Tech roundup: Fundings abound, Snapsheet goes global, and more

by Alton Zenon III
November 29, 2018
Piggy bank resting on dollar bills with the number 2019 in the background
image via shutterstock

Chicago tech just saw a flurry of fundings

Cameo, the company that lets you order a custom video shoutout from an ever-growing list of celebrities, raised $12.5 million in a funding round led by Menlo Park’s Lightspeed Venture Partners, with additional contributions from Chicago Ventures, Starting Line, Origin Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, Bedrock Capital and others. The platform has over 3,000 celebs to choose from, including Wesley Snipes, Bella Thorne and Terrell Owens. This marks the second raise of this year for Cameo, following a $3.2 million funding in February. [Built In Chicago

Tock, which lets diners score reservations and book prepaid dining experiences, reserved $9.5 million in funding from Valor Equity Partners, Origin Ventures, chefs Andrew Zimmern and Thomas Keller, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Pritzker Group Venture Capital and a number of other investors. Tock will use its funding to further its customer acquisition strategies as well as hire around 30 new sales, marketing and support staff over the next year. [Built In Chicago]

Joibit, a company that lets parents know their child’s whereabouts via its wearable tracking tech, raised $6.5 million to increase its production capacity. “After publicly launching the product in May, we grew sales 581 percent from July to September,” said co-founder and CEO John Renaldi. “To keep up that growth, we needed to raise [funding] in order to bring in the right operations staff to accommodate that customer growth but also more product inventory.” [Built In Chicago

Nubundle, a firm offering family planning and fertility benefits as an employee benefit, raised $1.5 million in a round led by Lightbank and joined by NFP Ventures. The company offers those hoping to start a family with three assistive solutions — access to a network of fertility clinics, expert family planning at every stage of the process, and financing and insurance options. The platform is expected to run beta testing this upcoming January. [Markets Insider]


Flags from numerous countries pictured with cloudy, blue sky in background
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Snapsheet goes global with new partnership 

Snapsheet has partnered with Zurich Insurance Group in a deal that will see its claims technology used by the insurance giant’s customers around the world. The rollout will begin in Ireland before expanding across Europe, Latin America and the Asia Pacific region. “The collaboration with Snapsheet will allow Zurich to further streamline the claims journey for our customers and provide additional innovative services,” said Zurich’s Group Chief Claims Officer Ian Thompson in a statement. [Press release]


Hudson River Trading team posing with trophy
image via Hudson River Trading

Industry ping pong tournament raises $100K for charity 

Hudson River Trading, a quantitative trading company headquartered in New York but with an office in Chicago, won the fifth annual Table Tennis Tech Tournament, T4Youth. The event is a fundraiser for the Chicago Tech Academy and raises money to support the next generation of techies in the Windy City area. A record 64 teams participated in the day-long event, with Hudson River Trading winning against Enova in a final showdown just before midnight. SPiN Chicago hosted the tournament, which raised $100,000 for the tech-minded titans of tomorrow. [Medium]


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Lincoln Park sees opening of new coworking space for women

A coworking location for female and gender non-binary entrepreneurs, [email protected], just opened its doors in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The space currently has 10 spots available, with room to double with growing interest. Members working out of the site can take advantage of a mailing address for business mail, printing, a kitchen lounge, and wellness sessions for yoga and meditation. Sharokina Pazand, who founded the space, said she is also organizing speaking events for members and nonmembers to attend, and hopes the location will eventually act as an incubator for women- or gender non-binary-led companies. [Chicago Inno


Chicago buildings pictured with clear sky in background
image via shutterstock

Chicago tech welcomes new execs 

Michael Bruns
Chief financial officer

Logistics technology company project44 announced two big hires this week. Michael Bruns has joined the company as its new CFO. Bruns brings extensive experience in the Chicago tech space into his new role, having served as CFO at Uptake, Centro and Codifyd. Bruns is also an investor at Hyde Park Angels. 

Will Hansmann
Chief technology officer

The company has also brought on a new CTO, Will Hansmann. Hansmann joins project44 from Citadel, where he served as head of data technology. Prior to Citadel, he was Uptake’s CIO and VP of Engineering. [Press release]


Greg Healy
Chief Product Officer

Greg Healy is Jellyvision’s new chief product officer. Fans of Dutch and Spanish soccer may recognize Healy’s name, as he played professionally in those countries in the early 1990s. Healy was most recently the CPO at Britannica. “This is a really big hire for us, and Greg is an awesome fit for this position,” said CEO Amanda Lannert. “We are excited for him to take the helm of Jellyvision’s product efforts moving forward.” [Press release]


Al Nasturzio
strategic business development manager for Canada

Technology trade association CompTIA announced Al Nasturzio as its new strategic business development manager for Canada. Nasturzio previously worked in senior leadership roles within the SHL and Ingram Micro corporations. He also created Canada’s first privately-owned computer training facility, the Ivy Computer Center. Nasturzio will head the company’s Canadian direct and partner-led business and act as chief liaison to the workforce development, academic, education, corporate and government sectors within the country. [PR Newswire


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