Guaranteed Rate will add 280 employees in Chicago this year…

Online mortgage provider Guaranteed Rate is expanding its offices to prepare for adding 280 new employees in Chicago this year. The expansion comes on the tail end of a record-breaking 2016, during which the company originated close to $23 billion in mortgages, according to Crain’s. In the past five years, the company’s nationwide headcount has doubled to more than 3,000, and as more consumers get comfortable shopping for financial products online, the company is doubling down on its internet-driven strategy. [Crain’s]

… and Shiftgig’s adding more employees, too

On-demand workforce startup Shiftgig is also boosting its core team. After ending last year with around 200 full-time employees, the startup plans to add another 100 members in 2017, half of which will be based in Chicago. The company will be doubling its product and engineering teams, and is currently hiring for a Chicago-based CTO. The company is also launching its services for a new industry: e-commerce warehouses. "In Q4 of 2016, we tested with a few e-commerce distribution clients with good results,” said CEO and co-founder Eddie Lou. “This year we plan to ... target a growth initiative in e-commerce, distribution and logistics warehouses in several of our cities."

Outcome Health just got more room to grow

Chicago healthtech pillar Outcome Health has seen tremendous growth over the past few years, and according to Crain's, the company is about to have room to grow a lot more. Outcome Health, which rebranded from ContextMedia at the beginning of this year, has leased nearly 400,000 square feet in River North, in the building that used to host the American Medical Association. [Crain’s]

Uptake gets into renewable energy

On Thursday, Uptake announced the launch of a program to help energy companies monitor and streamline their wind energy operations. Uptake Wind's first two clients are both subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway Energy. According to the Chicago Tribune, Uptake has been working with the Warren Buffett-owned company in developing the solution for the past year. [Chicago Tribune]

PartySlate raises $1.6M for event planning platform

PartySlate, a startup that connects consumers and event planners with vendors, like caterers, designers and photographers, announced on Friday that it has raised $1.6 million in funding. Hyde Park Venture Partners led the round, in which Hyde Park Angels and InvestHER Ventures also participated, among others. Founded in 2015, the 12-person startup raised a $1 million seed round in 2015, also from HPVP. [Crain's]

AddStructure lands $1.4M seed round to simplify mobile shopping

Also on Friday, AddStructure, a Chicago-based voice search startup, announced that it has landed a $1.4 million seed round led by Dundee Venture Capital. The startup will use the funding to continue development of a white label search system that lets retailers offer voice shopping from any device with a microphone. Other participants in the round include Techstars Ventures, Best Buy and Matchstick Ventures.

Bloq picks up Bay Area blockchain analytics startup

Bloq, a provider of enterprise blockchain technology whose partners include PwC Australia, announced on Monday that it has acquired Skry, another blockchain startup. Based in Palo Alto, CA, Skry provides blockchain analytics solutions that help its users detect anomalous traffic and transactional patterns in blockchain networks. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. [Press release]

Raise enters partnership with CashStar

Raise, the Chicago company behind the world’s largest used gift card marketplace, announced on Tuesday that it has entered into a partnership with CashStar. CashStar powers the digital giftcard solutions of more than 300 global brands, including Best Buy, Crate & Barrel and Starbucks. The partnership will bring on-demand gift cards from CashStar’s network onto Raise’s marketplace. [BusinessWire]

Retrofit partners with Monj to make your life healthier

This week, Retrofit, which offers personalized weight management solutions, announced a partnership with Monj, a California-based nutrition startup. Together, the two companies will work to offer users holistic guidance on how to lead healthier lives and avoid behaviors that lead to weight gain over time. [Press release]

GoPuff is now delivering 24/7

GoPuff, an on-demand snack and essentials delivery service that came to Chicago this summer, announced on Tuesday that its services are now available 24/7. With a guaranteed delivery time of 30 minutes or less, GoPuff wants to be your go-to app for when you’re midway through a Planet Earth marathon at 2 a.m. and in desperate need of Cheetos or Ben & Jerry’s.

Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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