Tech roundup: A flurry of fundings, big office announcements, and more

January 31, 2019
The Bean in Chicago covered in snow
image via shutterstock

Fundings heat up despite polar vortex

Vistex, a software provider whose administrative platform helps companies automate processes and reduce costs, raised $65 million in funding from Silicon Valley-based fund Accel-KKR, with an option to secure an additional $40 million in the future. With the funding, the company plans to make strategic acquisitions, invest in the evolution of its cloud portfolio, and open a new Chicago office to house some of the 300 new staff it plans to hire over the next few years in sales, marketing and engineering roles. [Built In Chicago]

Clearcover, a data- and customer experience-focused car insurance provider, secured a $43 million Series B in a round led by Cox Enterprises, with contributions also provided by American Family Ventures, IA Capital Group, Lightbank, Hyde Park Angels and Silicon Valley Bank, which offered debt financing. The company intends to make 50 new hires across engineering, data science and customer advocate teams. [Built In Chicago]

Cryptocurrency management platform BRD announced a $15 million in Series B investment from SBI Crypto Investment, a fund based in Tokyo. With the funding, the company will bring on a number of developers and product managers in Chicago. BRD will also scale its product and engineering teams in other locations to meet the demands of consumers in markets across Asia. [Press release]

Returnly, a company that works to ease product returns for both consumers and partnered merchants, secured an $8 million Series A investment. The direct investment — led by The Venture City and Mundi Ventures with assistance from Novel TMT Ventures and CoVenture — will be used to double the company’s headcount to around 100 staff and integrate the platform with reverse logistics, e-commerce, loyalty and CRM services. [Built In Chicago]

Asian food delivery service Chowbus gobbled up a $4 million funding raise served hot by Greycroft Partners and FJ Labs, who led the round, as well as Hyde Park Angels, Fika Ventures and several individual investors. The 40-person staff is set to expand this year across departments as the company plans on launching in 15 to 20 new markets over the course of this year. Chowbus will also invest in developing its overall platform with added functionalities. [Built In Chicago]

PartySlate, a platform that lets potential party-throwers get inspiration for events and connect with event professionals, recently landed a $3 million seed round headed by repeat investor Hyde Park Venture Partners, with contributions also coming from Wavemakers Partners and InvestHer Ventures and new investors Dundee Ventures and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. The capital raise will be used expand the company’s team across marketing and development roles, further develop the platform and expand into new markets around the country. [Built In Chicago]

Student engagement platform Packback recently acquired $2.5 million in funding from lead investor University Ventures and contributor Hyde Park Angels. The company, which doubled its headcount last year to 75, plans to hire 45 new team members across every area of the business. Packback will also invest in efforts to further its reach, with the goal being to expand to an additional 100 schools this year. [Built In Chicago]


G2 Crowd team members at a party
image via g2 crowd

G2 Crowd plans move to new office in the Loop

Online software review platform G2 Crowd announced its has begun the process of moving into a new 66,000 square foot office in the Loop. The company doubled in size in the last year and its new space, which it plans to occupy officially this summer, is three times as large as its current location. Following its $55 million Series C raise in October, G2 Crowd announced a plan to hire 500 new Chicago staff over the next three to five years, so the new space might fill up quickly. [Crain’s


SpotX team in their office
image via spotx

SpotX opens Chicago office

SpotX, a Colorado-based video advertising and monetization platform, announced the opening of a River North office. While the company has had staff in Chicago since 2016, those team members worked remotely. Now, SpotX has a formal office that will be filled by new team members soon, as the company intends to hire more staff in the second half of this year. The new Chicago location is the company’s 25th overall and its current employee count sits at over 600. [Press release]


SMS Assist appoints new President

Cloud-based facilities maintenance platform SMS Assist promoted Marc Shiffman to president. Shiffman, who has been with the company for almost a decade and was one of its first 25 employees, held a number of positions including chief operating officer, chief administrative officer and most recently chief financial officer — a role he will maintain while serving as president. [Press release]


GTreasury welcomes CEO

Renaat Ver Eecke

Treasury management solutions provider GTreasury announced Renaat Ver Eecke as its new CEO. Eecke has two decades of experience in scaling technology companies and most recently served as the company’s chief service officer, where he helped build a services team across 14 countries. Prior to that role, he served as president of Teletrac Navman, which he led through a period of double-digit growth. “I couldn’t be more pleased to have Renaat lead GTreasury to its next level of growth,” said  Orazio Pater, former CEO, in a press release. [Press release]


New CTO at Lightstream takes the tech-reigns

Jennifer Farver
Chief technology officer

Cloud-based web broadcast studio Lightstream has a new Chief Technology Officer in Jennifer Farver —who most recently served in the same position at Popular Pays. Prior to that role, Farver was the vice president of analytics at Civis Analytics and helped build out the company's data science platform. She will help lead the company through its 2019 growth plans and further evolve its efficiency, technical operations and broadcast metrics. [Press release]


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