IVCA Feature: TechStars Chicago and Their Founders ‘Class’ of 2020

IVCA Feature: TechStars Chicago and Their Founders ‘Class’ of 2020

March 18, 2020

One of the most successful accelerator and founder facilitation programs in Chicago is Techstars, an annual mentorship course that allows entrepreneurs, start-ups and companies to participate in a 13-week forum that teaches them how to improve and execute their business ideas. The latest roll-out of the program began on January 27th, in anticipation of Demo Day, which is scheduled for April 21st, 2020 (NOTE: As of March 18th, no announcement has been made about a reschedule on that date).
 
TechStars Chicago’s last Demo Day was over a year ago, and the program took that time to reschedule the program parameters and name a new Managing Director. Neal Sales-Griffin, an associate in Venture Capital and a Chicago founder, was named in July of 2019 to steer the latest TechStars Chicago Class of 2020.
 
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. Troy Henikoff was the primary Managing Director until Logan LaHive took the reins in 2017. Neal Sales-Griffin announced the “Class of 2020” the day they began the program, January 27th. The following businesses and organizations are participating …
 
Bottlecode
 
WHO THEY ARE: Bottlecode blends technology with human expertise to help men discover personal care solutions that best suit their unique goals.
 
WHAT THEY DO: Bottlecode is an online platform that aims to provide personal grooming solutions by curating and selling the best products to each individual man, while focusing on education and expert guidance to help men stick to the healthy habit. Men need a trusted curation source to navigate a crowded ecosystem of brands. Bottlecode is building the solution that addresses the real job to be done … giving guys confidence that they are doing the right things to take care of themselves.
 
WEBSITE: www.Bottlecode.com
 
 
Havoc Shield
 
WHO THEY ARE: A fast and effective cyber security program for startups.
 
WHAT THEY DO: Havoc Shield is a fast and effective cyber security program specifically for startups, a bit like what Clerky or Gust did for company incorporation. Startups get a professional action plan and are guided, step-by-step, through a prioritized security program, provided with accelerating tools and automation along the way, all of it presented in an experience that’s actionale by non-security types.
 
WEBSITE: www.HavocShield.com
 
 
Pairi
 
WHO THEY ARE: Pairi makes it easy for freelancers to get booked through social media and manage their business on-the-go via text messaging.
 
WHAT THEY DO: Pairi helps freelancers build a professional booking website within minutes and get booked for their services directly through social media like Instagram. Pairi's software saves time and earns more money for freelancers by automating repetitive business logistics many of them face like scheduling, payment, appointment reminders, travel fees, and more so they can focus on their passion and be able to serve more clientele on their own time, anywhere they choose.
 
WEBSITE: www.Pairi.app
 
 
NutriSense
 
WHO THEY ARE: A personalized, A.I. powered nutrition coach.
 
WHAT THEY DO: NutriSense is an A.I. powered, personalized nutrition coach that helps users select a diet that works with their unique physiology. NutriSense enables users to change their habits and reduce the likelihood of developing metabolic disorders (such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease), shed unwanted pounds and optimize athletic performance. NutriSense leverages Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) technology that provides users with real time biometric data while expert nutritionists teach users how to interpret that data.
 
WEBSITE: www.Nutrisense.io
 
 
Elite Personal Chefs
 
WHO THEY ARE: Mobile App that provides in-home dining and personal chef experiences.
 
WHAT THEY DO: Elite Personal Chefs is a revolutionary mobile application platform for high level hospitality industry professionals to provide culinary experiences for an array of clients. Unlike traditional restaurants, EPC allows culinary professionals to choose their own schedule, sell tickets to events, create menus, and set custom pricing.
 
WEBSITE: www.ElitePersonalChefs.com
 
 
ReelCrafter
 
WHO THEY ARE: ReelCrafter is a service to create and share trackable audio demo reels.
 
WHAT THEY DO: Reelcrafter is an online tool for artists to easily create personalized, single web pages to showcase their work to potential employers. Demo reels are shared via custom web links, and artists can track detailed listening activity for each shared link on their ReelCrafter dashboard. Artists can then apply insights from existing listening metrics to continually refine their pitch with each reel sent.
 
WEBSITE: www.ReelCrafter.com
 
 
Visual Feeder
 
WHO THEY ARE: Dynamic ad-campaigns on vacant storefront windows using projection mapping.
 
WHAT THEY DO: Visual Feeder provides a marketplace that connects landlords with an opportunity to monetize their vacant space by projecting branded visual experiences on their windows space. Using projection mapping technology, Visual Feeder offers brands the ability to display dynamic, quality content that engages their consumers while providing key metrics to track performance and ROI.
 
WEBSITE: www.VisualFeeder.com
 
 
ToDoolie
 
WHO THEY ARE: The easiest way to hire local students to help with outdoor tasks.
 
WHAT THEY DO: ToDoolie is a marketplace where homeowners can hire local students for hourly tasks such as yard work and household maintenance.
 
WEBSITE: www.ToDoolie.com
 
 
GoNanny
 
WHO THEY ARE: Building the future of childcare management, logistics, and safety.
 
WHAT THEY DO: GoNanny is a B2B SaaS Platform revolutionizing the childcare industry. What Mindbody did for the wellness industry, GoNanny is doing for the childcare industry. Currently the platform provides two distinct product offerings: 1. Trademarked Care Rides Platform: A fully automated platform providing safe pickups and drop offs executed by the childcare center’s staff members. 2. GoNanny Safe – the gold standard employee vetting system for childcare professionals.
 
WEBSITE: www.MeetGoNanny.com
 
 
Contract Cloud
 
WHO THEY ARE: Making government procurement simpler through design and accessibility.
 
WHAT THEY DO: Contract Cloud’s intelligent, automated workflow and content management platform reduces the time spent on each solicitation by 45%. Contract Cloud streamlines the contracting process through an intuitive, guided user experience. With a concept similar to TurboTax, Contract Cloud’s guided experience will allow users to answer plain english questions and get help from real experts, building their proposal or RFP with the responses as they go. Using AI/ML, Contract Cloud provides intelligent recommendations, suggestions for content using natural language processing, shortcuts, and document generation.
 
WEBSITE: www.ContractCloud.com
 
Registration is open for the 2020 IVCA Spring Luncheon, which will take place on Tuesday, May 5th, starting at 11:15am. The event sponsors Baker Tilly and Ropes & Gray Present “Illinois’ Fiscal and Pension Crisis: What You Need to Know and What We Can’t and Can Do About It” For more information and to register, click here.