Pixuru: Photo Art From The Pictures On Your Phone

Pixuru, Chicago Startup, Chicago TechWeek, PhotographySmartphone photography is constant. I’m not the best photographer, but my friends take gorgeous pictures with their iPhones. Even I have hundreds of pictures sitting on my phone, and while they’re fun to scroll through, they never seem to make it to my walls.

There are plenty of ways to print phone pictures, of course. But Pixuru is unique because it takes your pictures and creates a work of art for your home.

All you do is snap the picture, upload it to the app, and pick your product. In just a few days, your new artwork is delivered to your home. Pixuru prints your pictures on canvas, wood, metal, or more traditional photo paper with a frame. You can also turn your pictures into iPhone or iPad cases.

Here at Nibletz, we travel. A. LOT. And in our travels, we come across some pretty cool stuff. With Pixuru, we can snap great pictures, order our custom artwork, and have it waiting on us when we (finally) get home.

The company also runs regular contests, so check out their website for the current one.

As an Android user, the thing I love about Pixuru is that it’s already available in the Google Play Store.

Check out Kyle’s interview with Pixuru below.

Here’s more startup coverage from Chicago TechWeek.


Arc Mobile Makes Paying for Dinner So Much Easier

ArcMobile, Chicago Startup, Chicago TechWeek, Startup InterviewIn our line of work, dinners, drinks, and happy hours are where we do business. It’s common knowledge that deals really happen after hours, and the Nibletz team likes to be where the deals are.

But have you ever noticed that when it’s time get the check, the server is never around? Or maybe you get one of those servers that bring the check way too early, making sure everyone knows he or she is waiting to flip the table.

It’s even more annoying when the restaurant “can’t” split the check multiple ways. Calculator apps are great and all, but who wants to do math at dinner?

Arc Mobile is a new Chicago company with some interesting solutions. Their mobile app sends the check right to your phone. You can split the check (if needed) and pay, right from your phone. The payment goes through the restaurant’s POS system, no extra pens needed.

Check out Kyle’s interview with Arc Mobile.

See more of our Startup City coverage from Chicago Techweek here at nibletz.com


College Students Are Being Robbed Of Millions Of Dollars, Startup PackBack Will Help

PackBack, Education startup, startups, startup interview,Chicago Techweek

If you read the headline and think this is another boring story about college loans and tuition costs, you’re dead wrong. College students are being robbed of millions of dollars in a way that’s much more prevalent today then when many of us were college age. The culprit? Textbooks.

We met Mike Shannon and Kasey Gandham at Chicago TechWeek where they were showing off their startup PackBack. After spending a few minutes with them, I realized this whole “college students are being robbed, and PackBack can help” thing is no B.S. Shannon and Gandham both had textbooks that they would purchase at the beginning of the year for hundreds of dollars. Those books then stayed in the orange shipping boxes on move out day. Never even touched.

Shannon explained “Even in education technology and news is moving so fast that textbooks can be outdated on the first day of classes.” Professors have resorted to more up-to-date curriculum aids like the Internet, news articles, PowerPoint presentations, and speakers. Through his four years of college, Shannon said he may have up to 10 books that he purchased that were never even opened.

That can add up. It’s another cost factored into those mounting student loans.

So what does PackBack do? They are a short-term rental company for student textbooks. In most cases you rent the book by the day. This way if a professor surprises his or her students by actually having them do a textbook assignment, students can get access to the textbook relatively quickly.

Gandham and Shannon are testing out a model in the neighborhood of $5 per day for the text book rental. As they explain it, even if the professor resorts to the book 10 times over the course of a year, the student is saving anywhere from $50 to $100 off the cheapest used version of most books.

This startup simply makes sense cents.

Check out our interview with Shannon and Gandham below and check out PackBackbooks.com


Here are more amazing startups from Chicago TechWeek



The Need To Get His School Life Organized Sparks Young Entrepreneur’s Semester Planner

Semester Planner, Marcell Purham, Chicago Startup, Chicago TechWeek

Marcell Purham always knew he wanted to start something. He started coding and developing a little over 7 years ago when he was just 13 years old. His love of developing started with easy stuff like helping his friends code their MySpace pages. As time went on he got more and more into design and learning every language he could.  Purham is the kind of guy that soaks up knowledge from wherever he can get it, so he attends as many startup events in Chicago as he can and spends his freetime reading up on everything in the tech and startup world.

Now a college student, Purham quickly realized that his brain was overflowing with information, which made it really hard for him to stay focused and organized in school. That’s why he created Semester Planner.  “Think Online Trapper Keeper,” Purham told Nibletz in an interview. (Is he even old enough to remember the Trapper Keeper?)

Semester Planner is a student planning app that captures everything in a student’s academic life, including notes, class schedule, calendar, and more. It organizes all the information in an easy-to-recall platform that keeps everything by semester. It also makes it really easy to find things later.

We got a chance to talk with Purham. Check out our text and video interviews with Purham below.

What is your startup called?

Semester Planner.

What does your company do?

Semester Planner is a free online planner that helps students keep track of their notes, classes, assignments, and documents.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

There is only one founder and his name is Marcell Purham. Marcell is a software developer with 7+ years of developing for web. He started out at 13 learning to code and writing code for friends on myspace then took it to the next level by moving onto design and finally programming.

Where are you based?

We are based in Chicago, IL.

What problem do you solve?

The problem we’re solve are allowing students to access their notes, assignments, documents, and classes on the go or while they’re in school.

Why now?

Honestly as a student myself I needed something to help me keep track of all my semester classes, notes, assignments etc. So as I took on more classes I did not want to carry around all those heavy textbooks and finally decided to solve that problem, for not only myself but also for other students.

What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

We’ve achieved a lot within the first 6 months(Launched in January 2013).  Over 100 students from my community college signed up and used it for their semester and also some kids from others schools. We’ve had over 2,000 chrome downloads for semester planner and our likes on Facebook are constantly going up.

What are your next milestones?

Right now I am working on the Android version of the application and hope to release it sometime this year to students and I am talking with a friend on getting this developed for iOS also so that what we’re up to for now. Also we’re getting feedback from users and seeing if they’re things they love about the site and hate so that becomes very useful to us.

Where can people find out more? Any social media links you want to share?

If you would like to learn more about semester planner check it out on our website, Facebook or twitter.

Twitter – http://twitter.com/semesterplanner

facebook – https://www.facebook.com/semesterplanner

Semester Planner – https://semesterplanner.com


Now check out our video interview with Purham


We’ve got more Chicago TechWeek coverage than any other source, check it out here.


I’m Up All Night To GetLusty, Check Out This Chicago Startup

GetLusty, Erica Grigg, Chicago Startup, Chicago TechWeek, Sex Startup

“End Boring Sex”

That’s the motto of Chicago startup GetLusty. GetLusty is an online platform geared towards married couples and couples in long term relationships. “Sometimes the lust just runs out, and you’re still very much in love,” founder Erica Grigg told us at Chicago TechWeek.

Grigg, who previously founded a digital agency, started GetLusty after the lust in her marriage died out. She’s not ashamed to let people know that her and her husband’s sex life had become repetitive and it was the same thing every time.

The Ladies Home Journal reports that Grigg’s sex life dried up because she and her husband couldn’t communicate properly about it. “She was too nervous to explore what turned her on, and her husband was equally dudly (not studly) in his inability to reassure and encourage her,”  wrote Amy Keyishian writer for the  Ladies Home Journal.

GetLusty is a well thought out, professional web platform. It features over 800 articles on how to improve your sex life. They also have a marketplace with hand selected merchants and a guide to curated, safe events. Nothing about the GetLusty website screams PORN.  The content focuses on areas like: getting better sexual technique, improving communication, date more and date better, increasing adventure and staying healthy.

Grigg is adamant about GetLusty being about couples, to help couples improve their sex lives.

The company launched into beta just in time for Valentine’s Day this year. They were one of 70 startups featured in StarutpCity at Chicago TechWeek. Check out our video interview with Grigg below. Ready to end boring sex? Go to getlusty.com

Check out some more startups from Chicago TechWeek


Former Groupon Employee’s Startup Scalpr Is The Uber of Ticket Sales

Scalpr, Groupon, Chicago Startup, Startup Interview, Chicago TechWeekGet this: Sometimes startups actually LEAVE Silicon Valley and move to “everywhere else.”

That’s what Scalpr did. They quickly found that the market for last minute ticket sales wasn’t hot in San Francisco. So, rather than finding an idea that fit the city, they up and moved to where they knew they’re idea was viable.

So, what does the Chicago-based company do? Basically, they make it easy to buy last minute tickets from other fans. For example, let’s say I had tickets to a Memphis Grizzlies game, but then my boss tells me I have to work late (jerk). Rather than letting the tickets go to waste, I can throw them up on Scalpr and let someone else enjoy the game instead.

Check out Kyle’s interview to see how it works.

We’ve got even more great startup coverage from Chicago TechWeek here.


Impatience Fuels Another Wait List Startup In Chicago

NextMe,Chicago Startup,Chicago TechWeek

Impatience is one of the biggest problems that entrepreneurs try to solve with their startups. Last year at Chicago TechWeek, we saw two different startups tackling the problem of waiting in line: NoWait and LineChop.

The problem is very simple, especially in large cities like Chicago. Come Friday or Saturday night, the last thing you want to do is wait in line for hours for your favorite restaurant. This happens in almost any town in the country, and until now it’s just been something you dealt with.

NextMe is the latest startup from Chicago to tackle the wait list problem. A restaurant signs up for the service, and a patron checks in at the host stand. Then their name goes on the wait list, and when the table becomes available, bam, you get a text message.

This comes in handy when you’re eating at a restaurant in a large shopping center, or there’s a bookstore across the street you want to check out. Previously you would either have to wait for your name to get called over a loud speaker or carry around a pager with a very limited radius. Sure people would ask for an approximate wait time and try and go somewhere and come back, but that could be thwarted by an uptick in table turns or other patrons deciding to leave the queue.

NextMe wants to help you enjoy your wait. Check out our interview below and for more info visit them on the web at nextmeapp.com

There’s a whole lot more startup coverage from Chicago TechWeek Here.


The Evolution Of Chicago’s Tech & Startup Scene In An Infographic

chicagoWe travel all across the country and check out startup communities and ecosystems everywhere else. One of the ones that caught our eye early on is Chicago.

Going back to the early 1900’s Chicago has had hustle. Much like many don’t want to succumb to the fact that drug kingpins (the ones that don’t get caught) are the grittiest of hard working entrepreneurs, Chicago has heart, hustle and loyalty that can date back to the seedy underworld that once played home to the most notorious of gangsters Al Caone and later Sam Giancana.

Why in the world did I go there? First off it’s history but secondly the Chicago startup ecosystem is an extremely loyal bunch. They help each other in good and bad and they lift each other up whenever and where ever they can. That’s why, despite the fact that Chicago produces 100 startup events a month, the entire community comes out for Chicago TechWeek.

Staples in industry like United Airlines, Fannie May and Sears grew up in Chicago, with countless others.

And then when technology took off (and despite what PandoDaily once said) BOOM! Chicago’s tech ecosystem and infrastructure skyrocketed which is still what it’s doing today.

Most recently we know the stories of GrubHub and Groupon but back in 1984 (yes 1984 before many startup founders were born), IT mail order powerhouse CDW was founded in Chicago. Millions of people have bought computers, storage, printers and other peripherals from the three letter giant.

Chicago also revolutionized and re-invented the classifieds department across multiple categories starting with CareerBuilder in the mid 90’s. Then in the late 90’s cars.com and apartments.com launched, in Chicago.  Chicago also has one of our favorite regional startup sites to visit, builtinchicago.com.

Let us also not forget that Motorola is based right outside of Chicago.

All of this is why one of Chicago’s other big startups, BigMarker, went ahead and made this trusty infographic highlighting the history of Chicago’s Tech Scene as a celebration of their tech community on TechWeek.

Oh and regardless of size, Chicago holds one mean tech party during TechWeek second only to the VegasTech party at SXSW.



Click here to actually read or print this thing (enlarge)

Here’s more Chicago Techweek startup coverage.


Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Praises Chicago Tech & Startups At Chicago TechWeek

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Startup,Chicago TechWeek,For the second year in a row Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed out day two of Chicago TechWeek, congratulating We Deliver, the winner of the TechWeek Launch startup contest.

At the beginning of his remarks Emanuel congratulated TechWeek on improving the attendance and excitement of the conference, now in it’s third year. The mayor also had the chance to recognize the two people in the audience wearing Chicago Blackhawk’s jerseys. It was also “Black Hawk Day” where over 1 million Chicago area residents were in downtown Chicago for a parade to celebrate the Black Hawk’s Stanley Cup victory over the Boston Bruins.

Mayor Emanuel took a minute to recognize the new Google Motorola headquarters. The company is now an anchor tenant at the Merchandise Mart building, which houses TechWeek and over 200 startups in the 1871 co-working, incubation, and acceleration space on the 12th floor. The Google Motorola headquarters is the largest build out in Chicago history since 2005 with a total of 600,000 square feet within the walls of the Merchandise Mart.

When you put together the startups in the neighborhood along with the new Google Motorola headquarters there will be 8,000 employees in what Emanuel calls “the digital alley” which runs alongside the river. “8,000 employees that didn’t exist just four years ago,” Mayor Emanuel told the audience.

“I think the city of Chicago will become the mecca of startups in the midwest,” Mayor Emanuel said. “Just last year, worldwide, we went from 15th to 10th in startups.”

Mayor Emanuel praised 1871, calling it a startup itself because it just turned a year old. The mayor stressed the fact that Chicago has been known for the diversity in its economy, and he feels that the digital economy is becoming a pillar in the Chicago economy.

After his speech Mayor Emanuel toured the exhibit hall and even had time to play defense in a game of beer pong (with cups of water) on a C5 Beer Pong table. C5 is a Chicago startup.

Check out Mayor Emanuel’s remarks in the video.


Even more Chicago TechWeek Startup Coverage here.



What A Beer Pong Startup Part Deux [VIDEO]

C5 Beer Pong, Chicago Startup, Chicago Tech Week, Startup Interview

Startups are synonymous with Ping Pong, Beer Pong, and Fooseball right? As a right of passage, many startups that move into a new office, get some kind of funding, or start generating revenue add a table game (or 3) to their office. Heck some startup offices have full arcades.

Back when we were at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2013 we met New York startup PaddleYou. They make custom affordable custom Ping Pong paddles. They actually made us one as well that you can see in this story.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel stops by to play defense on a C5 beer pong table (photo: C5 Beer Pong/Chicago)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel stops by to play defense on a C5 beer pong table (photo: C5 Beer Pong/Chicago)

So it shouldn’t surprise you that we found a Beer Pong startup at Chicago TechWeek. Actually, we discovered the Beer Pong startup last May when we interviewed them as Chippewa Five. Since then, cofounders Daniel Manriquez and Joe Mollo have shortened the name, improved the tables, and picked up some new customers.

They’ve shortened the name of the company to the much trendier C5 Beer Pong. They had several of their Beer Pong tables on display at Bar TechWeek throughout the three day conference.

The custom made Beer Pong tables aren’t just for frat guys. Zynga was their first customer, and Facebook has purchased a table from them as well. Cab hailing startup Hailo also has a C5 table which was on display at TechWeek.

Last year when we interviewed them we didn’t get to see their tables up close. After seeing them at TechWeek, we may just have to get one in the Nibletz office and for the everywhereelse conference.

Check out our video interiew with Mollo below and for more info visit c5beerpong.com


A lot more TechWeek startup coverage is here.


Chicago TechWeek Has The Sexiest Startup City In The Country

Most big tech conferences have some kind of startup exhibition area. They go by various names: Startup Village, Startup Alley, Eureka Park, etc. This year, Chicago TechWeek has “Startup City,” and we love it (homage to Patrick Stump).

There are 70 startups in Startup City, and we’ll have a lot of profiles and interviews coming soon. But as we toured the Startup City, we couldn’t help but notice that there’s no shortage of startups on the racier side this year.

Get Lusty is a Chicago startup designed for married couples and couples in long term relationships that want to improve their sex lives. The company founders are a husband and wife team that found the bedroom was getting boring. Their solution? Launch a startup together, of course!

Savvo is the wine aficionado’s resource for all things wine.



F. U I’m Right is the ultimate argument platform, where you can get your social networks to support your argument. Interestingly, though, Boris, the company’s founder, told us he found that he was actually wrong a lot more than he thought.

There are a bunch of other great startups in Chicago TechWeek’s Startup City, but you can imagine why these instantly caught our eye. Stay tuned for more from TechWeek and Startup City.

We’ve got more startup coverage from Chicago TechWeek Here.


Know Who’s Around You At Events With 1871 Startup WeaveThePeople

WeaveThePeople, Chicago startup,startups,startup interview, Paul Caswell

Here are Nibletz we get out into the community and go to a lot (and we mean A LOT) of startup conferences and events. Sure, after spending the last 7 or so years in tech media there are a lot of faces I remember, but there are also a lot that I don’t know. Yes, I would love to know who’s around me at an event that I am at.

This is a problem that several big named startups have been trying to solve. At SXSW 2012 people discovery was the “big thing”: Banjo, Highlight, and several others wanted to help people know who was at SXSW. The problem was they were all GPS, location, and proximity based. The problem manifested itself when people would look for other people they knew who were right on top of them according to the app but could still be in the next building. When you’re in a building or an event with 1000s if not 10s of thousands of people, this is still a daunting task.

WeaveThePeople, a startup incubating at 1871 in Chicago, is solving the problem with a beautifully rich and graphical platform. Using pictures and profiles, you can easily see who’s at the event. It doesn’t drill down to who’s standing next to you, but with the big and bold visual aspect of WeaveThePeople, dusting off your glasses should make it easier to connect.

Paul Caswell, the founder of Weave The People, is from East Chicago where he’s lived for 15 years. (He’s a native of Manchester though; that’s where he gets the cool accent). He grew up coding, developing his first games at age 13. In 2000 Application Development Trends honored him with an Innovator Award. Most of his career he was developing for other people.

WeaveThePeople combines his love of coding and technology with solving a problem that he found first hand in the corporate world, the exact same problem I described above.

Check out our video interview with Caswell below and for more information visit weavethepeople.com 

We’ve got a lot more startup coverage from Chicago TechWeek here at nibletz.com


Aereo Founder & CEO Chet Kanojia On Why People Love It [VIDEO]

Aereo,Chet Kanojia, Chicago Techweek, Startup

Chet Kanojia, the founder and CEO of controversial TV startup Aereo, appeared at Chicago Techweek on Thursday in a fireside chat called “TV Broadcasting: Who Is Controlling The Remote.” BTIG Managing Director Rich Greenfield led the discussion on topics pertaining to disrupting the world of TV.

This was a very fitting topic considering that TechWeek kicked off with a screening of the movie Downloaded, a documentary that takes a look at the rise, fall, and influence of Napster, written, produced and directed by Alex Winter of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure fame.

Like music, the TV industry has had a lot of competition in recent years. NetFlix, Hulu, Sling, and several other companies have disrupted the world of watching television with rabbit ears or a simple coaxial cable into the side of your home. Highspeed internet, DVRs, TiVo, and satellite TV have contributed to that disruption as well.

So far most of the startups and new companies in the television space have centered around streaming cataloged content, with Hulu typically having the freshest of catalog content offerings. Some of the networks that have an ownership interest in Hulu can have their newest show episodes on the site the very next day.

Now Kanojia’s company Aereo is disrupting TV by offering broadcast television via the web in a streaming format which users can record and playback. Kanojia explained that it’s based on the fact that every American is entitled to antenna TV service, but “no one specifies what kind of antenna or how long the cord is.” It’s also based on the fact that recording television for private use dates back 30+ years, since the Betamax days.

Aereo has found itself facing some stiff lawsuits, which Kanojia was quick to point out, the startup is winning.

In the video below Kanokia explains the two keys to their success with their customers: simplicity and unbundling. Earlier in the day Kanokia used TechWeek as the venue to announce that Aereo’s next city will be Chicago, and the service will begin in September.

For more on Aereo click here. and watch the video below.

More startup coverage from Chicago TechWeek is here.


We Catch Up With Sam Krichevsky From Cleveland’s LaunchHouse


LaunchHouse is the startup and entrepreneurial Mecca of Cleveland, Ohio. Like many facilities of its kind, LaunchHouse has an incubator, an accelerator, and co-working in their 22,000 square foot space.

We ran into the LaunchHouse team at Chicago TechWeek and got a chance to interview Sam Krichevsky, who’s really excited about the next level for LaunchHouse.

First, they are looking to expand their footprint across Cleveland, across Ohio, and across the region. Their model is working for startups at their earliest stages and continues to work and support ramp-up companies as well. They have touchpoints with every type of entrepreneur in the Cleveland area.

Next, Krichevsky is excited about LaunchHouse’s next batch of startups that will report to the accelerator in August.  This class includes 3 startups from outside the region and a variety of technology spaces.

Another thing that Krichevesky and the LaunchHouse crew are excited about is a “startup neighborhood” concept that they are working on. They are hoping to build a Live/Work/Play space to help attract and cultivate the best startups and entrepreneurs to Cleveland.

Cleveland is bustling with startup and entrepreneurial activity. Jump Start America is based in Cleveland. They also have the BizDom accelerator and a very active startup community.

Check out our video interview with Krichevsky below and for more info visit launchhouse.com


This Ohio startup launched a crowdfunding compliance platform.