Top 11 Fast-Growing Chicago Companies Hiring Right Now

These companies are hiring for roles in engineering and development, data and analytics, sales, marketing, product and more.
Written by Olivia Arnold
September 8, 2022Updated: September 8, 2022

The Chicago area has long served as headquarters for industrial giants such as Walgreens and the Kraft Heinz Company. Recently, the city is also emerging as a booming tech startup hub, particularly for fintech, AI and big data companies. 

A 2021 report from Startup Genome ranked Chicago as the 19th best startup ecosystem in the world, dubbing it a “unicorn factory” after 12 of its startups achieved more than $1 million in valuation last year. 

The report also praised the diverse tech scene in Chicago, which hosts the highest percentage of women startup leaders in the country. Approximately 30 percent of the city’s startups are led by a woman or person of color as their founder or CEO. 

With ever-expanding opportunities in Chicago, these 11 companies are growing quickly and hiring across departments. The featured companies span a wide range of dynamic industries, including healthcare, gaming, music, travel and real estate. 

Leaders were excited to share about the breakthrough initiatives they oversaw and the cutting-edge projects their teams launched. Gaming company SteelSeries, for example, recently unveiled its Arctis Nova Pro and wireless headsets — which they say provides an unparalleled audio and gaming experience. Fintech company Braviant Holdings tackled integrating multi-factor authentication into its existing security framework, while Locusview created a solution that translates complex design information into a digital format that’s accessible from utility workers’ phones. 

With so many challenging and thrilling opportunities for growth, these companies are looking for creative, collaborative and passionate people to join their teams in engineering and development, data and analytics, sales, marketing, product and more.  

Built In Chicago connected with these 11 leaders to learn more about what sets their workplaces apart from competitors, while uncovering details on the exciting initiatives fueling companywide growth. 

 

Matt McGillen
Vice President, Partnerships and Alliances • oak9

 

Cloud native security provider oak9 demonstrates its commitment to innovation through initiatives like its companywide build week. During the event, teams planned and presented fresh project ideas, ranging from product features to marketing strategies. Vice President of Partnerships and Alliances Matt McGillen relished the opportunity to dream up new opportunities with his colleagues, and was ultimately blown away by the impressive creative outpouring that it generated. 

 

What unique element of your oak9’s product makes it a rocketship that will ultimately blitz all its competition?

With the ridiculous rate of change in our industry, if you aren’t innovating, you’re dying. At oak9, we are innovating faster than anyone in the business. It’s a pace that our competitors can’t match, and it gives us a huge leg up from the rest of the field. 

We carefully listen to the pain points that our customers (and future customers!) are feeling to prioritize what needs to get done. This helps us focus on and produce a quality product at lightning speed!

It’s opportunities like these that really excite me because it exemplifies that innovation is at the core of our company culture.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on recently, and what did you enjoy most about it? 

A couple months ago, we conducted an all-company innovation week that we called oak9 Build. We broke into teams to come up with new ideas that could take oak9 to the next level — whether that was a killer new product feature, a clever new guerrilla marketing strategy or a new angle on mitigating security threats. It was five days of heads-down creativity. 

What I enjoyed the most was the presentation sessions at the end of the week. Seeing team after team showcase what they’d built, all in just a matter of a few days, really blew me away. In all my years in the field, I’d never seen a creative outpouring like that. It’s opportunities like these that really excite me because it exemplifies that innovation is at the core of our company culture. Sometimes, shaking up your daily work routine like this can give you a whole new perspective going forward. 

 

 

Christian Guajardo
Marketing Manager • Pareto Intelligence

 

Pareto Intelligence, a healthcare solutions company, analyzes complex data to create actionable predictions for health plans. Marketing Manager Christian Guajardo was excited to work on revamping the healthtech company’s website, ensuring that it serves as an accurate representation of Pareto Intelligence’s services. 

 

What unique element of Pareto’s product and service makes it a rocketship that will ultimately blitz all its competition?

It’s a unique marriage of product and advisory. Much of what we do is data-driven, but it’s led by industry experts who transform that data into something meaningful and actionable for organizations. Our analytics are only as powerful as the people delivering them and, thankfully, our team is nothing short of remarkable at what they do.

Our analytics are only as powerful as the people delivering them and, thankfully, our team is nothing short of remarkable at what they do.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on recently, and what did you enjoy most about it? 

My favorite project so far has been our website revamp. My team and I invested a lot of time and effort into making sure that it is the most accurate and streamlined representation of our products and services. I’m eager to share it with everyone soon! 

 

 

Bailey Antenen
Senior Account Executive, Client Services • BCV, A RateGain Company

 

BCV, a RateGain Company is a social media solutions provider for the hospitality industry. Client Services Senior Account Executive Bailey Antenen says the agency’s wealth of knowledge about social media and hospitality, along with its supportive workplace culture, sets it apart from competitors. Antenen most enjoys collaborating with colleagues on ad campaigns while on-site at hotels, as it allows her to be creative while traveling around the world. 

 

What unique elements of BCV’s culture and product make it a rocketship that will ultimately blitz all its competition?

BCV’s company culture is truly unlike any other. In my career, I have never felt so cared for, supported by or drawn to a group of co-workers. We come together to help each other grow, learn and succeed. No question is too silly, a coffee run is never turned down and open, honest communication is always welcomed. 

I believe our clients see a direct correlation between the culture at BCV and the work we deliver. It is thought out, creative and innovative. We are honest and helpful partners, and we could not do that without the support of our teams at BCV. 

Something that sets BCV apart in the market is our knowledge of hospitality and of social media. The term “subject matter expert” is the best way to describe BCV for both. With a company so deeply rooted in both industries, we are able to make strategic recommendations with both industries in mind. Our wealth of information in regard to social media, hospitality and brands sets us up to be a top-tier partner.

It keeps me creative and allows me to merge a job I love with my passion for travel.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on recently, and what did you enjoy most about it? 

I love a project where many teams come together to create something awesome. This usually comes when we have the opportunity to be on-site with the hotel team, creating new and exciting content. It is great to see the hard work and planning of shot lists, video concepts and graphic and ad campaign ideas come to life throughout the execution of the shoot. 

Then, just as exciting is starting to use these new content pieces to create a fresh perspective on social media. It keeps me creative and allows me to merge a job I love with my passion for travel. In turn, our content performs well, our graphic campaigns are innovative and our advertising receives a refresh that creates a wonderful return on investment for our clients.

 

 

Inside of Tastytrade office
Tastytrade

 

Annie Rix
Recruiter • IG - tasty

 

At tastytrade, a fintech company focused on do-it-yourself investors, leaders embrace open dialogue and mutual respect. Recruiter Annie Rix enjoyed working on a recent project that connected women and nonbinary coders with employment opportunities. 

 

What unique element of tastytrade’s culture makes it a rocketship that will ultimately blitz all its competition?

The world of trading and finance can be a scary and intimidating place for some, but our teams make it inviting, inclusive and easily approachable. What I love most about our culture is that no questions are off limits. Whether you are speaking with our talented engineers, trade desk experts or fearless leadership, you are always treated with respect and as an equal.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on recently, and what did you enjoy most about it? 

One of my favorite recent projects has been connecting with graduates from a trailblazing coding bootcamp for women and nonbinary coders. As a recruiter, I am in a position where I can help shape and grow our teams to showcase diverse talent and build up a community of the next generation of leaders in engineering.

 

 

Braviant Holdings team photo
Braviant Holdings

 

Wes Marberry
Senior Software Engineer • Braviant Holdings

 

With a core value stating every voice matters, Braviant Holdings, a fintech company that powers a digital lending platform, involves multiple teams in its software design processes. Senior Software Engineer Wes Marberry likens the cross-departmental design process to receiving and giving mentorship. Recently, Braviant Holdings benefited from working across teams as it tackled incorporating Single Sign On into the company’s platform. 

 

What unique element of Braviant’s culture makes it a rocketship that will ultimately blitz all its competition?

Our leadership’s initiative to value everyone’s opinion really fosters an amazing environment. This culture allows our high-performing team to arrive at the creative and effective solutions that make Braviant’s product and technology great. 

Further, there isn’t just one person or team involved in contributing to the software design process. We have design reviews for every project, where the back-end, front-end, quality assurance and database teams all help refine designs into the best final products. 

It is in those sessions that everybody can contribute to the “how” of software development. In those sessions, we’re able to learn from each other so quickly. It’s like having a whole group of supportive coaches around you at all times, while also getting to be a coach and mentor to others on the team, which makes it that much more rewarding.

As an engineer, it’s really exciting to work on something knowing it’s going into production. We can see it working and creating value for the business and our customers.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on recently, and what did you enjoy most about it? 

The coolest technical challenge for our team was our recent implementation of Single Sign On into our platform, as we tackled multi-factor authentication. It was quite an undertaking and challenge, especially trying to figure out how to integrate the new login process with our existing security framework. 

We needed to use our existing security framework to generate access tokens, and prevent the user from getting a full access token until they were fully authenticated through the multi-factor flow. Overall, it was critical to accomplish the security requirements needed for the new feature, while maintaining a great user experience. 

Our team tackled this really quickly once it was prioritized as a business critical feature. All of our teams got together, voiced opinions and came up with a design extremely quickly so we could get to coding on it. 

Projects are extremely fast-paced here, but from my perspective as an engineer, it’s really exciting to work on something knowing it’s going into production. We can see it working and creating value for the business and our customers. That helps keep me motivated as we move from project to project so quickly! 

 

 

Keith Woodward
Chief Marketing Officer • Locusview

 

Locusview is a software company that offers a digital operations management platform for energy, telecommunications and other utilities providers. Chief Marketing Officer Keith Woodward says teams are passionate about helping utility workers plan and execute complex projects with greater efficiency. 

 

What unique elements of Locusview’s culture and product make it a rocketship that will ultimately blitz all its competition?

Since our inception, Locusview has been privileged to work hand in hand with tier one utilities to understand and address business pains across the industry. As such, we’ve developed the industry’s first and most advanced digital construction management platform, simplifying complex workflows and streamlining processes from planning and construction to close out. 

With Locusview, utilities operations can improve, modernize and scale their networks faster — with greater efficiency, at a lower cost and with greater visibility and control of the entire construction lifecycle.  

Our people are obsessed with making the jobs of utility workers easier, more efficient and safer. This passion feeds a culture of commitment unlike any I’ve experienced. Every team here is committed to building a world where utility projects are planned, executed and completed more efficiently. Our solution is a huge need, and every Locusviewer feels connected to this higher purpose.

Our people are obsessed with making the jobs of utility workers easier, more efficient and safer.

 

What’s the biggest rocket ship-fueling project that you’re currently working on, and what do you enjoy most about it?

Earlier this year, we successfully launched new capabilities that allowed us to enter the electric utilities market. We were first-to-market with a solution that translated complex design information into a format that field crews can work with on their mobile devices. 

I had the privilege of rolling it out during the DISTRIBUTECH 2022 event in May. It was remarkable observing the exchange we had with so many organizations and watching the eyes of grizzled tech veterans light up as they saw our product demonstrated. The line for our booth demonstrations wrapped around the corner! It’s exciting to help introduce a product to a market that’s hungry for what we do.

 

 

SteelSeries product artwork
SteelSeries

 

Nick Bourne
Head of Product Management • SteelSeries

 

At SteelSeries, a provider of hardware and software for gaming, Head of Product Management Nick Bourne says that teams live and breathe innovation. This passion was demonstrated recently when the gaming tech company launched the Arctis Nova Pro and its wireless headsets, which Bourne says required cross-functional collaboration and pushed the boundaries of what gaming audio products can achieve. 

 

What unique elements of your SteelSeries’s culture and products make it a rocketship that will ultimately blitz all its competition?

As the head of the product team, I love that SteelSeries lives and breathes innovation, embracing and funneling ideas into our product development process from across the company. We have built a culture that allows product managers to bring their ideas to life in our product lines, pushing boundaries and expectations along the way. We empower subject matter experts to build category-defining product lines, not just individual products. 

When I look across our award-winning product lines in audio, keyboards, mice, surfaces and controllers, I see both the innovative ideas that started the process and the work of an incredible group of people to realize a fully formed gamer experience. We excel in the integration of software and hardware to deliver differentiated experiences — and that’s an area in which we are only getting stronger.

This is a company where you are empowered to do your best work and to see the results of that in the products and reviews.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on recently, and what did you enjoy most about it? 

I unfortunately can’t speak to what we’re currently working on, but one of the coolest projects that we announced this year was the new Arctis Nova Pro and its wireless headsets. These products really demonstrate the category redefinition that SteelSeries is known for, pushing the boundaries of what a gaming audio product can do and adding never-before-seen features that refine the experience beyond anyone’s expectations. 

These products are the culmination of not just the four-plus years of work that went into these projects, but the journey SteelSeries has been on since introducing the first dedicated gaming headset in 2004. 

The level of cooperation across the company with some of the smartest people I have ever met — from teams in product, software, engineering, marketing, creative, digital and more — was a true joy. It was the ultimate expression of what a gaming audio product can be, and it was realized through the joint effort of hundreds of peoples’ best work. This is a company where you are empowered to do your best work and to see the results of that in the products and reviews, the wins and glory.

 

 

Double Good team photo
Double Good

 

Matt Wurz
Program Manager, Customer Operations • Double Good

 

Double Good is a fundraising company that allows organizations to sell its popcorn and keep 50 percent of the sales. To best support its mission-oriented clients, Program Manager Matt Wurz unveiled a new and improved customer support software. After more than a year of operating with the system, Wurz is still excited to adjust it and continue improving agents’ experiences at the e-commerce company. 

 

What unique element of Double Good’s culture makes it a rocketship that will ultimately blitz all its competition?

Collaborative autonomy. It sounds like an oxymoron, but let me explain! Everyone at Double Good is an expert in what they do, and we’re given the freedom to accomplish tasks and projects how we see fit. Micromanaging doesn’t exist here, as we’re trusted by our teammates and coaches (our term for managers) that we’ll succeed.

Through activities like team dinners, company outings and departmental convocations, we build relationships with each other, which means we can challenge our teammates in a safe space. Sure, I’m an expert in what I do, but my colleague might question my process either out of genuine curiosity or a desire to share their experience — and that in turn helps me succeed. I can ask my team for advice when I know they have more information than I do, and vice versa.

Everyone at Double Good is an expert in what they do, and we’re given the freedom to accomplish tasks and projects how we see fit.

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on recently, and what did you enjoy most about it? 

In my role, I manage the tech stacks that our customer support team uses on a day-to-day basis. When I first started, we realized that the tool we were using to communicate with our customers was suboptimal. Within my first 6 months, we launched a brand-new, next-level customer support software. 

In past companies, I was able to influence projects with varying levels of success, but at Double Good, I am the individual making key decisions.

I was privileged to design the system, work with the vendor to build it out and train our agents on all our processes. During implementation, I was able to work with our agents to understand their process and information bottlenecks so that the end result is a much more seamless, intuitive and efficient product. Our business is unique, and it’s important that our system is tailor-made for us.

Now that we’ve been working with this new software for more than a year, I get to tinker with it and continuously improve our agent’s experience. It’s one of the most rewarding things that I get to do daily!

 

 

Reverb team members playing guitars
Reverb

 

Tyler Triggs
Senior Engineer • Reverb

 

Reverb is an e-commerce platform for buying and selling musical instruments and audio equipment. Senior Engineer Tyler Triggs says the team is passionate about developing solutions that better connect music makers with their dream gear, while empowering musicians to earn money by trading in their equipment. Triggs was enthusiastic about his team’s recent “Trade in for Cash” initiative, through which they created a way for users to sell items more easily without creating a listing or buying a shipping label.

 

What unique element of your Reverb’s service makes it a rocketship that will ultimately blitz all its competition?

As the largest online marketplace dedicated to buying and selling new, used and vintage musical instruments, Reverb has a vibrant community of buyers and sellers all over the world who are passionate fans of the site. Our community, combined with the fact that many Reverbers are musicians themselves, means that we’re giving and getting feedback while generating new ideas all the time. 

Teams are given broad challenges — for example, how do we make sure the right Fender Stratocaster ends up in front of the musician who wants to buy it? — and they’re asked to devise concrete solutions. They use analytics to measure our success and help us iterate.

At Reverb, we want to connect music makers with the gear that will inspire them — whether it’s by building new functionality in search, helping buyers and sellers from across the globe agree on a fair price or creating a new way for everyday musicians to quickly trade in their gear for cash. 

We know, at the end of the day, we’re helping people do something they’re passionate about, and it’s exciting to work on a product that makes it easier for people to express themselves!

We’re helping people do something they’re passionate about, and it’s exciting to work on a product that makes it easier for people to express themselves!

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on recently, and what did you enjoy most about it? 

My team recently built a fast lane to selling on Reverb called Trade in for Cash. Now, users can sell items quickly to interested buyers without creating a listing or buying a shipping label, subject to simple program terms, all for an upfront payout amount. 

TIFC required building a new way to facilitate transactions on Reverb that leveraged the benefits of our existing codebase and infrastructure. For each challenge, we explored multiple solutions, ensuring the final solution fit within the Reverb ecosystem.

By using a small team of in-house gear experts to match the seller’s item with the interested buyers’ item qualifications, we were able to let the seller skip the listing process entirely. Using our deep knowledge of each item, we accurately estimated the shipping costs as well. With the best buyer’s offer price and the shipping cost known, we built a search experience that lets potential sellers browse eligible TIFC items, displaying each item’s pre-calculated payout amount. 

TIFC was a great exercise in taking a tried-and-true system and rearranging all the pieces to build a new tool that’s both unique and fun to use. 

 

 

Steven Klemp
Director of Loan Servicing • Renovo Financial

 

Employees at Renovo Financial, a private lender for real estate investors, adhere to the principle of #hustleharder — striving to understand the customers’ needs and earn their trust. In  pursuit of these goals, Director of Loan Servicing Steven Klemp recently worked with his team on the fintech company’s quality assurance review process, allowing teams to view their performance-related metrics in real time. 

 

What unique elements of your company’s product and service make it a rocketship that will ultimately blitz all its competition?

The most unique characteristic I have seen within our product and service is our culture. The culture spans from the front lines to the C-suite, and our team’s desire to be best in class is fundamental. 

When we say #hustleharder, it means so much. We understand our client’s needs and recognize that the market is competitive. We must hustle harder each day to earn the business and the trust that our clients grant us. We are always looking to set ourselves apart from the pack, and we’re not afraid to step outside our comfort zones to find new ways to solve today’s issues.

Another key component that often goes unsaid is the humility we bring every day. It grants us the ability to serve our clients and each other in the workplace. Our organization has a commitment to the team we work with each day. It is the special sauce in the products we provide.

Our organization has a commitment to the team we work with each day. It is the special sauce in the products we provide.

 

What’s the biggest rocket ship-fueling project that you’re currently working on, and what do you enjoy most about it? 

The coolest project I have been working on with our team recently is our quality assurance review process. We are working to embed our quality reviews into the daily workflow of each department in real time. This will allow our workforce to have a dashboard showing performance on various metrics.

The beta version I was recently shown looked like an NFL combine report, and it was incredibly motivating for the end users. The dashboard view also summarizes excellence and priorities, paramount components to providing the highest tier of feedback and coaching for our staff. 

Our staff craves feedback and the speed at which we can give accurate feedback is very important. People should come first. If you prioritize that, then the results will always follow.

 

 

Qijuan Zhang  
VSTAlert Director, Deployment and Product Management • VirtuSense

 

The culture at VirtuSense, an AI-powered fall-prevention company, stands out for its adaptability and flexibility, especially in the face of challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. VSTAlert Director Qijuan Zhang said she was excited to work on importing the company’s first parts from China, which paved the way for all future shipments. 

 

What unique element of your VirtuSense’s culture makes it a rocketship that will ultimately blitz all its competition?

We are very agile and implement changes quickly for customers or when the user environment changes, such as during the challenges posed by Covid-19. 

 

What’s the coolest project you’ve worked on recently, and what did you enjoy most about it? 

The coolest project I worked on was importing the first container of parts from China. The project team started from scratch, creating a plan and carrying out its due diligence. Each subject matter expert worked to safeguard the first imported container through registration, supplier checkpoints, customs clearance, international freight forwarding, etc. Now, we have the importing road paved for all future container shipments.

 

 

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