Thanks to everyone who came out to Chicago Inno’s Chicago Fest last night!
With a great crowd, great music, and Galleria Marchetti’s awesome space, this year’s Fest was the best yet.
Last night we crowned the 10 Coolest Companies winners. As a reminder, five were chosen from Readers’ Choice votes, and five were selected by the Chicago Inno team based on the following categories: Best Perks, Best Office, Most Re-Tweetable (best social media presence), Most Giving and Wellness-est (best wellness initiatives and programs).
If you missed out on all the fun, here’s a breakdown of last night’s winners, along with excerpts from their nominations on what makes them a cool company. (You can learn more about how we picked the winners here.)
Centro (Readers’ Choice)
Centro is striving to be the first company to provide an integrated DSP with all other digital media buying methods in one platform. This is an exciting endeavor at the company level, but also at the individual level. It is extremely cool to be part of a team trying to do something that has never been done before.
Also, the office is an amazing place and the people are smart, ambitious, and kind. It’s a fun place to come to work every day.
Crowdfind (Most Re-tweetable)
We make sad people happy by getting them back their found stuff and helping them with lost stuff. We also help the venues and events they attend be more empathetic to their customers and provide actual help in an area that’s typically bled disdain from operators. Perks include unsolicited hugs and social media love from happy patrons, a work schedule that sees our team running the show at nearly every large-scale music festival of note (we are the official lost and found partner for Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Firefly, Outsidelands, Spring Awakening, Okeechobeefest, Electric Forest, Stagecoach, Mamby on the Beach, etc..).
G2 Crowd (Most Giving)
Aside from the obvious perks of working at G2 Crowd (catered lunch four days a week, all the La Croix you can drink, cold brew + nitro cold brew on tap, treadmill desk, and more), the culture in our office is second to none. Transparency is at our core and is reflected by the open communication between employees and managers. Employees get to look forward to the annual G2 Crowd Adventure Race and Cub’s outing, in addition to the weekly Taco Tuesdays. Our charitable initiative, G2 Gives, also allows us to not only donate money to worthy causes like Chicago Tech Academy, but also get out into the community ourselves through company outings to the local food pantry and Habitat for Humanity.
Jellyvision (Readers’ Choice)
At Jellyvision, two of our biggest perks are of the magical “invisible but priceless” variety…1. there’s no vacation policy so you can adventure as needed, and 2. you can work from home whenever you want. These perks sure come in handy because we spend our weeks hard at work building software that helps more than 14 million people at more than 850 companies make difficult decisions about their health and their finances, and when you consider the fact that we’ve grown from 150 employees in 2014 to more than 350 employees today, it’s nice to be able to work from home where the lines for the bathroom are much, much shorter. Everyone makes sure to be in town for Mustache Day, though, since no one would dream of missing our made-up holiday where everyone grows (or glues on) wild mustaches and then eats their height in meat at Fogo de Chao. Business stops for Mustache Day, but during the rest of the year, we’re laser-focused on building cutting-edge technology that transforms confusing jargon into helpful advice for our end users, plus sneaking away from our standing desks to munch on some company-supplied snacks: in the game room; in the music room during Battle of the Bands practice; amidst the books of the JV library; or even in one of the office showers, if that’s your thing.
Maestro Health (Readers’ Choice)
Maestro Health is one of the coolest companies because we focus on fun, biz-love, kindness and humility among our other core values. On any given day you’ll see “Maestronites” riding our in-house scooter throughout the office (walking around is so 2000) and our CEO, Rob Butler, serves all staff cheese on a platter on Fridays. Talk about humility. Regarding biz-love, we shout out people for doing good work.
ParqEx (Readers’ Choice)
Our company is one of the coolest in Chicago because it was created by solving a personal problem. When Vivek Mehra moved to Chicago from Mumbai in 1998, he couldn’t deal with the nuisance of searching for a parking space every time he needed to park. He was frustrated as he drove around the city and saw private spaces sitting empty in especially hard-to-park neighborhoods. Vivek thought to solve this problem through utilizing the sharing economy, and his solution has turned into the company that we are today!
Red Frog Events (Best Perks)
At Red Frog Events, we pride ourselves on amazing benefits, a one-of-a-kind office and a company culture unlike any other. Full-time employees can enjoy unlimited vacation days and a paid four-week sabbatical every five years! Each January, we go on a fully paid company retreat to re-energize, celebrate accomplishments, and each other. Our philanthropic efforts shine through our dedicated partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital where we’ve already raised $14 million towards our $25 million goal.
ShipBob (Readers’ Choice)
Aside from having the brightest team members I have ever been associated with, Shipbob actually helps businesses grow. Our mission is simple – Help eCommerce businesses grow through utilization of our full-stack fulfillment solution! To top it off, our culture breeds growth, excitement, and fun! We love what we do, we love working together, and live a culture of fun!
In just six years, SpotHero has quickly grown to be the leading parking reservation service in the U.S., empowering people to get everywhere, easier. We recently expanded to a large, beautiful new office in the South Loop that makes wellness a priority for our more than 200 employees; it includes a Zen Den for relaxation and meditation, and a game room with shuffle board, video and arcade games for people to unwind. The effort to promote well-balanced employees transcends our office space, as we recently also launched a wellness program, Happy Heroes, to encourage our team to take care of themselves. Combine this with a new mentorship program, Hero Navigators, complimentary lunch Thursdays and—naturally!—parking perks, SpotHero sits at the cool kids’ table.
Uptake (Best Office)
I previously worked at a PR agency where, for nearly a decade, I represented dozens of tech clients. There are none out there like Uptake. From our vibrant, buzzy work space, to the incredibly smart people, to the perks and benefits of being an Uptaker, it’s a place where people are proud to be. And you see that in the work we do for clients. Our products are top of the line built on deep data science expertise and infused with speed, agility and security. Uptake has built something truly different and meaningful.