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 ShipBob, Project44 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
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.