50 on Fire is a celebration of the people and businesses that are heating up the city’s innovation economy, across multiple industries. And though Chicago is known for its B2B-focused software and startups, its growing B2c scene, its civic tech community, its local universities, and its advertising and marketing ecosystem – the city also has a number of entrepreneurs and early-stage businesses that are disrupting every corner of the lifestyle category, from from food delivery to pet care.
Below, we’ve spotlighted the finalists for the 16 AMAZONG finalists for the Lifestyle category.
- What started with leasing a vacant Chicago lot and transforming it into a public bocce ball park in Wicker Park has lead the (now) American Bocce Co to building courts, hosting leagues and events for thousands of bocce players around the world.
- In less than three years they have successfully expanded from a single court to managing over 30 + leagues in Chicago.
Bryon Finke, Founder, Marketsquare |
- Bootstrapped, Marketsquare, an easy way to buy and sell used furniture online, to $250k in revenue in the last 12 months.
- Also co-founded Home Chef, another 50 on Fire finalist.
Colleen Shaughnessy, Co-Founder, LulaFit |
- Began Lulafit, a startup that delivers custom wellness services to customers in their own home or gym facility, from her couch in River North and expanded Lulafit to seven locations in the city.
- In 2016, Crafty, a solutions provider for happy hours and events, went from 0 to 200 offices served.
- Also, after launching its Cold Brew on Tap program 3 months ago, Crafty is already in 50 offices with this service.
- Eat Pak’d, a delivery service for healthy, custom kids lunches, launched a brand new nutrition program this year, which includes full meal plans.
- Also, a recent Techstars graduarte, all 3 founders are 3rd generation Midwestern entrepreneurs
- An on-demand food delivery service of healthy organic chef made meals.
- Went live last year but officially launched its app in March and has grown from 5 to 50 employees and expanded from 2 to 20 neighborhoods.
- Figo Pet Insurance is a tech-enabled online provider of dog and pet insurance.
- Won the SMA Innovation in Action Award at the annual SMA Summit.
- The makers of Cubii, a smart under table elliptical device.
- Fitness Cubed launched their under desk elliptical device Cubii in 2014 with a goal of $80k and closed it at $300k in sales.
- In 2016, Fooda reached a milestone of serving 10 million lunches across our 7 different markets. Fooda has also raised $22 million in funding and has over 100% growth 3 years in a row.
- Fooda also expanded into 7 markets and continues to grow.
Hassan Ali Creative Marketing Director, The Onion
- The Creative Marketing Director at The Onion, Ali also participates in a number of General Assembly events and workshops, bringing two incredibly disparate industries – comedy and tech – closer together.
- The fast-growing meal kit delivery service raised a $40M Series B in September.
- In September, the company also announced that it would be creating more than 1,200 jobs and investing over $3M in a new facility outside of Atlanta by 2020. The new facility, according to the Chicago Tribune, will serve as a wholesale purchasing, assembling, packaging and distribution center.
- Innova EV, based in Burr Ridge, Ill., has developed the DASH electric vehicle to address the growing demand for environmentally responsible, first mile/last mile transportation in urban and university settings.
- Innova EV is working on pilot programs with four leading sustainability-focused campuses: Ohio State University, Colorado State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Josh Katt, Founder and CEO, Kitchfix
- As the founder and CEO of Kitchfix, Katt has hire 50% of the company’s 40-plus employees through the Cara Program and Growing Home organizations.
- The company expanded its delivery to its second geographical location to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in September 2016, allowing area residents to pick up food from six hubs.
- Meal Sharing enables travelers and locals to connect with each other over home-cooked meals.
- To date, there have been 6,453 meals shared. Of all guests who attend a meal, 25% have attended 2 or more meals and 10% have attended 5 or more meals.
- In 2016, they have focused on the travel customer segment and have opened their platform to restaurants.
- Remote Year, a startup that helps people travel the year while still working, raised $12M in October.
- Since launch, over 500 professionals have used Remote Year to travel the world, visiting more than 25 countries.
- A New Venture Challenge winner, Tovala creates a multi-function smart oven.
- The startup raised $1.6M in October.
(Image via 50 on Fire)