Tech roundup: Chicago tech raises $83M in 2 days, local startup hosts free DACA workshop and more

by Michael Hines
September 21, 2017

Four Chicago startups raise $83 million in two days

Chicago tech raised $47 million in August. This week, four startups combined to bring in $83 million in just two days. Raise had the biggest round, a $60 million Series C. The payments solutions provider will use the round on marketing and developing its mobile platform.

Insurtech startup Clearcover finally broke cover, emerging from stealth with news of an $11.5 million initial funding round. The company uses a data-driven approach to both target customers and streamline the auto insurance purchasing process. Clearcover plans to launch its first market, California, before the end of the year.

ThinkCERCA secured a $10 million Series B round on Wednesday. The edtech company’s software helps students sharpen their critical thinking and close reading skills through personalized lessons. ThinkCERCA will use the funding to launch more than 7,000 new lessons and hire more salespeople.

On Tuesday, PackBack announced it had raised $1.5 million to aid its scaling efforts. The startup builds college discussion boards, using AI to grade responses and determine whether or not a student has properly applied and analyzed course concepts. Packback plans to raise additional funds through an upcoming Series A.


Motion AI is acquired by HubSpot

On Wednesday, DIY chatbot builder Motion AI announced it has been acquired by HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales platform based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. HubSpot plans to integrate the company’s tech into its CRM to allow users to easily build their own chatbots. Financial terms of the deal were not announced. [Press release]


Future Founders launches new program for millennials

Future Founders was established to give youth the tools needed to become entrepreneurs. Now the accelerator is targeting millennials with a new program, the Chicago Cohort. The program is open to anyone between the ages of 18 to 30 who is working on a startup. Participants will receive coaching, access to grants and networking opportunities as well as the chance to pitch their ideas during a live demo day. [Chicago Inno]


OfficeLuv announces major hiring plans

OfficeLuv, which helps companies manage their offices with software and on-site personnel, announced plans to hire 50 new employees by year’s end. The majority of the new roles will be for client-facing office attendants. However, the startup is also adding to its sales, marketing and operation teams. OfficeLuv currently works with over 250 companies in Chicago. [Press release]


Lyons Consulting Group acquired by European firm

French consulting and outsourcing firm Capgemini has acquired Lyons Consulting Group, an agency specializing in e-commerce. The Parisian company has been making noise in Chicago as of late. Last month, it announced a partnership with McDonald’s to bring hundreds of new tech jobs to the Chicagoland area. Terms of the deal with Lyons Consulting Group were not announced. [Press release]


Road to Status to participate in free DACA renewal workshop

Road to Status is partnering with Chicago’s Little Village Chamber of Commerce to host a free DACA renewal workshop. The workshop is on September 22nd at the Central States Ser career center located in Little Italy. Road to Status will provide its software and attorney review service free of charge, both at the event and online until the October 5th deadline for DACA renewal. [Press release]


Chicago tech makes a flurry of huge hires

A handful of Chicago tech companies announced major hires on Tuesday. LotLinx introduced John Gottschalk as VP of client relations. Gottschalk had previously served as senior VP of dealer relations and business development at FordDirect.

Shiftgig welcomed Wade Burgess as its new CEO. Burgess spent the last nine years at LinkedIn in various high-level leadership roles, including VP of talent solutions and senior director for Northern Europe.

Eved has found a new COO in Josh Gray. Gray has previous C-level experience from his time as Unitrends’ interim CEO.

Jim Crnkovic has joined NuCurrent as VP of engineering. Crnkovic brings over 25 years of experience to his new role, including nine years as Motorola Mobility’s director of engineering. [Built In Chicago]


Images via listed companies, social media and Shutterstock.

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