J.B. Pritzker started talking about all the great stuff happening in the City of Chicago. He was especially excited about innovations happening in the bio-medical technology space.
Four of the big initiatives in Chicago. First, there is 1871, which launched a year ago and is always in development. Second, starting a bio-medical accelerator to take advantage of all the major companies that already exist here and connect them with startups. UI Labs is an initiative to excite the U of I Engineering grads and keeping it here in Chicago. The fourth was to connect the best scientists from different disciplines to foster innovation.
J.B. concluded by saying that we are in a tech renaissance and he is excited for Chicago to take advantage of it.
Next, they presented the five startups in contention for the big prize.
NEXTSTEP.io makes sense of your quantified self. It lets you combine all the api’s and data from various services like Foursquare, Nike Fuelband, Instagram, etc. Like Mint.com helps you achieve your financial goals, NextStep.io helps you achieve your health goals. For example, by challenging you to walk to a coffee shop that is 10 minutes away instead of 2 minutes, or do walking meetings instead of static meetings.
The average non-profit uses 7 different services to manage its fundraising. 24Fundraiser reduces that to 1. They already have 500 users and are bringing in monthly recurring revenue.
Furywing wants to revolutionize the gambling industry. They want to make normal mobile games, but add real money gambling to them. What if you could play Angry Birds for money? They are about to launch their first gambling game in the UK, where they have a gambling license for iOS and Android.
Crowdfynd is taking lost & found and taking it online with crowdsourcing. We lose all kinds of stuff. People are using Craigslist, Facebook and Twitter for this now, but none of them work very well. This service allows regular people to become heroes. The app is free for consumers. They make money by charging companies who are obligated to manage their lost and found items.
WeDeliver is a same-day delivery made simple. It allows local brick & mortar stores to compete with the big eCommerce. Like the way Uber allows taxis to connect with people, WeDeliver facillitates the delivery of products locally with bike messengers and local services. By doing same-day delivery, it actually gives local businesses an advantage over Amazon and the like. They also offer online tracking and scheduled deliveries.
My favorite was WeDeliver, which was also the winner. Big congratulations to those folks!
After the prize was awarded, the mayor himself, Rahm Emanuel came out to say a few words (see the video).