Who will cut down the .net?

Today, we are thrilled to unveil the 2017 Tech Madness Bracket, a friendly competition designed to generate awareness and excitement for the Chicago tech ecosystem. (Round One voting is now LIVE!)

The bracket is compiled of 64 local tech companies and startups, representing the city’s innovation economy at large. Rather than just a list of the biggest, most well-funded companies, the Tech Madness Bracket is made up of local businesses at every stage, across all industries. This way, the bracket serves as a snapshot of the current state of Chicago tech, complete with public pillars (Grubhub, Groupon, and Gogo), fast-growing, later-stage rockets (Shiftgig, Spothero, and Sprout Social), and promising, early-stage startups (Cast 21, Nextme, and Pak’d).

Each matchup will be determined by community voting, with readers just needing to answer one question to decide who moves on to the next round – Who do you think will have the greater impact in five years? 

The 2017 bracket is below and voting is open. Round One will end on 3/13. Click ‘View Full Bracket’ to see all 64 teams and click ‘Vote’ to select your Round One victors. Also, for more information on the bracket – including seeding and the selection processscroll to the bottom for a complete breakdown. (And at the VERY bottom of this post, we have a list of all 64 competing companies). Before we get to the voting, let’s take a quick look at the regions…







Round 1: 3/9 – 3/13
Round 2: 3/13 – 3/16
Round 3: 3/16 – 3/20
Round 4: 3/20 – 3/23
Final 4: 3/23 – 3/29
Final Round: 3/29 – 4/3


  • Everybody gets one vote per matchup per day.
  • The bracket is designed to represent a snapshot of the entire 2017 tech ecosystem, complete with early-stage startups, public pillars, and representatives across every thriving industry in the city.
  • Seeding is based primarily on funding. For bootstrapped companies, seeding is determined by headcount and revenue. For public and acquired companies, we used Market Cap and the cost of the acquisition, respectively. For more information on how the bracket was assembled, see our overview here.
  • The seeding does NOT reflect an editorial statement on perceived value or “strength;” it’s just funding.
  • Because of this, do NOT approach the bracket like you would the NCAA one. (For March Madness, it’s logical to automatically pencil in top seeds through the first couple of rounds). Here, every “game” is a toss up and we expect to see a number of early upsets. Last year, our Final Four consisted of a 13, a 7, an 8, and a 1 seed.
  • These 64 companies were culled from the nominations that we received, as well as from internal research and reporting. There will be a number of companies not on this bracket that you believe deserve to be on here. And that’s great; that’s why this community’s so strong. Let us know who you think we missed and we’ll be sure to consider them for 2018.
  • Finally, like last year, if at ANYTIME you find yourself getting worked up over any seedings, omissions, inclusions, wins, or losses, shoot me an email immediately at will@chicagoinno.com and we’ll go grab a beer, take a few deep breaths together, and talk about how silly it is to get bent out of shape over a game that’s architected specifically to generate excitement for the Chicago ecosystem.

The 64 Tech Companies:

REGION 1: 1. Braintree v 16. Cast21 | 2. Trunk Club v 15. Truss | 3. Livongo Health v 14. GetSet | 4. Outcome Health v 13. NuCurrent | 5. GoHealth v 12. FlashFrame | 6. Maestro Health v 11. Tanvas | 7. ParkWhiz v 10. Caremerge | 8. Tempus v 9. Procured Health

REGION 2: 1. Groupon v 16. Looplio | 2. SMS Assist v 15. Nextme | 3. SpringCM v 14. Semantify | 4. Uptake v 13. Dryv | 5. Sprout Social v 12. Jellyvision | 6. InContext Solutions v 11. Figo Pet Insurance | 7. Envoy Global v 10. Catalytic | 8. Civis Analytics v 9. UrbanBound

REGION 3: 1. Grubhub v 16. Tiz | 2. Echo Global Logistics v 15. EatPakd | 3. Raise v 14. Tovala | 4. Signal v 13. EatPurely | 5. VividSeats v 12. Shipbob | 6. Home Chef v 11. Tock | 7. SpotHero v 10. project44 | 8. FourKites v 9. Label Insight

REGION 4: 1. Gogo v 16. TrakNProtect | 2. Avant v 15. Victory Lap | 3. kCura v 14. Block Six Analytics | 4. Vibes v 13. Jiobit | 5. Tastytrade v 12. Machinio | 6. Shiftgig v 11. M1 Finance | 7. Reverb v 10. Timshel | 8. Supernova v 9. SwervePay

The Tech Madness Bracket Reveal Event Was Sponsored By: