Techstars Chicago, a competitive, three-month startup accelerator program, held its annual demo day Thursday night, where the program’s 10 startups each shared their concepts with fellow techies and investors.
Troy Henikoff, the co-founder of Techstars Chicago, kicked off the night, sharing Techstars Chicago’s story and how it’s grown since launching in 2009. Techstars, housed inside startup incubator 1871, has produced successful local tech companies like Wise Apple, Jiobit and SpotHero.
“We’re doing more than just helping entrepreneurs,” Henikoff said at the event, which was hosted at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law in Streeterville. “We’re literally building companies.”
Though Henikoff established Techstars Chicago, the program is now run by Chicago tech veteran Logan LaHive.
Chicago Techstars is been a good launching pad for young startups, giving them exposure, resources and guidance while forming a solid foundation for their company, but only time will tell if this year’s class has the stamina to thrive beyond it.
Here’s the 10 startups that pitched at Techstars’ 2017 demo day:
The tech company has created an online software service that streamlines the home-buying process. Founded by Kyle Stoner and Carson Junginger, Abode connects users to a local real estate agent, mortgage professionals, real estate attorneys and home inspectors to help ease the process. Additionally, it allows them to process sensitive documents on the platform, and when users have closed on a home, Abode will even help them find movers. There’s currently more than 4,000 real estate agents on the platform, and more than 500 buyers are currently using it to find a home.
To help companies combat diversity and inclusion problems in the workplace, Allie has developed a Slack bot that employees can express their concerns to. When an employee notifies Allie of an instance of discrimination, the program aggregates the data over time so that HR managers and top executives can monitor incident trends. Allie was founded by Emilie Hsieh and Simon Tam.
Founded by Daniel Mason, Elemetric offers an API service for the blockchain internet and creates a marketplace that connects internet and blockchain application data. The company has been backed by datascope and IDEO.
Founded by four engineers, Futury has created a free online database for engineers that combines real-time market analytics to help them boost their career. Users can build a profile, view job openings and access an analysis of how certain positions could enhance their salary, benefits and skillsets. The founders are Maor Idan, Amit Hacohen, Stav Sitnikov and David Ben Shushan.
The software company has created a free tool that helps users with retirement planning. Founded by William Rueter, Nicholas Moy and Colin Sidoti, the software walks users through their financial standing and helps them best determine how to save enough money for when they’re no longer working.
The tech company is aiming to help remote workers better connect with their colleagues through a virtual reality headset that puts them in the same room as their co-workers. The headset uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to bring individuals into the virtual workspace with their laptop’s webcam that tracks their movements. Founder Renji Bijoy said he hopes the technology allows people to work and live wherever they want to.
Founded by Evanna Hu and Ben Dubow, Omelas provides organizations operating in conflict-prone regions a view of geopolitical and security risks through a software platform. It monitors radical propaganda in an organization’s area and helps them make better strategic decisions for investments to safeguard assets.
The company has created a software platform that streamlines lawyer’s pro bono work. Every year, lawyers are required to provide 50 hours of pro bono work to underprivileged communities that need legal help. Paladin, founded by Felicity Conrad and Kristen Sonday, helps manage and organize the data for lawyers across the globe.
The e-commerce startup sells “high-quality” promotional merchandise that companies often buy for their employees, event and clients. The company, founded by Jeremy Parker and Josh Orbach, allows users to design their own swag and order it in bulk. Items for design include water bottles, tote bags and notepads. They paid $200,000 for their domain name and have sold merchandise to hundreds of companies, including Facebook, Google and Virgin.
The startup makes a software that integrates with users’ email, calendar and other data sources to help them create connections and build stronger professional relationships. The founders, Ablorde Ashigbi and David Vandegrift, left their investor roles at Pritzker Group Venture Capital in July to start the company in the Techstars program.