Next Wednesday, we’ll be revealing the 10 winners of our Coolest Companies Competition, a friendly challenge to find the local businesses and startups with the best culture, live at Chicago Fest. (As a reminder, Chicago Fest takes place at Revel Fulton Market from 6.30PM – 9.30PM on 8/17 and will feature live music, lawn games, food trucks, cold drinks, and much, much more; come join us!)

Now, because we have 100 more-than-worthy finalists that are contending for this honor, we want to be completely transparent in regards to the selection process and show you how the proverbial sausage is made. So, here’s how the top 10 will be picked.

First, it’s important to understand how we define “cool.” To us, it’s quite simple – if you love working for you’re company, then that’s really cool. We just want to know why. And, as we saw in the hundreds of nominations that we received, there are a thousand reasons why, from perks to people to product to place.

During the nomination process, we asked five questions:

  • What are the coolest perks and benefits at your office? Do you have an office fitness center? Unlimited vacation? Catered lunches? Training programs? Tell us why you can’t wait to go to work each day.
  • What fun activities does your company plan? Do you have weekly cornhole competitions? Bring your pet to work day? Themed parties & frequent happy hours? Tell us about your extracurriculars on company time.
  • What do you wear to work. Suit & tie? Shorts & sandals? Themed attire? We want to know your dress code.
  • In one sentence, what makes your company the coolest and your corporate culture a cut above the rest?
  • We’d like to see your Coolest Company in action! Please upload 1 to 3 photos of your office, events, and team being super cool.

We then went through all of our nominations and put together a list of 100 finalists.

To get to the final 10, the Chicago Inno team will carefully go through the 100 submissions again and, together, identify their collective top 8. We’ll be looking at all of the information we received, as well as conducting a little due diligence on our final 15/20 or so. Our final 8 will represent the variety and breadth of reasons why the Chicago tech community thinks their employer is cool. (In other words, our 8 simply won’t be the 8 with the most impressive office spaces).

Our 8 picks will represent 50% of the final vote. We’ll then be relying on influencers in the community, including last year’s winners and our 50 on Fire judges, for the other 50%.

For the final two slots, we’ve opened up that selection process to the community via our Reader’s Choice form. To date, we’ve received nearly 10,000 votes! The two companies with the most votes will round out the final 10.

And that’s how the 10 Coolest Companies Competitions winners will be selected. Come see who gets crowned at Chicago Fest on Wednesday, 8/17!

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