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Friday, February 23, 2018

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Jim: Hey gang. Happy Friday. A quick reminder as we wrap up another busy week of Chicago tech news: If you’re enjoying The Beat, be sure to send it around to your colleagues and tell them to sign up right here. The Beat is more fun with friends.

Now, let’s finish the week strong and kick a Beat…

The Big One

A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.

Jim: Chicago tech hub 1871 just got a nice recognition from a global business accelerator ranking. Katherine, break down the news for us.

Katherine: 1871 was ranked first in the world among university-affiliated business incubators for its impact among local startups and its dedication to diversity.

The list, put together by Sweden-based UBI Global, ranks business incubators based on factors like how much value they bring to their members and their overall economic impact. 1871 is the only U.S. incubator on the list of 10. Other ranked incubators are in countries, such as Portugal, the Netherlands and Turkey.

1871’s ranking is an improvement from years past. In 2015, 1871 was ranked fourth in the world, second in North America and first in the U.S.

1871, launched in 2012, has eight university partners, like Northwestern University and The University of Chicago, and is home to more than 500 startups. Affiliated companies and alumni have raised more than $280M and have created over 8,000 jobs. In many ways, 1871 has become the epicenter of Chicago’s growing tech scene.

“1871 has—once again—demonstrated that it is one of the best university-linked business incubation programs in the world,” said Holger Meyer, director of research at UBI Global. “Achieving outstanding results across all assessed impact and performance dimensions and an impressive track record of successful client and alumni startups, 1871 has become a central hub and major pillar of the Chicago entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

Read More: 1871 Ranked First in World Among University-Affiliated Incubators

Making Moves

Inside the people, companies and organizations making moves in Chicago.

Jim: AddStructure, a startup that’s building tools to let customers shop for things online using voice commands, has been acquired by Bazaarvoice, an Austin-based marketing tech company. Chicago-based AddStructure, which launched in 2014, uses machine learning and natural language processing to give brands intelligent digital assistants to help customers find and purchase products. It has quickly caught on with e-commerce companies, and was one of ten startups selected to the first-ever Target+Techstars retail accelerator in Minneapolis. It’s working with Target on natural language online shopping tools, and it also counts Best Buy as a customer and investor.

Katherine: ServiceNow, a Silicon Valley software company, is opening an engineering center in Chicago with plans to hire 150 workers over the next two years. Chicago beat out a handful of other cities to land ServiceNow, which was founded in 2004 and does nearly $2B in annual revenue.

Jim: Airbnb is launching a new high-end rental option called Airbnb Plus, and Chicago is one of the first 13 global cities that will offer the feature. Airbnb Plus homes will be inspected and verified in person against a 100+ point checklist covering cleanliness, comfort and design, the company said.

In The Know

The Inno stories you need to read today.

A New Chicago-Made App Aims to Reduce Anxiety, Depression Caused by Social Media

PauseApp monitors a person’s usage of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, and alerts them to when they have exceeded healthy amounts of time on each site.

How Block Club Chicago Is Using Blockchain to Sustain Its Journalism

Can blockchain technology save journalism? One local media company wants to find out.

Meet the Startups in WeWork’s First Chicago Veterans in Residence Program

This week, WeWork announced the 9 veteran-founded startups that will be in its first-ever Chicago cohort.

In The Community

The events and happenings to know about in Chicago.

Katherine: Next Wednesday, check out this MATTER workshop on Leveraging Your Financial Model. This event is designed to help attendees develop the necessary skills to create a model for projected sales and expenses. Fady Hawatmeh, the founder and CEO of FADICO, will lead the event. More info here.

New Money

Your funding roundup.

Jim: Monica & Andy, a Chicago-based startup that sells clothes for babies and toddlers, has raised $6.6M in new equity funding, according to a Form D filing.

Rants & Ramblings

The other stuff.

Katherine: The Chicago Eater published a list of 18 “killer” fried chicken sandwiches in the city, and it has me pumped because I am on a mission to find the best one. I can confirm that Honey Butter Fried Chicken and Somerset make a good one. Next I need to try Leghorn’s.

Jim: I’ve never met a fried chicken sandwich I didn’t like.

In other news, I had a chance to talk to the fine folks at 3Points Communications, who interviewed me about Chicago Inno, The Beat, Chicago’s status as a tech city and the state of journalism in general. You can check that out here.

Featured Jobs

Featured startup and tech jobs on Chicago Inno’s new Careers Directory.

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Meet The Authors

Jim Dallke

Katherine Davis

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