10 Chicago startups helping make your business work smarter

Written by Doug Pitorak
Published on Apr. 29, 2015
10 Chicago startups helping make your business work smarter

Consumer-facing tech startups tend to get a lot of attention, and deservedly so. But there is a litany of companies that are proving invaluable to the daily lives of businesses. Here are 10 startups operating in Chicago your business should use!


Of course, you’re not going to have many customers if you’re unable to tell your story. Centro exists to help the folks behind your media campaigns do just that. With its enterprise-class software, Centro automates the parts of digital advertising that distract from the creative process. Marketers turn to one single place for research, planning, buying, optimization, reporting and reconciliation. With three products to choose from — the Centro Platform, Centro DSP, and Centro Brand Exchange — Centro provides businesses with a solution that best fits their needs.


Your team works hard. It’s important to keep them happy. And what better way to ensure employment satisfaction than providing delicious food for lunch? Thanks to Fooda, doing so has never been easier. Fooda manages your company’s food program, for employees and corporate catering. Simply schedule meals in advance, and Fooda’s partner restaurants will serve, drop off or deliver your food.


Hiring is undoubtedly one of the biggest pains for businesses. Hireology works to relieve hiring managers of that trouble. Through its data-driven platform, Hireology helps hiring managers make smart decisions — hires that prove to be a good fit, therefore not costing companies time, energy and resources. Hireology’s widget allows businesses to create fully-customizable career sites, ultimately allowing businesses to attract candidates who are genuinely interested. The platform helps businesses through this six-step process: job profiling, applicant sourcing, pre-screening, interviewing, verifying, and hiring.

[ibimage==46953==Original==none==self==ibimage_align-center]Kapow Events

Every client-business relationship could use a little TLC. The problem is, not every business has the time and resources to plan and put on the perfect get-together. That’s where Kapow Events can help. Essentially, Kapow helps businesses “love their clients”. Businesses can search unique, curated experiences — like cocktail cruises on Lake Michigan and pizza toastings at Bar Toma. They book the events online, and the rest is history. Clients come to an event they won’t soon forget.

Managed By Q

Are your employees wasting too much time and energy (and money) fixing things around the office? Managed By Q can solve those pesky problems. The company, which launched in Chicago earlier this month, is an operating system for the physical space. From a wall-mounted iPad, employees can seamlessly coordinate a mix of services on-demand, including furniture assembly, IT troubleshooting, and painting. Managed By Q employs the professionals suited to handle such issues, so your team can focus on its job.    


Your sales teams works hard to craft content and send it out to prospective clients. PointDrive helps make sure the hard work makes an impact. With its analytics system, sales reps can see what content clients read, what gets downloaded, what is forwarded, and more. By easily identifying sales opportunities, PointDrive works to shorten the sales cycle. Furthermore, PointDrive helps frame a company’s message and content in an appealing and easy-to-digest form. The platform helps personalize messages, create quick links, and more.



Speaking of the sales process, there might not be one part that experienced sales reps dread more than contracts. Far too often, the final matter of getting documents signed and sent to the appropriate parties takes too long. Sertifi serves to eliminate any such delay. It automates the contract process, complete with eSignatures and the secure collection of customer payments. Make sure “the last mile” is the easiest mile for your sales team.

Sprout Social

For many businesses managing social media can be challenging. For smaller startups they might not have the bandwidth to create a proper social presence. For bigger companies, meanwhile, the social presence might be too big to handle. Thankfully, Sprout Social exists to alleviate social media problems for business of all types and sizes. The platform is a one-stop-shop for managing a company’s social media messaging. It assists with engagement, publishing, and analytics, making sure a business covers all its bases.


Human resources teams are crucial to a positive work environment at a business. Syndio and its suite of data tools help those teams work smarter. On the verge of announcing a new policy or initiative? Syndio can help you identify persons in the office who have influence on the team. Furthermore, Syndio’s tools help identify the right people to meet with, and the right people to retain. Essentially, through The Executive Dashboard, Syndio helps human resources teams optimize employees.

Zest Health

An employee’s job is tough enough. They don’t want to go home at the end of their day and sift through complex health care benefits, tasked with finding the best care for them. Zest Health knows that, which is why it created an app to simplify the whole process. Zest Health zeroes in on preventative care and disease management, providing easy-to-access content and around-the-clock advocacy support. From easy appointment scheduling to the Zest Shopping Marketplace, Zest Health helps educate employees, allowing them to make better purchases.

Have a tip for us or know of a company that deserves coverage? Email us via [email protected].

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