Tech Roundup: Airbnb's new fee, WSJ's tech watch list, and more

by Sophie Kalt
June 14, 2018
photo via shutterstock

The mayor wants new fees for Airbnb rentals

This week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called for a new 2 percent fee on individuals renting through Airbnb and other online hospitality services, which will go toward domestic abuse causes. Hoping to raise $1.3 million annually, this fee will be spent on shelter beds among other needs. According to Chicago Tribune, Airbnb is on board with collecting the fee, so long as it’s applied for all short-term rental platforms. [Chicago Tribune]


Photo via dig

Calling all dog lovers

Launching in Chicago with a pups&pride event, Dig is the new app everyone’s barking about. The dating app for dog people connects you with individuals who love dogs just as much as you do. Dig helps you find dog-friendly locations to meet the individual you “dig,” gives you tips from vets and trainers, and deals from pet companies. In addition to helping you find your partner, Dig hosts events and can connect you with rescue shelters to help you discover your future pooch. [Press release]


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Chicago company on WSJ’s Tech Companies to Watch list

The Chicago company FourKites made its way onto Wall Street Journal’s prestigious list of 25 Tech Companies to Watch in 2018. FourKites is a transportation company that uses cutting-edge technology to track shipments. CEO Matt Elenjickal founded FourKites in 2014, and has since raised more than $50 million in total funding. [AmericanInno]


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WeWork planning Chicago expansions

WeWork, as you’ve probably heard, is the growing unicorn that creates co-working spaces for individuals and companies. WeWork has flourished in Chicago and is working to add more space. Specifically, 120,000 square feet on N State St. and 65,000 feet in AMA Plaza on Wabash, according to the Chicago Tribune. [Chicago Tribune]


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Chicago incubator opens new eSports arena

Blue1647, a Chicago incubator that provides coworking space and entrepreneurial support for companies in underserved areas, just added an eSports arena to its suite of offerings. With 70 gaming stations, Blue1647 aims to attract younger individuals by providing activities they know and love, with the hope of bolstering recruitment to its other offerings. [AmericanInno]


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A heat map for restaurants? Tell me more

Skorch, a Chicago-built app, recommends restaurants that have the whole package: yummy food, a fun atmosphere and quality service. Skorch literally shows you the hottest restaurants based on people’s reviews from that moment with an illustrated heat map. On the app, you are able to connect with friends and influencers you know and love. Skorch has opened in 12 other cities and continues to grow. [AmericanInno]


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Truss is bringing industrial real estate to Chicago

Truss, a real estate tech company that makes it easier for business owners to find new offices, is expanding into industrial real estate, offering 45 million square feet of space in Chicago and Dallas. Truss will continue to use artificial intelligence so small and medium-sized businesses can find the best rates and locations. Their platform currently offers more than 200 million square feet of real estate across the verticals it serves. [PR Newswire]


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Chicago startup BikeBrew wins pitch competitions and money for expansion

BikeBrew, which started as one student, Lucas Phillips, riding his bike around Northwestern University's campus selling cold brew in popular areas, now employs 36 students and has sold over 40,000 cups of coffee. As a joint collaboration between students at Northwestern and University of Chicago, BikeBrew has won a total of $65,000 in pitch competitions at both universities. Phillips plans to put this money toward campuses with warmer weather, due to the harsh challenges BikeBrew faces in the Chicago winter. [AmericanInno]


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Clean Energy Trust invests in Chicago startup Sigora

Clean Energy Trust invested $20,000 in Sigora, which recently relocated from San Francisco to Chicago, as part of a larger Series A investment, according to AmericanInno. Sigora brings utility management systems to energy providers in developing countries. Currently set up in Haiti serving 20,000 people, Sigora hopes to expand to Zambia later in the year. [AmericanInno]


photo via shutterstock

STATS now has an office in Limerick

Chicago sports tech company STATS just opened a brand new office in Limerick, Ireland. STATS is hoping to hire 150 people in its new offices. Hiring an Irish sports tech professional, Grainne Barry, to run the Ireland office, STATS chose Limerick due to its growing technology scene and partnerships with local institutions. [Business Wire]

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