As crowds filled the now-familiar upstairs at Rockit Bar and Grill on Tuesday night, there was a palpable excitement in the air. Dozens of new faces joined regular Built In Chicago Launch attendees, contributing to an atmosphere of hope – for a fresh start in a new year that will hopefully surpass the successes of the one that preceded it.
Built In Chicago founder Matt Moog kicked off the evening’s events, followed by Kevin Willer of 1871 and the CEC, who announced that there is availability for startups and established companies to rent desks in the coworking space. Notable attendees included Brandon Copple, formerly of Groupon, Dan Hess, CEO of the Local Offer Network, and Comscore’s Gian Fulgoni.
Soon enough, attention shifted to the real stars of the evening: the five presenting companies. Here’s what they pitched, in order of appearance:
SeatSync: This ticket-swapping mobile app seeks to “change the way you exchange,” making it more reliable and convenient to sell or buy event tickets from real people near you. Location mapping capabilities allow users to see if anyone is selling tickets near their home or office, eliminating the need to pay costly shipping fees. Their asks included funding, individuals for their advisory board and users to sign up. “We hear the theme of community often at these events, we know how important the Chicago community...is to our continued success, so we’d really love it if everyone would download the app,” said Graham Thornton, co-founder.
ARC Mobile: According to CEO, founder and restaurant industry veteran Tyler Mendoza, mobile payment processing is not the solution to restuarants’ payment woes. The problem, he says, is making it easy for patrons to easily, securely, and instantly split a check without leaving the table. That’s what ARC Mobile, an app aiming to launch within two months in partnership with 70 River North and Gold Coast restaurants. For Mendoza, his family’s experience in the restaurant industry here in Chicago makes this problem a personal one. “Chicago is my home, I never want to leave, I love this environment – I think it’s one of the best up-and-coming supportive environments there is.”
ReviewTrackers: Having spent several years in the digital marketing industry, ReviewTrackers Chief “Tracking” Officer and founder Chris Campbell found that major brands were looking for a unified way to monitor their Web reputations. Seeing that no such system existed, he created one. The result is ReviewTrackers, an online portal that allows brands to receive alerts and analytics related to reviews of their brands on major sites like Yelp and OpenTable. “Spending the last six months in Santiago [at Startup Chile] and the year or two before that extensively traveling the world, this was a coming home. This was an excellent opportunity to showcase what I’ve been working on and get reconnected in the community,” Campbell said.
Stock Mfg. Co.: What do you get when you give a team of fashion-minded entrepreneurs a massive clothing factory? The opportunity to participate in a collaborative clothing company, of course. Stock Mfg. Co. accepts submissions from fashion designers that are vetted and displayed on the website. Those that receive the most votes are produced and sold by Stock – simple as that. “We’re very passionate about supporting the local community and trying to bring at least a semblance of American manufacturing back, not just to America but specifically back to Chicago,” said Jim Snediker, co-founder and CEO.
FoodJunky: Chicago is no stranger to food delivery companies. Still, the folks at FoodJunky feel they can improve the system by allowing individuals to submit their selections for group orders and letting restaurants list their menus free of charge. CEO and co-founder Travis Johnson believes this will attract many more food venues to his mobile-friendly website and make food ordering and delivery a less painful process. “Our goal right now is to integrate menu systems and aggregators so we can have the most robust menu database available,” Johnson said.
See you on February 20 for the next Built In Chicago Launch at Rockit Bar & Grill. Grab your tickets now before they sell out by clicking here.