These seven fast-growing Chicago tech companies have plenty of opportunities for new team members, as well as some awesome goodies waiting for employees once they’ve signed on. Check out what they’ve got to offer and learn some fun facts below.
What they do: Do you need a hand-truck for your business needs? What about some new desk chairs for the office? Or perhaps your building could use an upgraded backup-generator? Zoro, an e-commerce site offering over 2.5 million products geared toward helping businesses of all types run a little smoother, may have what you need.
Coolest perks: Zoro keeps it chill. Employees can come in when they want and wear shorts and t-shirts to the office. Once there, they can take a break from their work by playing a console video game, pool or foosball. And if they need extended time away, team members are given generous vacation time to recharge out of the office.
Surprising fact: “I think most people would be surprised that Zoro still has weekly company meetings, which are hosted by a different employee every week and the entire company attends — including the executive team,” said Director of Logistics Strategy and Operations Marilyn Anderson. “The meeting is where anyone can share what’s happening within their teams, welcome new hires, and ask questions over a provided breakfast.”
What they do: Advertisements don’t do companies any good if the right people don’t see them. Adtech company Integral Ad Science offers solutions to brands, agencies, publishers and other technology firms to get ads in front of the perfect consumers.
Surprising fact: “I was very surprised by the scale and technical complexity of the adtech domain. Before joining IAS, I had been exposed to some elements of advertising,” said Data Engineering Manager Billy Fortin. “But I had no appreciation for the level of science and engineering required to support and protect both the publisher and brands. People in every part of the business are so well-versed in the industry and have a deep technical knowledge base. It’s really exciting to be able to dive in and really get to know the tech, and to work with such a great team.”
What they do: ThoughtWorks is a digital consultancy that works to give companies the tech they need, when they need it. The company’s offered services are extensive and they’ve worked with the likes of The Guardian, Ancestry, Autotrader and other companies around the world.
Coolest perks: Professional choice is championed at ThoughtWorks, where team members are encouraged to plan their own career path — learning the skills they want catered to their specific interests. For example, Principal Consultant Chris Kozak said the company allowed him and his partner to live in Europe for two years, during which time they visited 22 countries.
Surprising fact: “Incentives are always at the team level,” said Principal Consultant Chris Kozak. “Evaluation and advancement are done via a peer review process. With teamwork and collaboration at the core of our values, it is never to your advantage to let a teammate fail. We succeed and fail together. This leads to a culture where people trust and care about each other, along with delivering results."
What they do: In an era where reading product and company reviews is second nature to most consumers, ReviewTrackers helps companies monitor what’s being said about them online. The company’s services can be used for virtually any industry and also include solutions like customer satisfaction surveys, social media marketing and reputation management software.
Coolest perks: Do you like reading? ReviewTrackers has Kindles loaded with books that team members can rent at their leisure. Social events like video game nights or happy hours are hosted weekly and team members link up outside of office hours to enjoy a baseball game, bar crawl or barbecue together.
Surprising fact: “Our CEO Chris Campbell loves the idea of micro-communities within ReviewTrackers, and one of them is our small Dungeons & Dragons group,” said Inbound Account Executive Abigail Bottjen. “Chris lets us stay after work hours and use one of the conference rooms for our D&D campaign. It’s nice to know that instead of spending money and traveling to another location, we can just finish up work for the day and immediately start playing.”
What they do: Saggezza is a digital consultancy that provides solutions for just about everything a business could need. Supply chain support, user experience optimization, and financial performance management are just a few of the many services the company offers to fuel business growth for its clients.
Coolest perks: In the same way Saggezza offers companies custom-built solutions, it lets its staff build their career paths and skills from the ground up. Titles don’t make for a narrow focus and team members can jump into projects outside of their normal responsibilities to learn and develop new talents. Employees are also encouraged to stay healthy through a wellness program that awards challenge-based points to participants that can be redeemed for monetary incentives.
Surprising fact: “We truly are a flat organization with an open door policy,” said Vice President of Process and Delivery Frank Trainer. “Our CEO and COO are on the ground floor daily, meeting frequently with employees at all levels. Even though we have been established for more than 13 years, we still continue to operate like a startup. This offers our employees unique growth and learning opportunities, control over their position and flexibility without the instability that often comes in a young company.”
What they do: Ascent’s regulatory technology keeps companies from breaking the rules, which, if you weren’t aware, is bad for business. Its AI and cloud-based services build, oversee and automate compliance programs for companies in highly regulated industries.
Coolest perks: Ascent’s office ascends over Millennium Park, so the views of the lake from the company’s rooftop patio are great. Team members also have 100 percent of their health premiums paid for and have access to an in-office gym to keep healthy, and burn off the Stan’s Donuts that are frequently purchased for the office.
Surprising fact: “Half our dev team is in Nigeria and Kenya but it’s not hard to collaborate and they visit us once a year,” said Customer Application Senior Developer Tanya Tickel Schlusser. “We pretty universally like Jollof rice — a one-pot rice dish popular in many West African countries.
“Also, almost all of us in the dev team are career-changers, moving from religion, economics, psychology, mechanical engineering, language and other fields. We believe anyone can code because we prove it every day. Most of our devs can play an instrument, which aligns with how we view programming in general because we fundamentally believe that programming is a creative, artistic endeavor. Our right and left brains are both firing constantly and the diversity of our team’s interests and background reflect that.”
What they do: Every brand needs an image that’s unique to them, but what about a sound? As an audio-branding agency, PHMG provides its clients with things like custom music tracks, voice artistry and creative copy to help them differentiate themselves. Past clients include Coca-Cola, Adidas and Audi.
Coolest perks: PHMG takes music very seriously — so much so that it has an in-house music program where team members can take tuition-based piano, guitar, DJing and music production classes without leaving the office. The agency also keeps employees looking fresh through its on-site barber and beautician, which were likely used by many ahead of the recent Woodstock-inspired Summer Soirée that the company threw.
Surprising fact: “I’d say the most surprising thing is the roster of A-list talent our music team has worked with,” said Media Development Manager Jarrad White. “The individuals who create tracks for our clients have written, performed, and produced for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé, The 1975, Calvin Harris and many more. Our Canadian Head of Music and Voice even earned a Grammy for his work on Rihanna’s number 1 album “Loud”. On top of this, our company-video stars Jacquire King — the triple Grammy award-winning producer behind Kings of Leon’s “Only by the Night”. This still impresses me, and never fails to impress prospective clients.”