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Jim: Can virtual reality and 360 degree video help get more pets adopted? One Chicago startup thinks so. Will, tell us about Pet Gotcha Day.

Will: Based out of 1871, Pet Gotcha Day uses 360 degree videos to bring “adoptable pets to life,” hoping to make the pet adoption process more engaging, fun, and ultimately reduce cases of euthanasia by increasing pet adoptions.

Shelter volunteers shoot the videos—since they are already familiar and comfortable with the animals—and the startup provides 360 degree video-enabled cameras if the shelter or volunteer doesn’t have one. Potential adopters can view these videos, along with the pet’s and shelter’s information, on the startup’s platform, and the videos are accessible via both mobile and desktop. It is free for pet shelters to onboard their pets onto the Pet Gotcha Day platform, and the startup is extending sponsorship opportunities as part of its revenue model.

Jim: Eventually, the startup plans to incorporate virtual reality into the experience, and people with VR-enabled headsets will get an immersive experience of what it’s like to own the animal.

I like this idea and am excited to see if this startup can gain traction, but they’re gonna need a name change, I think (the word “Gotcha” in the name stands for “Growing Ownership Through Connecting Humans and Animals” and the startup celebrates adoptions through its platform as “Pet Gotcha Days,” the founder told us).
Read More: This Startup Wants To Use VR to Help You Find Your Next Pet

Jim: Cards Against Humanity announced today that it has donated $70K to the Marijuana Policy Project, a cannabis advocacy group that works to make marijuana legal at the state level. The money will go towards MPP’s effort to legalize and regulate marijuana use among adults in Illinois. The funding comes from sales of Cards Against Humanity’s newly released Weed Pack, which features new marijuana-related cards players can add to their deck.
Read More: Cards Against Humanity Is Backing Marijuana Legalization in IL

Will: Uber Freight is expanding to Chicago, according to Crain’s. The service, which was introduced earlier this year in Texas, has also expanded to cities in California, Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina to connect truck drivers to available loads based on their past job history and preferred routes.

Jim: Lollapalooza kicks off today. If you’re not down at Grant Park, get your live streamin’ on right here and catch the festival from you couch (which let’s be honest is probably for the best).

Tonight, be sure to check out the iVenture Summer Demo Day, where you’ll join University of Illinois student entrepreneurs as they pitch their startups to investors after a summer spent in the accelerator program on campus. This event is free and open to the public and held at Avant.
Read More: Chicago Inno Approved: August’s Top Tech and Startup Events


Jim: Energy around entrepreneurship is picking up speed at University of Chicago, and not just at the Booth School of Business–but across the entire campus. To keep track of all the university-wide entrepreneurship, Waverly Deutsch, a clinical professor of entrepreneurship at Booth, will serve as the Polsky Center’s Academic Director of University-Wide Entrepreneurship Content.
Read More: As Entrepreneurship at UChicago Picks Up, Booth Prof Takes on Organizing Role

We have two events in August we’d LOVE to see you at. First, be sure to grab your tickets to Chicago Fest, our big summer bash happening 8/16. Second, be sure to register for Smart Scaling for Startups, taking place the following week.

Jim: It’s Lollapalooza weekend, and yesterday I saw my first batch of #LollaTeens roaming around downtown. I know I’m getting older because my first thought was: who are all these damn kids and why aren’t they wearing any clothes?

But it’s important to remember: Don’t be angry-Chicago-local-who-shits-on-Lollapalooza guy. Just let these kids have their fun and enjoy their festival. As long as they don’t puke on the train.

Please don’t puke on the train.

Will: Some thoughts I had while weaving in-and-out of #LollaTeens on my way to work.

1. Kids dress like they’re from the future.
2. When are we going to disrupt braces? They’re still goofy as hell.
3. Some Proactiv scientist has TOTALLY discovered an enzyme that would eliminate acne forever and the CEO was like “burn that research NOW.” No way science hasn’t cracked the pimple code yet.
4. People are going to be so cold tomorrow.
5. Man, those were the days.

Jim: Rumor has it that last year Google offered to buy Snapchat for at least $30B.

I know of another consumer tech co that once turned down a multiple billion dollar deal from Google. Wonder how this one will turn out….

Will: Absolutely insane. Daily deals were a fad that people mistook for a movement. Snapchat’s a little different because social/mobile messaging/networking isn’t going anywhere.

The problem with Snapchat is that people assume that “brand and product loyalty” is a kind of universal concept, and not something that probably died with Baby Boomers. Millennials have proven to get tired of stuff and move on to the next thing. (Which is fair. Why is it cool to be loyal to a brand? If Coke changes its recipe, drink another soda).

If you’ve made something that’s losing money but is valuable ONLY because young people are using it, SELL WHILE YOU CAN. They’ll be gone. (Or start making money, that’s always an option).

And before you throw Facebook at me, know that the ‘Books avg. user is 40 years old.

From Jim’s story on Cards Against Humanity’s effort to fund marijuana legalization in Illinois:

A recent poll says that 66 percent of Illinois voters support regulating marijuana like we do alcohol,” Cards Against Humanity co-creator Max Temkin said in a statement. “You’re telling me this effort is something the vast majority of people support that makes everyone happy and pays for our schools and roads, and we’re not doing it?”

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