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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

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First Up

Down South.

Jim: Atlanta Inno officially went live today. It’s jam-packed with stories and guides on Atlanta’s innovation ecosystem. It’s our eighth Inno city, and we’re super excited about it. Check it out.

Also, we made a slight redesign to our homepage. Check it out and let us know what you think.

Alright, enough housekeeping. Let’s kick a Beat.

The Big One

A breakdown on the day’s biggest Inno story.

Katherine: Chicago startup FourKites just raised a big new round of funding as the fast-growing logistics startup continues to gain popularity with the shipping industry. Jim, give us the latest details on FourKites.

Jim: FourKites announced Tuesday that it has raised $35M in new funding in a round led by August Capital, a Menlo Park, CA-based venture firm that has also invested in Chicago startups Avant and Rocketmiles.

The news comes as the startup has grown quickly since launching in 2014. It previously raised a $13M Series A in 2016, and its customers include some of the largest shippers in the world, like Kraft Heinz, Nestlé, Best Buy, Penske and Staples. FourKites also recently signed international deals with Unilever and AB InBev.

The startup has grown to 160 employees, with plans to double that this year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

FourKites’ software helps companies predict when shipments will arrive at scheduled stops. It can also monitor load temperatures and analyze a company’s supply chain data. The goal, the company says, is to help businesses improve on-time delivery and minimize product loss. Investors in FourKites’ latest round of funding also include previous backers Bain Capital Ventures and Hyde Park Venture Partners.

FourKites is one of several promising Chicago logistics startups like ShipBobProject44 and Fraight AI, who all are following in the footsteps of established local logistics players like Coyote Logistics (sold to UPS for $1.8B) and Echo Global Logistics (went public in 2009).

One way for startup ecosystems to succeed is to play to the strengths of their surrounding business community at large. We’re seeing that right now in Chicago when it comes to logistics startups.

Read More: FourKites Raises $35M as It Lines up More Big-Name Customers

Making Moves

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

Jim: Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post last Friday that the company plans to invest in “new or expanded offices” in nine states, including Illinois. Pichai said there will be “thousands” of people employed at the new and growing offices, which will include engineering, operations, sales and other roles.

Katherine: The TRiiBE, a new media company that is “reshaping the narrative of Black Chicago through journalism and art,” recently took to Indiegogo to help fund the site. The crowdfunding campaign follows Block Club Chicago, a new digital media property from the folks behind DNAinfo, who have so far raised nearly $140,000 on Kickstarter.

Jim: Two Chicago VC firms just saw a portfolio company exit for $100M. Vettery, which is based in New York, has been acquired for $100M by HR firm The Adecco Group. Chicago-based Lightbank and the Pritzker Group both invested in Vettery’s $9M Series A.

In The Know

The Inno stories you need to read today.

Illinois Agrees to Explore Chicago-Cleveland Hyperloop Route

You could get from Chicago to Cleveland in 28 minutes.

How Percent Pledge Makes Giving Back Simple for Millennials and Employers

The startup partnered with Spikeball, the Chicago-based sporting company that appeared on “Shark Tank,” to pilot the platform for its 23 full-time employees.

Tyson Foods Partners With 1871 and a Silicon Valley Accelerator

Food conglomerate Tyson Foods, which has a $150M startup venture fund in Chicago, has announced a partnership with local tech incubator 1871.

In The Community

The events and happenings to know about in Chicago.

Jim: Tonight, be sure to check out the latest Technori Startup Showcase at the Illinois Institute of Technology featuring a fireside chat with Ocient Founder Chris Gladwin. More info here.

New Money

Your funding roundup.

Katherine: Fintech startup Braviant Holdings has raised $5M in equity from New York-based Loom Capital. Braviant, which uses analytics and proprietary technology to help credit card companies make smarter lending decisions, said it will use the funds to diversify its customer acquisition channels.

Rants & Ramblings

The other stuff.

Katherine: Fox News is launching a new streaming service called Fox Nation, which will feature original content, separate from their cable news broadcast. Apparently, it’s designed for Fox’s “superfans.” Fox is one of the first among its competitors to dabble in a digital future, so maybe CNN will follow suit soon. I’d watch it. Wolf Blitzer is my guy.

Jim: The very last thing needed on this sweet sweet earth is expanded cable news coverage.

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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