Tech roundup: Guard Llama's 'Shark Tank' deal, DRIVIN's acquisition and more

by Andreas Rekdal
April 20, 2017

Guard Llama emerges from Shark Tank with new investor

Guard Llama, the Chicago startup behind a security device that calls law enforcement in the case of emergencies, landed a $100,000 investment on “Shark Tank” on Friday. The investment came from real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran. Corcoran will receive an 18 percent ownership stake in exchange for the investment and rights to use her image in marketing. Co-founder Joe Parisi told the Chicago Tribune that he expects a partnership with Corcoran to help Guard Llama break into the real estate industry. [Chicago Tribune]


DRIVIN has a new owner

DRIVIN, a Chicago-based startup that uses Big Data to help automotive dealers buy and sell used cars, is being acquired by KAR Auction Services. KAR, which provides a broad range of technology solutions for the used car industry, said the acquisition will help it meet increasing demand for data-driven tech. CEO Kayne Grau and COO Justin Mahlik will stay on as president and COO, respectively, and the company will remain in Chicago. [Built In Chicago]


Narrative Science lands $11M Series D

This week, Narrative Science closed a $11 million Series D round of funding led by Jump Capital and Sapphire Ventures. Founded seven years ago this month, Narrative Science makes software that translates data sets into plain English. The company has raised $43 million since its founding. [Crain’s]


MortgageHippo secures $2.25M in new funding

MortgageHippo, a Chicago-based startup that helps traditional lenders offer mortgages online, announced it has closed a $2.25 million seed round that will be used to expand its salesforce and software development team. Co-founder and CEO Valentin Saportas said the funding comes in the middle of a “perfect storm” pushing lenders to look at online solutions for reaching new consumers. [Built In Chicago] acquires obituary analytics startup

On Monday, announced it has acquired Founded by a veteran, Obitdata collects online obituary information from a variety of sources to help service providers assess their share in the marketplace. The acquisition is part of Legacy’s broader effort to expand its suite of offerings to funeral homes and other service providers. [Press release]


Instacart expands deliveries to the Chicago suburbs

Starting April 20, residents in Oak Park, Oak Lawn and Franklin Park can order on-demand groceries from Instacart. The company said it expects to hire more than 100 additional contractors to cover the expanded delivery area. [Chicago Tribune]


Project44 expands tracking platform capabilities

Chicago freight tracking startup project44 announced it is expanding its platform’s tracking capabilities. The newest release of the company’s platform includes capabilities for continuous tracking across several modes of transportation, enhancing supply chain companies’ capacities for managing inventories and mitigating shortages and late deliveries. Currently covering full-truckload and less-than-truckload shipments, project44 expects to add air, rail and ocean shipping by 2018. [Press release]


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