Life after Techstars: 6 startups thriving in Chicago

April 12, 2017

TechStars Chicago has enjoyed an illustrious run since it first came to town in 2013. Dozens of companies have graduated from its program, with some top brass alumni even being acquired in recent years (looking at you, GiveForward, Food Genius, WeDeliver and SimpleRelevance). 

Applications closed for the 2017 class closed earlier this month, and we’re eagerly awaiting the announcement of the next cohort. Until then, here’s a quick trip down memory lane — and a glimpse at six of our favorite grads who've stuck around.


Who they are: Digital communications have evolved at an exponential rate, and companies like Telnyx have played their part. The cloud-based company offers access to carrier-grade voice services through the internet, ushering in a new era for the telecom industry.

Funding raised: $2 million

Founded in: 2009

Techstars class of: ‘14


Who they are: We’d be remiss not to tip our hats to SpotHero, a startup that graduated the program while it was still known as Excelerate Labs. SpotHero is a local beacon of B2C success in a city otherwise dominated by B2B tech players. The company’s mobile app helps consumers find and reserve parking spots across the city and beyond. 

Funding raised: $27 million

Founded in: 2011

Excelerate Labs class of: ‘12


Who they are: The professional events industry is massive. Sure, there are sites like Pinterest to help you stay organized, but in practice they hardly cut through the noise. Chicago-based PartySlate takes a slightly different angle, adding a crediting feature to the mix so you can easily cite and source both event ideas and the professionals who can help you execute them. 

Funding raised: $2.7 million

Founded in: 2015

Techstars class of: ‘16


Who they are: Losing track of your kid — even for a second — is a parent’s worst nightmare. But, thanks to the emerging wearable technologies at companies like Jiobit, things can be a little less stressful. The company creates a wearable tech tag your child can wear, giving you peace of mind when you lose them in the grocery store.

Funding raised: $4.2 million

Founded in: 2015

Techstars class of: ‘16


Who they are: Live streaming is a lucrative industry — just ask any one of the millions of PewDiePie wannabes fighting for views on Youtube. But the business opportunities aren't only for those on screen: Infiniscene provides a cloud-based tech platform that makes the technical aspects of live streaming a piece of cake. 

Funding raised: $1.8 million

Founded in: 2014

Techstars class of: ‘15


Who they are: Chicago has a bit of a reputation for being a national intersection of the finance and technology industries, so it’s no surprise that companies like TradingView call the city home. The Techstars alum is a digital community for investors and traders designed to support the sharing of new ideas — and new data. 

Funding raised: $3.75 million

Founded in: 2011

Techstars class of: ‘13


Photos via featured companies and social media. 

Have news to share? Let us know with a tip or a tweet @BuiltInChicago

Chicago startup guides

Best Companies to Work for in Chicago
Best Software Engineer Jobs in Chicago
Coolest Offices in Chicago Tech
Best Sales Jobs in Chicago