Tech roundup: Shiftgig's new office, Chicago tech companies raise $169M and more

by Michael Hines
February 1, 2018
Shiftgig new Chicago headquarters
PHOTO VIA THE CITY OF CHICAGO

Shiftgig opens new office, shares hiring plans

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has run his tech office ribbon-cutting streak to two weeks. Chicago’s mayor was on hand to celebrate the opening of Shiftgig’s new headquarters, which measures 23,773 square feet and is located at 1 N. State Street. The company said it would make 100 hires in 2018 with the goal being to double its data science, product and engineering teams. [Press release]

 

Chicago tech January 2018 funding
PHOTO VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

Chicago tech raises $169M in January

Chicago tech started 2018 off with a bang, raising $169 million in funding. Three companies raised more than $30 million, with VillageMD's $80 million round leading the way. All told, 13 tech companies raised funding last month. In addition to raising more money than last month, Chicago tech easily topped the $115 million raised in January 2017. [Built In Chicago]

 

Packback Series A
PHOTO VIA PACKBACK

Packback announces Series A

Packback, whose AI-powered discussion boards make it easier for teachers to assess the critical thinking skills of their students, announced on Wednesday it has raised a $4.2 million Series A. The round was led by University Ventures and included participation from Wintrust Ventures, Wildcat Capital and celebrity investor/potential 2020 presidential candidate Mark Cuban. The Series A pushes Packback’s total funding just north of $8 million. [Built In Chicago]

 

Flexport Chicago office
PHOTO VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

Flexport is headed to Chicago

San Francisco-based Freight forwarding and logistics startup Flexport has chosen Chicago as the site of its first Midwest office. The company will take up residency in Industrious, a Fulton Market district co-working space. Flexport also announced plans to make over 100 hires in the next two years. Flexport instantly becomes one of the biggest dogs in the park — if dog parks were filled with freight and logistics startups — thanks to its $800 million valuation. [Built In Chicago]

 

ChangEd Chicago startup Shark Tank
PHOTO VIA CHANGED

ChangEd swims with the sharks, scores $250K

ChangEd appeared on ABC’s “Shark Tank” Sunday night and walked away with a $250,000 investment (for a 15 percent stake) from Mark Cuban. The company helps users pay off their student loans by rounding up purchases to the nearest dollar and putting the spare change in a savings account. Cuban has become the patron saint of Chicago startups appearing on “Shark Tank,” having previously done deals with Packback, LuminAID and Pearachute. [Chicago Inno]

 

DialogTech Bing Ads integration
PHOTO VIA DIALOGTECH

DialogTech launches new integration

DialogTech now offers users of its inbound calls marketing analytics platform the ability to integrate with Bing Ads.

“Bing search ads generate billions of calls to businesses each year, and now thanks to DialogTech, search marketers have attribution and intelligence for those calls and conversations,” said senior director of partner strategy Greg Goodman in a statement. [Press release]

 

Level Ex Chicago medical gaming startup
PHOTO VIA LEVEL EX

Level Ex wins Audience Choice Award at IPF Catalyst Challenge

Level Ex took home the Audience Choice Award at the IPF Catalyst Challenge last week, a competition that tasked startups with finding new ways to improve the quality of life for those with the incurable lung disease. The company said the $50,000 prize money would go toward the development of an IPF video game solution. The three companies that each won a share of the $1,000,000 grand prize were Advanced Interactive Response System (AIRS), Owlstone Medical and patientMpower. [PR Newswire]

 

Club Automation Chicago tech company
PHOTO VIA SHUTTERSTOCK

Club Automation acquired, on a Tuesday

Club Automation, a maker of management software for health and athletic clubs, was acquired by Daxko on Tuesday. Daxko, based in Birmingham, Alabama, builds software to help health clubs and gyms manage their memberships. The Club Automation team will continue working out of their Chicago office. Terms of the acquisition were not announced. [PR Newswire]

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