Entrepreneurs Shone on Stage at August's Built In Chicago Launch

August 23, 2013

There was a celebrity at last night’s Built In Chicago Launch at Rockit Bar & Grill—but it wasn’t a person. No, it was Google Glass, donned by one of the night’s presenters and mesmerizing to all in attendance.

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Kicking off the night, as always, was Built In founder Matt Moog, welcoming the crowds. He mentioned that over 10,000 people have attended Built In Chicago events, bringing the connections they make online into the real world. Moog also pointed out Amy Messenger, the Technology Practice Leader for Ogilvy PR, who came from Denver (and brought along a colleague from the San Francisco office) in an effort to engage startups in a new opportunity called Espresso. You can read more about it here.

Basecamp users know how powerful that tool is for managing projects and workflow. Forecaster is a new web app from the GreyGoo team that integrates with Basecamp, allowing users to create revenue forecasts. You can sync projects, enter revenue schedules and other variables and create forecasts that can be exported into Excel or PDF format. In the future, the app will integrate with accounting apps as well. Try Forecaster here.

The next pitch came from Google Glass-wielding Zack Price, CEO of Blog Into Book, a web service that converts top blogs into ebooks. Price says his company turns bloggers into authors. His team provides the service for free to bloggers, allowing them to earn passive, royalty-based income due to sales on digital reading platforms that span e-readers, computers, tablets and smartphones.

“Now accepting social currency.” So goes the tagline for Popular Pays, a site that allows users to cash in for their Instagram photos. Cofounder Corbett Drummey created the iPhone app because he believes that you don’t need 100,000 followers to use your social influence to your advantage. Using his app, anyone with at least 500 Instagram followers can earn perks such as a free drink from Gaslight or a free biscuit from Bang Bang Pie, simply for posting a photo.

Launched earlier this summer, design school The Designation completed its first 10-week course this summer. Founder Kevin Yun took the stage with instructor Andrew Wenum to let everyone know that the school is now accepting applications for its fall session, which will begin September 16. The Designation promises to turn you into a full-fledged digital designer in under three months.

Finally, Gib Olander pitched Local Viewpoints, a program that combines customer surveys, online reviews and analytics to give small business owners the information they need to improve their offerings. He says this is important since 90% of shoppers use reviews to influence purchase decisions, but only 6% of people actually post reviews. Local is an extension of Moog’s product review site Viewpoints.com, and seeks to increase the number and quality of customer reviews. The company is currently raising funding, and hopes to close a round within a month.

Join us on September 22 for the next Built In Chicago Launch at Rockit Bar & Grill!

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