Last night, Chicago’s tech scene was out in full force for the sixth annual Moxie Awards, celebrating another year of innovation and growth.
"If there's one thing Chicago knows how to do, it's community," said Outcome Health founder and CEO Rishi Shah. "You never have to question whether your peers are rooting for you."
Selected through a combination of community votes and our panel of expert judges, this year's winners range from a heavy machinery e-commerce startup to companies pushing the envelope in data-driven cancer treatment, education and empowerment of both voters and healthcare recipients.
"The range of industries represented in this year's Moxie Awards is a perfect illustration of our tech ecosystem's biggest strength," said Built In Chicago co-founder and CEO Maria Christopoulos Katris. "Our entrepreneurs are solving real problems in industries they understand."
Without further ado, these are the winners of this year's Moxies:
Best Consumer Web Startup
Since its founding in 2013, Reverb.com has gone from a fledgling music gear marketplace to an online destination for millions of gearheads around the world. In addition to growing its marketplace, the startup recently launched Reverb Sites, which lets retailers easily build websites that sync up with their Reverb.com listings and makes it easier for local stores to build an online presence.
Best B2B Startup
The heavy equipment used in manufacturing and agriculture is built to last for a really long time, so when someone upgrades their equipment or simply gets rid of old machinery, there’s usually a buyer out there who could make use of it. Machinio provides companies and farmers with a centralized location for buying and selling equipment from companies near them. Its search engine is used by thousands of sellers and more than 500,000 buyers all over the world.
Best New Startup
Catalytic is building a product that uses artificial intelligence, automation and task orchestration to help businesses improve their processes. Co-founded by former Fieldglass CTO Sean Chou and mobile engineering veteran Ravi Singh, and with more than $11 million in venture backing, Catalytic is a startup we’ll be keeping an eye on for years to come.
Startup of the Year
If you want to get into cooking but you don’t have the time to plan out your meals or stop by the grocery store, you just might find yourself in Home Chef’s target demographic. The company, which raised $50 million in venture funding in 2016, delivers recipes and fresh ingredients to the customer’s doorstep. Since its founding four years ago, Home Chef has grown to 1,000 employees and opened distribution facilities in Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta.
Best Social Impact Startup
A well-functioning democracy requires an informed electorate, but reading up on every item on the local ballot can be a herculean task. BallotReady has created a nonpartisan online tool that puts information about every issue and candidate in one place. Its team aggregates information from social media, candidate websites, press and endorsers, linking back to original sources to let voters make their own judgment calls.
Most Disruptive Startup
Founded by Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky, Tempus is building a data-driven platform for personalized cancer care. To do so, the company combines machine learning technology with genome sequencing, a massive database of molecular and clinical data and an operating system that helps physicians make sense of it all.
Digital Agency of the Year
One North Interactive is a Chicago-based digital agency that provides everything from brand planning to digital strategy, web development and tech support. One North manages more than 600 web solutions, drawing more than 152 million page views every month.
Best Consumer Web Company
SpotHero connects drivers with discounted parking spots in 47 cities. In the past year, the parking startup has more than doubled its headcount, moved into new offices and acquired a Baltimore-based competitor, helping it expand beyond the United States into our neighbor in the north.
Best B2B Company
One of Chicago’s biggest tech employers, kCura makes software that helps legal teams review and analyze data during litigation. Its Relativity e-discovery platform is used by more than 10,000 organizations including the Department of Justice, over 70 Fortune 100 companies and more than 195 of the country’s 200 largest law firms.
Best Office Space
Grubhub’s online and mobile takeout platform connects diners with around 40,000 local restaurants in more than 1,000 U.S. cities. Combining contemporary features with mid-century modern design, the company’s Chicago headquarters is designed to foster collaboration and creativity.
Best Company Culture
Working with more than 1,000 brands and retailers around the world, PowerReviews builds rating, reviews and Q&A software that increases conversion rates and lets companies iterate on the customer experience. PowerReviews prides itself on fostering a transparent and accountable culture that values learning and collaboration — while having plenty of fun along the way.
Breakthrough Digital Company
Fresh off a $500 million funding round after bootstrapping for 11 years, this year’s Breakthrough Digital Company Award probably doesn’t come as a surprise. Outcome Health has doubled its annual revenues for two years running, surpassing $130 million last year. Its first funding round came at a valuation of more than $5 billion, and the company is currently hiring for more than 150 positions.
Woman in Tech Award
Zora Senat, President of Exact Data
Exact Data President Zora Senat joined the company as a marketer in 2011, rising through the ranks to become chief marketing officer in 2014 before assuming her current role last year. Alongside her job as the company’s president, Senat is a MBA candidate at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.
CEO of the Year
Justyn Howard, Sprout Social
Over the past eight years, Justyn Howard has grown Sprout Social from a scrappy social media startup into one of the city’s biggest tech companies. Under his leadership, the company added more than 130 employees in the past year alone. Sprout also recently surpassed 17,000 customers.