For the third year in a row, Built In Chicago’s Moxie Awards brought out the best of Chicago tech with a bit of friendly competition. Last night’s event honored the city’s most innovative digital companies with 16 coveted Moxie Awards and of course some congratulations from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Built In Chicago founder and chairman Matt Moog.
“The size of this room shows all the successes we’ve had over the past three
years,” Emanuel said. “I’m proud of what you’re building in the city and in the Midwest.”
Moog said the whole idea for Built In Chicago came from a gathering of tech entrepreneurs just like the one happening at the Moxie Awards last night (except there were just a few less people in the room). He thanked the 850 attendees for the role they have played as angel investors, mentors, educators and dreamers.
“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources,” Moog said. “All of you took that leap of faith and that’s what makes this community tick. Thank you to the entrepreneurs who are pursuing your dreams.”
Chicago tech is growing - and hiring
The true sign of Chicago tech's growth came from the entrepreneurs themselves as they took the stage to accept their Moxie Awards. As the winners ran up to the stage and gave short acceptance speeches, one thing became apparent: the Chicago tech scene is growing so fast not only because new companies are sprouting up, but because mid-stage companies are expanding exponentially.
Jellyvision CEO Amanda Lannert mentioned that her company is hiring over 150 in the next year: "We've doubled our staff in the last six months and are going to double again in the next year, and we aren't alone in aggressive plans for growth."
Moxie Award winner Signal (formerly BrightTag) is adding over 100 in the next two years; Sprout Social, which took home two Moxie Awards last night, is hiring 100 as well this year; Moxie Award winner kCura is hiring over 150; and the list goes on….
Even Emanuel told the Chicago tech community last night that “no other sector has grown as much as you have.” He said the tech sector will top 80,000 people over the next five years.
Who took home the Moxie Awards
Best Consumer Web Startup: SpotHero
Best B2B Startup: TempoDB
Best New Startup: Civis Analytics
Best Startup Founder or Co-Founders: Jimmy Odom, Daniela Bolzmann and Kirk Lashley (WeDeliver)
Best Service Provider: VineSprout, Inc.
Digital Agency of the Year: Rise Interactive
Mentor of the Year: Chuck Templeton (Impact Engine)
Investor of the Year: Stuart Larkins (Chicago Ventures)
Woman in Tech Award: Kristi Ross (CEO & President at dough)
CTO of the Year: Aaron Rankin (Sprout Social)
Best Software Company: Signal (formerly BrightTag)
Startup of the Year: Sprout Social
Best Company Culture: Centro
Best Enterprise Web Company: kCura
Breakthrough Digital Company of the Year: GrubHub
CEO of the Year: Amanda Lannert (Jellyvision)