Tech roundup: SpotHero acquires Parking Panda, J.B. Pritzker enters governor's race and more

April 13, 2017

SpotHero acquires Baltimore's Parking Panda

Chicago parking startup SpotHero announced on Thursday that it has acquired Parking Panda, a Baltimore-based competitor. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition will help SpotHero expand its presence in cities like Washington, D.C., New York and San Francisco, among others, and increase its number of parking facilities from 3,000 to 5,000. The deal also gives SpotHero a presence in Canada. [Crain's]


Sphera Solutions expects to boost Chicago headcount by 100 in 2017

Sphera Solutions, a Chicago-based maker of environmental health and safety software, announced on Tuesday it has acquired a UK-based competitor. Sphera, which currently has around 600 employees, expects to hire 100 people in Chicago by the end of the year. [Chicago Tribune]


Popular Pays closes $5.2M Series A

Popular Pays, which connects brands with social media influencers who create content about their products, announced on Monday it has raised a $5.2 million Series A. Co-founder and CEO Corbett Drummey said the funding will be used to boost Popular Pays’ technology suite and further grow the business. [Built In Chicago]


Uptake doubles Series B with an additional $50M

Uptake kicked the year off strong with a $40 million Series B at a $2 billion valuation in February. That round just grew to $90 million. Only a quarter in, 2017 is already shaping up to be a big year for Uptake. In addition to the Series B, the company recently landed a major deal with Berkshire Hathaway Energy to provide monitoring for the company’s wind power fleet. [Built In Chicago]


J.B. Pritzker enters Illinois governor race

It’s official. At the end of last week, Chicago tech entrepreneur and investor J.B. Pritzker launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination in the Illinois gubernatorial race. The founder of 1871 and Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Pritzker would likely double down on Illinois' push for tech innovation as governor. [Crain’s]


Hyperloop One proposes route from Chicago to Pittsburgh

Hyperloop One, the Los Angeles-based startup that plans to turn Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept into a reality, presented 11 proposed routes at the end of last week. The routes included a 488-mile route from Chicago to Pittsburgh, PA, by way of Columbus, OH. At Hyperloop’s proposed speeds, the total trip could be completed in less than an hour. [Press release]


The pressure is on for cybersecurity experts

More than half of cybersecurity professionals found themselves under more pressure last year than the year before, according to a new industry report commissioned by Trustwave. Customer data theft remained the industry’s biggest concern, with ransomware coming in second place. Thirty-five percent of the 1,600 surveyed experts did not believe their organizations were safe from threats, up from 26 percent last year. [Report]


Lacking communication policies expose companies to legal risks

A recent survey by Chicago legal technology firm kCura found that more than half of surveyed office-based employees were not aware of written company policies on data retention or use of work devices for personal communications. The survey also found that 70 percent of employees use their email inboxes as a filing system for work documents, which presents significant challenges to secure data retention. [Press release]


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