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The 10 Chicago Tech Startups Making An Impact In 2020

While the Windy City dropped off Inc.‘s 2020 list of Surge Cities this year, it is every bit a hot spot for some of the U.S.’s fastest-growing startup companies. With many startups taking advantage of the booming Chicago coworking space scene to run their business, Chicago has been one of the premier hubs for startup growth within the nation. Below you will find 10 of the top startup companies who have made Chicago their home on their way to achieving noteworthy advancements in tech.

1. M1 Finance

M1 Finance is a company that improves financial investing with the help of automation and a specialized app. Users can activate a dynamic rebalancing feature for their portfolios so the system makes changes along with the investment landscape.

Once a person deposits or withdraws money, the intelligent automation works so they stay on track to meet their financial goals without giving constant input. M1 Finance has raised $53.2 million so far. The most recent funding round occurred in June 2020, and it caused a $33 million gain.

This company appears poised for growth because it meets a pressing need by making investing more appealing. Many people are interested, but hold off because it seems daunting. An Investopedia survey of affluent millennials found that only 37% of them feel knowledgeable about investing. The automation and app-based aspects offered by M1 Finance could attract people from that group and others.

Website: M1 Finance

2. TimeDoc Health

This company — which recently raised $5.7 million in a Series A financing round — blends a technology platform with health management services. TimeDoc Health assists physicians in customizing the care of individuals with chronic illnesses.

The company’s solutions tap into electronic medical records and use the information to help doctors make smarter decisions about their patients. The tech platform also streamlines recording and getting reimbursed for treatments provided to patients. Users can create care plans for patients and auto-populate them with the appropriate medical data.

Statistics gathered by the National Health Council indicate that approximately 157 million Americans will have chronic illnesses this year. Moreover, 87 million people in that group will be diagnosed with multiple conditions. Those findings show a genuine need for products that help doctors improve the care given to these patients. TimeDoc offers technology to fit that purpose.

Website: TimeDoc Health

3. Forager

Chicago tech companies encompass a wide variety of specialties. Forager offers technology to help businesses with logistic needs. The company raised $14.5 million since 2018, with the most recent additions from a Series A round.

Forager’s priority is to address the complications that often accompany cross-border shipments. SCOUT is a freight portal that offers instant pricing and booking for cargo associated with the United States, Canada and Mexico. People can get quotes and book loads in only 68 seconds, making the platform ideal for time-pressed users.

Data shows that during March 2020, the total value of shipments between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico was nearly $100 million. Considering the prevalence of cross-border shipments, Forager seems well-positioned to help logistics professionals enjoy smooth transfers of goods.

Website: Forager

4. Signal

This company — with its headquarters in Chicago and another location in London — helps brands learn more about their customers. Signal’s technology enables organizing first-party data and using it to build in-depth, accurate profiles.

The company raised just over $60 million so far across six funding rounds. Something that makes it stand out is its commitment to privacy design. The technology helps brands adhere to data protection regulations while offering customers better choices about privacy and how enterprises use their data.

Many customers lack the patience for dealing with companies that don’t understand them and offer relevant products or marketing messages. Signal helps businesses use data intelligently to keep pace with an audience’s needs and desires.

Website: Signal

5. Higi

Chicago has a long history of advancement. For example, that city is where people find the second-tallest building in the Western hemisphere, the Sears Tower. In 1900, engineers devised a canal and locks system to change the Chicago River’s direction. Many startup companies in Chicago continue that tradition.

One of them is Higi, a health screening brand that empowers users to take control of their well-being and learn about their risks. The company recently raised $30 million in a Series B round. It has about 10,000 self-service kiosks where people can measure their blood pressure, hydration levels and more.

Once users get the details from Higi, they can input the statistics into an app, keeping a regular record of how things change over time. Tracking well-being is easier than ever, thanks to tech like fitness trackers. The great thing about Higi is that it provides resources that help people take action based on their current health needs. That’s one of the many reasons why the brand seems set to grow.

Website: Higi

6. Journera

Journera is a tech platform facilitating secure, real-time data exchanges between travel companies and tourists. The company came about when its team realized that travel frustrates many people. They wanted to make it better and believed it could if the parties involved in the person’s journey had better data-sharing capabilities.

Smart algorithms assess an individual’s trip and the various parties involved in it — a hotel, airline or cruise brand, perhaps. Those providers know when travelers make or change plans, enabling them to entice people with relevant offers or ways of improving their experiences.

The company recently got $11.6 million in funding through a Series B round. That’s particularly impressive considering the recent downturn in the travel industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’d be challenging to find people who’ wouldn’t want something to make traveling easier and more satisfying. Journera could give them different perspectives about being away from home.

Website: Journera

7. Shiftgig

The gig economy is taking off, and Shiftgig is an enterprise that wants to capitalize on the trend. Like many other Chicago tech companies, it uses software to meet identified needs.

Shiftgig caters to people associated with blue-collar jobs in the gig economy. Individuals offering work or those with free time in their schedules can both use an app to fill last-minute staffing needs or see if they could fill a company’s needs.

The company received $56 million from funding rounds conducted so far. Statistics from the ADP Research Institute found that the share of gig workers in businesses rose by 15% from 2010 to 2019. People are interested in seeing how the gig economy could boost their income or address unmet staffing needs. Shiftgig has the technology to assist both groups.

Website: Shiftgig

8. Kin

Many Chicago tech companies find success by improving an issue faced by a large percentage of the target market. Kin is a good example. It uses technology to help people decrease the amount of money spent on property insurance.

Once people input their addresses, Kin’s technology accesses thousands of related data points to provide the best prices and coverage choices to meet their needs. This enterprise even helps homeowners save while living in places more likely to experience natural disasters, like Florida and California.

Kin raised $64 million in funding efforts to date. Things are also looking up for the company since Cape Analytics renewed its partnership in April 2020. That arrangement allows Kin to provide more accurate data-based conclusions for customers.

Website: Kin

9. Tock

Tock is a restaurant and event booking company. Most of the enterprise’s latest efforts center on the dining and food delivery sectors. Its most recent funding round resulted in $10 million, adding to a total of $27.5 million in financial resources.

The company’s technology helps hungry people and the brands offering delicious foods. Enterprises can showcase their offerings on the app, and individuals who are ready to order something can browse what’s available in the neighborhood. People looking for meals can also see the options for getting them, such as delivery, pickup or table service.

A recently announced offering could stimulate the company’s future growth. It facilitates social distancing and contactless payment, along with other features companies are likely to require as they reopen after COVID-19 shutdowns.

Website: Tock

10. Bottlecode

Bottlecode is one of the startup companies in Chicago that addresses a rather niche market — men who need skin care help. The company combines technology with expert guidance so guys can spend less time Googling about their skin issues and more time solving them.

People take skin quizzes, then algorithms and knowledgeable humans suggest brands and products for them to try. The enterprise’s founders knew most personal care brands target women and that excessive feminization may discourage men. They also wanted to help males deal with problems like acne and baggy eyes.

The company held a pre-seed round at the start of 2020. However, sources did not disclose the results of that effort. It shows promise, especially since 50% of its customers reportedly order from the site regularly.

Website: Bottlecode