IVCA Feature: Techstars Chicago Announce the Ten Businesses/Start-ups in their 2018 Accelerator Program

It happened on Monday, July 16th, the launch of the 2018 Techstars Chicago accelerator “class” – the ten businesses/start-ups will receive seed money and mentoring in a 90 day program, that will culminate in Demo Day for those businesses in front of Chicago and other investors on October 4th. Techstars Chicago is part of an overall branch of an international accelerator program, and after they screened 2,243 applications for the opportunity, the finalists include six that are based in Chicago, two in the Midwest, and one international entry from Canada.
Techstars is based in Boulder, Colorado, and has a global footprint. The Chicago branch began locally as Excelerate Labs – which was the brainchild of Sandbox Industries, the I2A Fund, Sam Yagan (OK Cupid, Sparknotes) and Troy Henikoff – before it merged with Techstars in 2013. In 2017, Techstars Chicago named Logan LaHive, the former CEO of the universal loyalty company Belly, as the new Managing director. LaHive will be overseeing his second Techstars class. The mentor network, which provides the ten businesses necessary direction, includes executives from The Jellyvision Lab, Hyde Park Angels, Lightbank, Groupon and the Starter League.
The following ten businesses/start ups are Techstars Chicago “Class of 2018”... with links to additional information about each company.
2nd Kitchen: Founded by Arik Gaisler, Jon Elron and Nick Anastasiades. 2nd Kitchen enables businesses without a kitchen to serve food using a custom menu from nearby restaurants. It began by offering this service to bars and breweries in Chicago, and has plans to expand across industries, such as hotels, co-working and offices. Click https://2ndkitchen.com/

Clyde: Founded by Brandon Gell, Josh Scaglione and Nick Scaglione. This tech  company’s goal is to transform insurance at the point of sale, starting with the warranty industry. Clyde allows e-commerce stores to offer extended warranty and product insurance to customers when they buy something, giving businesses a passive revenue stream. Click https://www.joinclyde.com/

Hurry Home: Founded by Jada Mclean and John Gibbons. Hurry Home is a start-up to help renters become homeowners, using capital from investors to finance houses through shared ownership, which allows renters to earn equity on their homes while paying close to or less than what their rent would be for the same property... while investors reap a competitive return. Click https://www.hurryhome.io/

Kal: Founded by Jonathan Smith, Jane Decker and Dan Rye. Kal provides a digital fitness coach that communicates with users through a text message system. It is powered by augmented intelligence, and engages users about their fitness goals... it helps users set standards for workouts, nutrition and accountability, much more affordably than an actual personal trainer. Click https://kai.coach/

Neopenda: Founded by Sona Shah and Teresa Cauvel. This start-up is anchored by a wearable neo-natal monitoring system, that continuously detects a newborn’s key vital signs, then sends the data wirelessly to a medical authority source. The goal is to reduce birthrate deaths in developing countries, where 98% of first-month infant mortality takes place. Click http://www.neopenda.com/

Optivolt Labs: Founded by Rohit Kalyanpur and Paul Couston. Advancting the latest in drone technology, this start-up is developing high efficiency solar-powered drones for commercial and military clients. This tech will increase, by three to four times, the flight times of these drones. Click https://www.optivoltlabs.com/

Rheaply: Founded by Garry Cooper and Tyler Skelton. This marketplace platform allows professionals and organizations to trade, donate or easily share surplus inventory or assets within the network, while also helping to manage waste, resources and storage. Click https://www.rheaply.com/

Speeko: Founded by Nico Aguilar, Will Field-Thompson and Anthony Pham. This mobile app brings interactive verbal communication training to your workforce, by using artificial intelligence and automated voice analytics to assess live or recorded presentations, and provide feedback and insights on how to improve overall communication. Click http://www.speeko.co/

Trala: Founded by Samuel Walder and Vishnu Indukuri. This Juilliard School of Music-approved app teaches users how to play the violin. It provides tutorials, daily lessons and instant feedback on mistakes, and it can teach beginners to play songs like “Amazing Grace” in only 30 days. Click https://tralaapp.com/

Vacation Fund: Founded by Erica Pearson, Abhinav Mathur and Britney Mackey. The start-up is a benefit that can allow employees of businesses to save more money for vacations, with help from their employers. The “fund” offers an employer-matched savings program. incentivizing them to put money aside for travel every year. Click https://www.vacationfund.io/

For more information about Techstars Chicago, click https://www.techstars.com/programs/chicago-program/