Two notable Chicago startup founders were just given a big nod for their entrepreneurial endeavors.
Patrick Vihtelic, founder and CEO of Home Chef, and Greg Caplan, founder and CEO of Remote Year, were two of the eight winners at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. The regional awards, now in their 31st year, honor Illinois and Wisconsin-based entrepreneurs for excellence in their field, commitment to their clients and employees, financial performance, risk and contributions to their community.
Finalists in this year’s competition generated nearly $8.1 billion in revenue and employed 18,000 people by the end of 2016, according to EY.
Home Chef, the second-largest meal kit delivery service in the US, raised $40 million last fall and recently moved into a new 30,000 square foot space in the Wrigley Building to accommodate growth. Remote Year, which provides opportunities for professionals to travel and work from around the world, raised $12 million last October.
Other winners include Jordan Batt, president, and Paul Chernawsky, CEO of Endurance; Ilene Gordon, CEO of Ingredion, Loretta Rosenmayer, founder of INTREN; Alison Gutterman, CEO of Jelmar; Andrew Limouris, founder of Medix, Jake Crampton, founder of MedSpeed.
In addition, Chicago teen entrepreneur Godfrey Phoenix was given a $2,000 scholarship for his work developing Phoenix Haven, a community center for South Shore youth. And Alex Hart-Upendo, the 10-year-old founder of bowtie company and anti-bullying organization Build-a-Bow, was given the first-ever Young Entrepreneur Humanitarian Award.
Other notable tech and startup finalists included Amanda Lannert and Harry Gottlieb of Jellyvision, Eddie Lou of Shiftgig, Chris Tia Donaldson of Thank God It’s Natural, Adam Robinson of Hireology, Ashish Rangnekar of BenchPrep, and Chris Ruder of Spikeball.
29 finalists were selected from an initial group of 65 applicants. The winners were selected by an independent panel of judges that included Mike Sands of Signal and Kristi Ross of tastytrade. From here, the winners will compete in the national EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards (held in November in Palm Springs, Calif.) with the chance to be named to the global finals.
Here’s a look at the full list of finalists (winners in bold).
- Rich Diaz, Advanced Resources (Chicago, Illinois)
- Rattan Khosa, AMSYSCO, Inc. (Romeoville, Illinois)
- Ashish Rangnekar, BenchPrep (Chicago, Illinois)
- Alexander Samoylovich, CEDARst Companies LLC (Chicago, Illinois)
- Jordan Batt and Paul Chernawsky, Endurance (Northbrook, Illinois)
- Tarek Hammoud, Enfusion Systems (Chicago, Illinois)
- Talia Mashiach, Eved (Chicago, Illinois)
- Adam Robinson, Hireology (Chicago, Illinois)
- Patrick Vihtelic, Home Chef (Chicago, Illinois)
- Ilene Gordon, Ingredion Incorporated (Westchester, Illinois)
- Loretta Rosenmayer, INTREN L.L.C. (Union, Illinois)
- Amanda Lannert and Harry Gottlieb, Jellyvision (Chicago, Illinois)
- Alison Gutterman, Jelmar, LLC (Skokie, Illinois)
- Neil Book, JSSI (Chicago, Illinois)
- Christofer Ruder, Spikeball Inc. (Chicago, Illinois)
- Michael Butler, Life Spine, Inc. (Huntley, Illinois)
- Rich Lyons, Lyons Consulting Group (Chicago, IL)
- Andrew Limouris, Medix (Chicago, Illinois)
- Donald Crampton, MedSpeed (Elmhurst, Illinois)
- Joseph Hanni, PS Seasoning (Iron Ridge, Wisconsin)
- Gregory Caplan, Remote Year (Highland Park, Illinois)
- Aleksandra Efimova, Russian Pointe (Chicago, Illinois)
- Fred Sasser, Sasser Family Holdings, Inc. (Schaumburg, Illinois)
- Eddie Lou, Shiftgig (Chicago, Illinois)
- Janice Honigberg, Sun Belle Inc. (Schiller Park, Illinois)
- Chris-Tia Donaldson, Thank God It’s Natural (Chicago, Illinois)
- Stephen Calk, The Federal Savings Bank (Chicago, Illinois)
- Matt Neumann and Tim O’Brien, Tim O’Brien Homes, Inc. (Pewaukee, Wisconsin)
- Christopher Gersch, Verde Solutions (Chicago, Illinois)