Built In’s Featured Companies of the Month

These local companies are rising to new challenges.

Written by Remy Merritt
Published on Aug. 02, 2021
Built In’s Featured Companies of the Month
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Within just the first half of the year, Chicago saw eight companies achieve the coveted “unicorn” title, each securing valuations of at least one billion dollars, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. This brings Chicago’s total unicorn count to 19, with no signs of slowing down. A combination of factors are at play. Chicago is home to a number of large corporations that are now end users of new tech, local universities are strengthening their tech programs, and venture capital firms are looking at Chicago as a hotbed of innovation.

Every unicorn began as a startup. Growth is in the air in Chicago. We’ve rounded up five local companies that are making waves in their industries, and expanding their teams to keep up with present and future goals.


coworkers in office chatting

What they do: With so many mobile apps at our fingertips, the opportunities for privacy and security breaches are abundant. NowSecure is working to reduce that risk with their mobile app security testing, which offers a free and thorough automated analysis of iOS and Android mobile apps written in any language or framework.


Household names: Trusted by organizations like Kaiser Permanente, the United States Department of Justice and Uber, NowSecure is attracting and supporting a wide variety of industries.

Passion makes progress: When it comes to the team, SVP of Customer Success & Services Katie Strzempka identified a common thread that keeps everyone energized for growth. “We recruit individuals who are pioneers and team players, and we all have a common interest of helping our customers achieve success in their mobile security mission,” she previously told Built In Chicago.


higi product

What they do: Higi’s platform aims to make it easier for customers to measure, track and act on health data through mobile app and Higi Smart Health Stations located across the United States. Partnerships with healthcare providers allow customers to easily share their health data for personalized, up-to-date care.

Broadening horizons: New partners this year include Michigan State University, Mental Health America and Live Chair Health to enhance screening capabilities and expand their reach to new communities.


Function at the forefront: “Whether we partner with a new technology or develop our own, we prioritize how that new feature or functionality will better enable our users to engage with us, and in turn, with their health and healthcare partners,” CEO Jeff Bennett previously told Built In Chicago.


group photo outside

What they do: divvyDOSE manages prescription refills, keeping track of medications by proactively contacting prescribers to ensure refill authorizations are completed well in advance. At no additional cost, customers benefit from free doorstep delivery and a detailed medication list with each shipment.


Uniting for growth: Recently acquired by UnitedHealth Group Inc., divvyDOSE is poised to grow and expand into other healthcare service businesses including care delivery, pharmacy benefits and new technology.

Keeping it light: According to their website, “whether it’s a divvyVERSARY, birthday, a random potluck day or Plantsgiving,” the team does its best to have fun at work. That includes hosting frequent dress-up days and pizza lunches for all-around good vibes.


trunk club seating area
trunk club

What they do: Nordstrom is a household name in retail legacy. With so much experience in scaling and optimizing the customer experience, the chain is consciously innovating to keep up with the modern shopper.


Evolving together: DevOps Engineering Manager Matt Fiscus and his team stay ahead of the curve “by remaining passionate about what we do – it makes learning emerging technologies exciting.” He previously told Built In Chicago that he stays informed by attending conferences, viewing webinars and “reading relevant knowledge bases, Wiki articles, and blog posts to keep our ears on the ground.”

Tech buffet: Nordstrom’s tech stack is impressively robust, with a broad assortment of frameworks, libraries and languages. Tech tools extend to product, sales and marketing departments for analytics, design and project management.


zoom call
black spectacles

What they do: Black Spectacles has developed the first and only test preparation for the Architect Registration Examination that is approved by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. With online video lectures, practice exams and virtual workshops, their team is working to help architects around the world thrive in their career. 


Warm welcomers: “We’re not just managers and coworkers but warm, funny people with rich personal lives, interests and hobbies, and communicating that is essential to making new hires feel at home. To that end, we set up informal group lunches and meetings for the entire first week so new hires can learn fun facts about their teammates as well as what each person contributes to the company,” Jenni Schwaner, executive assistant and office manager, previously told Built In Chicago.

Partnering for progress: Black Spectacles recently partnered with National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) to offer their test prep software at a deep discount to NOMA members. Their mutual goal is to further the educational advancement of NOMA members, increasing diversity across the architecture industry.

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies.

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