Draft Makes the Writing Life Easier–One Feature At A Time



I’ve been a writer for most of my life, since second grade, actually. Back then my tools of choice were a #2 and a yellow steno pad.

Since then, I’ve tried every writing trick and tool in the world. (Because that’s what writers do. We test out writing software in order to soothe our not-writing consciences.)

rsz_incontentad2Even though I liked all the software I’ve used, nothing stuck.

Then I tried Draft.

Founded by YC alum Nathan Kontny, Draft is a simple web app that allows you to, in their words, “write better.”

Well, I say it’s simple. But, honestly, the feature list is a thing to be admired:

  • Version control
  • Hemingway mode (to kill the inner editor)
  • Commenting
  • Collaboration
  • Rest API
  • Image hosting
  • “Publishing” that sends the draft to various platforms

Actually, I’ll stop there, but the list goes on. There’s even a “Ask a Pro” feature, which allows you to get feedback on your writing when there’s no one else you can con–er, ask to help.

Launched a little over a year ago, Draft is one of those rare lovely things that is a true labor of love as well as a business. On the heels of Cityposh, his YC company that was winding down, Kontny did a lot of writing. Like any hacker, he soon found things he didn’t like about his current options and started thinking about how to fix them.

“Everything you see in Draft was a personal itch in my own writing,” he told me over the phone.

In the year since launch, Draft has accumulated “tens of thousands” of users and brings in revenue from subscriptions and the “Ask a Pro” feature. I asked Kontny about raising money, but he shrugged it off.

“I want to use Draft forever,” he explained to me. Although he has a little YC funding left over, he knows that raising a large round of VC would make him beholden to investors, which could kill the organic growth he’s seeing.

“There’s no time bomb,” he said. “If it doesn’t explode in a year, I’ll still have time to work on it.”

In so many ways, Kontny is the opposite of what we hear startups should be. He’s a single founder, mainly bootstrapping by choice, and focused on revenue over growth. Yet, the slow organic strategy could be just the thing that keeps Draft going for years to come.

The Evolution & Future Of Chicago’s Startup Ecosystem

FoundersCircle, Chicago, Chicago Startups, Guest PostIn the past decade, Chicago’s technology community experienced incredible growth. Much  of the community’s success was driven by the strong history of big business in Chicago and the emergence of key stakeholders in the startup ecosystem.

While the Chicago startup scene is still relatively young in comparison to some other U.S. cities, the community’s key stakeholders are in place to drive long-term success. Chicago start-ups have already built amazing technology and will continue to build on the city’s big business roots, ensuring long-term sustainability and growth for this ecosystem.

A strong historical foundation

Chicago’s place as a home to startups can be traced as far back as 1928, when Motorola was founded in the city. Motorola went public in 1943 and its legacy lasted through the early 2000s before being acquired by Google in 2012.

A vibrant business community has set the foundation for sustained growth. Companies like Sears, Montgomery Ward, and McDonalds—and the recent relocation of Boeing—highlight Chicago’s strong history as a home for large businesses.

Recent tech successes

The technology foundation set by Motorola and others provided an ecosystem ripe for innovation in the 21st century. Orbitz, the leading online travel company, was founded in Chicago in June 2001 and subsequently went public in 2003 before being acquired for $1.25 billion.

Careerbuilder and Groupon, two startups founded a decade apart from one another, also exemplify recent Chicago-based technology successes. Careerbuilder receives more than 24 million unique visitors per month and ranks as one of the largest online career sites in the United States. Groupon, on the other hand, has already closed over 20 acquisitions, has 2,000 Chicago-based employees, and went public in 2012.  The paths of Careerbuilder and Groupon are emblematic of the rapid growth and success that Chicago-based companies can achieve, and the marketplace is listening.

Critical components of the ecosystem are in place to drive future growth.

The successes of Orbitz, Groupon, and Career Builder, to name a few, have sparked the explosive growth of startups in Chicago, but no start-up community can thrive without a certain set of valuable components.

Traditional elements of Chicago’s business-community—strong corporate and civic engagements and world-class universities—have anchored the technology infrastructure and community.  For example, after purchasing Motorola Mobility, Google decided to relocate 3,000 employees from the suburbs to downtown Chicago. Also, newer education-focused groups like the Starter League and Chicago Tech Academy are creating a strong base of technology talent.

However, the clearest sign of a sustainable ecosystem and a platform for future growth has been the number of new Chicago-based investors, industry groups, and incubators.

Chicago couples a strong angel community with co-working spaces and incubators for early stage companies. For example, 1871 launched in Chicago in 2012 and TechStars created a formal, local presence in Chicago earlier this year. VC funds like New World Ventures, Lightbank, OCA Ventures, Sandbox Industries, and i2A provide a local, institutional base for capital and operational support.

The result of this rapidly expanding ecosystem has been an incredible amount of new Chicago-based startups and early success stories.

In 2002, only 11 digital startups were launched in Chicago. By 2012, that number was 197 and the startup community received over $391 million in funding.   Companies like GoHealth, Braintree, Belly, SilkRoad, and many others are showing early promise of not only achieving success, but also creating meaningful, sustainable businesses.

Successful exits and the reinvestment of gains back into Chicago will fuel future growth.

As the Chicago technology community develops, the reinvestment of capital and talent into the local ecosystem will be critical to sustain long-term growth.

In 2012, Chicago saw more exits than any previous year. As this number continues to rise—and the value of these events grows—Chicago entrepreneurs, angels, and venture capitalists must invest those gains back into the community to successfully continue the evolution of Chicago’s startup community.

Chicago’s unique culture will shape the future.

With cheaper cost-of-living and office space than cities like New York and San Francisco, Chicago maintains a reputation as a livable city for technology companies and their employees. Chicago’s Midwest heritage, its big business history and its separation from the influences of Silicon Valley and New York set the tone for a unique founding and operating environment. This change in perspective can often be valuable for start-ups and others in the ecosystem.

The duality of a city with strong, historic business roots and a young, thriving technology ecosystem has made Chicago a fantastic place to live and start a business.

Chicago’s recent growth as a legitimate technology hub has created a palpable energy in the city. The technology scene is young and on the upswing: start-ups, incubators, educators, and investors all are able to play a meaningful role in its development.

As this ecosystem continues to gain traction, the sky is the limit for companies and entrepreneurs who call the Windy City home.

Gregory Grossman is a Partner at DLA Piper who works with venture capital firms and emerging growth companies, from the earliest stages of formation and seed capital through the entire company life cycle, including exit events.  He holds a law degree from The George Washington University and an accounting degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Marina Dedes joined Lightbank in April 2011. Prior to Lightbank, Marina was a Senior Associate in the Valuation Group at Duff & Phelps. Marina holds a BS in Materials Science and Engineering with a concentration in Biomaterials from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Greg and Marina are both among the founders of the Chicago Founder Circle, a new Peer-to-Peer networking group for founders and CEOs of emerging growth companies in Chicago. More information can be found at: http://www.chicagofounderscircle.com

Check out some of our great Chicago startup coverage.


5 Digital Leaders In Chicago Combine Forces For Ensemble An “Excubator”

Ensemble, Chicago, Excubator, startup accelerator

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the success rates of both incubators and accelerators. While incubators can go long term, one of the biggest themes among people who doubt the accelerator model is what happens next.  Accelerators want to continue to churn out new companies, and some suggest they do it at the expense of previous cohorts.

A lot emphasis is put on the few companies that get follow-on funding and move to the next level, and no one takes into account that most of the companies in accelerator program don’t make it 3-6 more months down the road.

Andre Fowlkes, the co-president of Memphis based Start Co, the organization that puts on the Seed Hatchery accelerator now in it’s third year, recently told the Commercial Appeal that programs with a 3 month bootcamp-style program and 6 additional months of curriculum and training would be a more effective model.

Many agree with that idea, including Jeremy Vaughn the co-founder of Atlantic Beach, Florida’s The Factory accelerator. They take companies through a quick intensive program and then continue to work with them for a year.  The Brandery, Cincinnati’s accelerator that often comes in the top 20 in rankings, puts a cohort through the summer and then the companies are welcome to stay around, keep office space, and continue working with the mentors in the community until the next class moves in a year later.

Now, 5 digital services leaders in Chicago, including successful social startup Social Katy, have teamed up to form Ensemble, “a symphony of digital experts.” The concept was called an investment firm by the Chicago Tribune, an incubator alternative by other sources, and an excubator in a press release.

Ensemble is actually a combination of all three.

Red Rocket Ventures (business consulting & capital raising), Ora Interactive (technology development & design), Loud Interactive (search engine optimization), Walker Sands (public relations), and of course SocialKaty (social media marketing) have teamed up to offer startups and rampups a suite of focused services in a one-to-one relationship vs cohort based. All five together encompass most of everything a startup would need outside of technical expertise, which most startups have.

If you were to combine the cost of working with each of the five companies individually to reach a company’s common goals and grow a business, the services would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Through the Ensemble group, services in a combined suite will be discounted to startups. They will also offer their services at a substantial discount for an equity stake in the companies they are working with.  This is commonly referred to as “creative capital” and is a growing trend across the startup landscape.

All 5 companies will play a part in managing Ensemble with Rocket Ventures Managing Partner, George Deeb, serving as the day-to-day General Manager.

“We created Ensemble to fill a void in the market for entrepreneurs desiring do-it-for-me solutions from a one-stop team of digital experts who have proven they know how to quickly and efficiently scale up digital businesses,” Deeb said in a statement. “The Ensemble alliance structure will best serve clients, given our domain experts’ focus and expertise within their respective niches, and the fact we are all entrepreneurs ourselves. Ensemble is by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, which you would never get in a big conglomerate agency.”

Ensemble is based in Chicago but plans on offering their services to a nationwide roster of clients. You can find out more about Ensemble here at ensemblehq.com


Chicago Startups Raise $146 Million In Q2 2013

Chicago, Startups, Startup Funding, BuiltinchciagoWow! Builtinchicago.com has published their latest Digital Startup Report for Q2 2013. As expected the Chicago startup community has performed extremely well. 37 startups raised $146 million dollars in the second quarter of 2013.

If you’ve ever been to visit Chicago’s startup and technology scene you would see for yourself the creators, the innovators and the synergy that surrounds the third largest city in the United States. Two weeks ago we were in Chicago for Chicago TechWeek 2013 where over 100 different startups were showing off their stuff. In addition they hosted a job fair, where over 1000 engineers, developers and designers pined for jobs from over 100 Chicago based technology companies.

Chicago being a focal point for technology in the midwest is nothing new. Big Marker published this infographic in celebration of Chicago TechWeek highlighting some technology companies like CDW, Cars.com, and Groupon that have become household names.

In the second quarter of 2013 Chicago saw 26 new startups launched, 37 companies funded, and 4 exits to the beat of $396 million dollars.

These Chicago companies raised money in Q2 2013:

  • AvantCredit
  • Blitsy
  • Blue Health Intelligence
  • Care Team Connect
  • CareXtend
  • Civis Analytics
  • ClaraStream
  • Fandium
  • Fooda
  • GreenPSF
  • Healthation
  • Inventables
  • Narrative Science
  • Neohapsis
  • OptionsCity
  • Optyn
  • Pangea
  • Pervasive Health
  • Project Fixup
  • Purple Binder
  • Resultly
  • Rocketmiles
  • SimpleRelevance
  • SocialCrunch
  • Spare To Share
  • Supply Vision
  • Target Data
  • Total Attorneys
  • uBid Holdings
  • walkby
  • Whittl
  • Whoozat Inc
  • YCharts Inc
  • Purchasing Platform
  • Zipfit

These are the companies that made an exit in Q2

  • Textura (IPO)
  • Acquity Group (Acquired)
  • Spooky Cool Labs (Acquired)
  • Cartavi (Aquired)

Source: Builtinchicago.com


Chicago’s Startup Community Announces New Founder’s Circle

Chicago,Chicago startups, Chicago Founders CircleChicago is a special place for startups. Despite a crazy warped opinion from Pando Daily a while back, people have started to see Chicago’s thriving entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem for what it really is.

While the verdict is out on the actual success of Groupon, we can’t discount the story of it’s rise to fame and popularity from it’s downtown Chicago headquarters. Despite the fact that ousted CEO Andrew Mason is retreating to Silicon Valley, Groupon, like Belly and GrubHub are products of the Chicago startup ecosystem.

While Groupon, Belly, GrubHub, Lightbank, SimpleRelevance and others are names a lot of tech entrepreneurs from across the country know, what’s really amazing is the success that the 1871 incubator has had since it opened it’s doors. 1871 has housed 225 startup companies, creating 800 jobs. 1871 companies have generated $12.7 million dollars in revenue and drew $27.6 million in venture capital. Of course we can’t forget to mention that Chicago is home to one of the newest Techstars programs.

With this wild growth at just one address (albeit a gigantic one) in downtown Chicago, the entrepreneurial leaders in the city announced Wednesday the formation of Chicago Founder’s Circle (CFC). CFC is a new Peer-to-Peer Networking Group offered exclusively to Founders and CEOs of emerging growth companies in Chicago, with a focus on supporting and nurturing the expanding and vibrant emerging growth company community in the region.

CFC was founded by thought leaders actively involved in the emerging growth sector from a variety of different Chicago-focused organizations, including: DLA Piper, Lightbank, Northwestern University, Deloitte, Dignitas, NEA, and Silicon Valley Bank. CFC is structured as an annual group of 25-30 entrepreneurs who will be invited to participate in a series of four events that will offer them the opportunity to connect with one another and listen to prominent speakers. A fifth networking event will serve as a “graduation” type event that will bring together the current class and, in future renditions, alumni from previous CFC classes.

“We created the Chicago Founders Circle because of the amazing entrepreneurial talent that exists in Chicago,” said Greg Grossman, Partner at DLA Piper. “By connecting world-class mentors, advisors and investors with Chicago’s most successful entrepreneurs, we’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the local economy in a very profound way. The CFC leadership team is excited to use its collective knowledge and skills to foster the growth of these companies and help these entrepreneurs succeed.”

“There is a growing and burgeoning startup ecosystem that has been building in Chicago for a while now,” added Bill Pescatello, Principal at Lightbank. “Last year alone saw a record-breaking $391 million in funding awarded to 197 local startups, which confirms the need and opportunity for a peer-to-peer networking group in Chicago. Our hope is that CFC will become one of the anchors of Chicago’s start-up community for today’s industry leaders and the future generation of motivated, young power players.”

Here’s more Chicago startup coverage at nibletz.com The Voice of Startups Everywhere Else.

Chicago On Today: A New Startup Launches Every 44 Hours


It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago Silicon Valley based PandoDaily sent a reporter to Chicago and he came back suggesting that their startup scene was sleepy. Fast forward to February 2013 and we’ve been tracking the startup communities rapid growth here.

Earlier this month NBC’s Today Show reported some amazing facts about Chicago’s startup community:

More startups launched in 2012 than any previous year.

A new startup launched every 44 hours.

197 of those were digital startups.

59 companies raised more than a million dollars.

We’ve also made three different trips to Chicago this year as part of our “sneaker strapped startup road trip”. We attended a kick off event at Chicago’s huge 1871 incubator, Chicago TechWeek and the Startup America Regional Champions Summit. On each trip we got to spend more time with Chicago’s seasoned startups like Groupon and Belly and some of their community’s newest players like KlutchClub and SpotHero.

Chicago’s startup ecosystem even caught the eye of TechStars founder David Cohen and Foundry Group’s Brad Feld, who recently announced a merger with Excelerate Labs to form Techstars Chicago.

We are looking forward to what Chicago has in store for 2013. Chicago is my kind of startup town.

Chicago, Chicago startups, startup communities, startup ecosystem, builtinchicago, today show

Chicago Ideas Week: Kara Swisher On The Next Big Thing VIDEO

We are in Chicago this week for the Startup America regions summit for Startup America Champions. We’re actually attending as Champions rather than media. Our good friend Frank Gruber at TechCocktail is also attending the summit as a regional champion from Washington DC.

While we did a little bit of actual work at the summit for the most part it’s been a great learning experience. In fact, when I tried to continue working after lunch, Startup America CEO Scott Case personally came and got me to make sure I was learning and not working. All the sessions on Tuesday were definitely worth it.

That doesn’t mean we couldn’t work at night after the summit was over.

It’s idea week in Chicago through October 14th. It’s a week long series of entrepreneurial, startup and innovator events, talks and lectures very similar to startup week happening in Austin Texas. As part of Idea Week, Startup America Chairman Steve Case (no relation to Scott), spoke in a mega talk Tuesday evening.

Case drove home many of the important points from his talk earlier in the day at the Startup America summit. He also went into a little history of AOL and briefly talked about the Time Warner merger.

After Case cleared the stage, they introduced the next guest (which we hadn’t read the program so we didn’t know) Kara Swisher.

Swisher is an authority on startups, technology and silicon valley. She was one of the reporters featured prominently in the 60 minutes interview with Mark Zuckerberg and she, along with Walt Mossberg, head up AllThingsDigital.  She’s a great interviewer and an equally as good interviewee.

Most of the interview was in true Swisher banter, great down to earth, and real tech talk sprinkled with her signature humor. In fact one of the funniest points in her talk was when she made reference to the fact that she’s been married to a Google executive for 14 years, Swisher than pointed out that she is a lesbian (which she’s always been out), and in “straight years” that would be 97 years of marriage.

She referred to Google Glasses as “creep glasses” and Google+ as not a social network.

At the end of the interview (the part in the video below) she was asked what she thought the next big thing would be. Her answer may surprise you, and again, even this answer was full of humor, that’s for the most part true:


More on IdeasWeek here

Go check out AllthingsD here

Everywhereelse, here

Chicago Startup: EcoResume Offers Job Hunters An Easy & Green Way To Hand Out Resumes INTERVIEW

Whether you’re actively searching for a job or you’re just passively looking, chances are you’ve been to a conference, networking event or other meetup and needed your resume close by. Now without bringing a briefcase or worse, a book bag, to every professional outing you take, carrying your resume with you can be cumbersome, often times resulting in a crinkled up, less professional looking representation of yourself.

Well a startup in Chicago, called EcoResume has a solution for you that solves this particular problem and makes things a little greener.

With EcoResume you upload your credentials and resume information to their website. From there the folks at EcoResume create a virtual business card for you, complete with the bullet points from your resume and links to your supporting documents. You can easily send this eco friendly card with resume highlights to anyone that you come across at a meeting, or professional event from your smartphone or when you get back to the office.

Sure there are other ways of doing this, including getting your own blog site, or custom url but EcoResume has it all figured out in a nice looking site that’s both easy to navigate and easy to find.

We got a chance to interview the founder of EcoResume Efrem McGruder. Check out the interview below.

Read More…

Chicago Startup: SocialKaty Is Social Media Marketing For Everyone Else INTERVIEW

 Enthusiastic and Scottish. Katy Lynch took her personality and social media skills from a hobby to creating a thriving venture backed company is less than two years. With a goal of providing result driven social media services for companies, she founded SocialKaty in August 2010.


SocialKaty is a full-service social media marketing firm employing 29 “social media assassins”  who create and manage content for brands (big and small). Simply, they’re a one stop shop for social media who maintain and create content on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogs and even develop tabs and apps for Facebook.

Why start SocialKaty?
1) Companies are struggling with creating and managing effective social media campaigns.
2) There are no real pure play social media firms out there.  (There are marketing and PR agencies that offer social media as an “add on” service, but not as their core offering.)

What’s interesting is the diversity of companies and industries they service. To name a few – funded startups, bars, restaurants, retailers, non-profits, and heck even energy companies. It’s no wonder they’ve been profitable since day one, grown to a 29 person team and raised a Series A round from Lightbank.

We caught up with Katy last week during Techweek Chicago:

Links we’ve got em:

SocialKaty Is Here

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Chicago’s Wunderland Group Wins Best Service Provider To Tech Community

The Wunderland Group, a staffing firm headquartered in Chicago has a national presence with offices in San Francisco, Austin, New York and New Jersey took home the Moxie Award for Greatest Service For the Tech Community. The Moxie Awards recognize leaders in the Chicago Technology space.

Wunderland was selected out of 70,000 votes and were recognized in front of 800 people from all walks of life within the thriving Chicago tech scene.

Although, technically separate entities entirely, the Moxie Awards for all intents and purposes kicked off Chicago’s four day TechWeek 2012 Conference

Although most people may not think a staffing company makes sense to win an award to the startup and tech community, The Wunderland Group goes above and beyond in the cities they serve, especially at home in Chicago.

The Wunderland Group holds technology focused meetups, provides mentors to various Startups and organizations, invests back in the community and of course serves as a staffing resource to any sized company.

The three original founders were on hand at the Moxie Awards ceremony held at the Park West Theater in Chicago last Thursday. What made the event even more memorable was that they we presented the award by the evening’s emcee, Saurin Choksi. Choksi is a Ruby on Rails developer who also happens to be the first placement ever for The Wunderland Group, three years ago.


For more on The Wunderland Group, Click Here

See our Chicago TechWeek Coverage Here

Nibletz is on a nationwide sneaker strapped startup road trip,find out more here

Interview With Chicago Startup LineChop

LineChop Co-Founder Nishanth Samala is all smiles about getting rid of the wait list (photo: nibletz)

Being placed on a waiting list at a restaurant can be one of the most frustrating things in the world. You don’t want to stand around and do nothing, but you don’t want to leave the restaurant in fear that you may miss your call for a seat.

Earlier this month we brought you the story about Pittsburgh startup NoWait, and how they’re providing a turnkey iOS based system for restaurants to manage their waiting list. While at TechWeek in Chicago we met this young group of guys who are still in college, and plan on disrupting the wait list as well.

As LineChop’s co-founder Nishanth Samala told us though, LineChop is different form NoWait because it doesn’t require any specific hardware. The system, for lack of a better word, is cloud based. Samala was quick to point out that a host or hostess at a restaurant could run LineChop on their existing computer, an iPad or other tablet.

The other thing that sets LineChop apart is that they’re plan from the get go is to offer coupons and deals to  those customers that are waiting in line.

LineChop has a text or messaging based feature which will allow patrons to be notified when their spot in line is available or they can get notified via the LineChop app.

Check out our video below with Samala who’s very excited about the prospects for his startup:


For more information visit linechop.com

Here’s more of our Chicago TechWeek coverage

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Chicago Techweek 2012: GoSoapBox Demo & Interview (video)

We met GoSoapBox here at Techweek Chicago 2012.  They began with the idea of a Social Q&A service.  Dave Mulder went to the Lansing Startup Weekend and walked away the winner with Social Q&A.  Dave described it as, “socially-ranked questions and answers for the classroom.”  This idea grew from Dave’s personal experience in college lecture halls and when he originally pitched the idea at the Startup Weekend it squeaked into the competition with the bare minimum requirements.  Dave pitched the idea and captured the attention of John Pytel and Eduardo Serrano – who joined him to build out the idea.

John (who is now co-founder and CEO) described his reaction when he heard the pitch.

When Dave told me about his idea for GoSoapBox, it was an “Aha” moment for me. Give students a platform to contribute to class without a physical interruption and they’ll use it! I know I would have. What I love about GoSoapBox though is that its value isn’t limited to students who don’t feel like participating, it benefits the entire class….even the A+ students sitting in the front row.

Later they joined the 2011 Chicago Lean Startup Challenge – and won.  Dave discussed this with me at length but explained (in a nutshell) that it stressed build fast, fail fast, build again, repeat.  Don’t spend ages trying to “perfect” the app or idea only to find out that you’ve just blown all of the money in the bank and the users hate it.  GoSoapBox built different versions of their app and let users test it, provide feedback, and then they went back and rebuilt.

Why were they at Techweek 2012?  Part of the reason certainly must have included the fact that they work just four floors above Techweek at 1871. Primarily they decided due to the summer downturn by educators and schools it makes sense to look into other options for revenue.  Notice I said other options.  They are bringing in money already.  Techweek seemed to be the perfect time for them to launch their solution for conferences.

GoSoapBox improves audience engagement at your event by giving your audience an anonymous platform to ask questions, and the ability to respond to polls using any smartphone, tablet, or laptop…. all in real time.

No more dealing with complicated clickers, running around with microphones, or hearing from THAT GUY over and over. GoSoapBox makes audience engagement more interactive, more efficient, and more enjoyable than ever before.





When I first heard what the original concept did I immediately thought of any number of conferences that I’ve attended that included a Q&A session.  Typically, if the speaker is very popular, it can be absolutely impossible to have your question asked.  I thought this would be perfect for those situations.  The audience can vote up questions that appeal to the whole rather than just a single person, the speaker could track the crowds interests through live polling, and it can serve to help make it so the person who asked the tough question remains anonymous (giving those of us in the press an edge if we’ve already pre-written our story while betting on the answer we might hear).

Dave and I discuss GoSoapBox, Chicago, and 1871 in the video interview below.


Find out more about GoSoapBox here

Here’s more of our coverage from Chicago TechWeek 2012

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Chicago TechWeek: RecBob Recreational Sports, Socially INTERVIEW

While here at TechWeek 2012 in Chicago we got to meet the CEO and co-founder of RecBob. His name isn’t Bob, we asked. We also asked if RecBob was related to Bob the builder, and although they look like they could be related, alas they are not.

What RecBob is though, is a way to connect people for recreational sports socially. It’s a way for coaches, players and parents to stay connected around their recreational sports. Need to collect dues, RecBob can handle it. Need to find a replacement player RecBob can handle it.

Their Motto: We Can Play It, Yes We Can,

ok not really, and the fact that I have a 4 3/4 year old is really starting to show.

RecBob is way more than league management. From our vantage point it’s like LockerDome for soccer moms.

John Schnipkoweit the co-founder and CEO left his position at Ovation to develop and grow RecBob,

I remember in the 80’s when my mom had folders of papers from all my different hockey teams and canceling practice for a snow storm involved hours on the phone. Those are just some of the pain points that RecBob can fix and at the same time make rec sports more fun and social.

Check out the video interview below:


More on Recbob here

Here’s our Chicago TechWeek Coverage

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Techweek Startup City: LAUNCH contestants



Tomorrow is the third consecutive year of Techweek’s LAUNCH event.

On Monday, June 25, Startup City will highlight the startup ecosystem’s creativity and variety, giving attendees an exciting sneak peak of the newest ideas entering the market.

Located in the exhibit hall, this space provides an area for startups and aspiring entrepreneurs from Techweek LAUNCH to demo their products and network with potential investors and customers. Exhibitors can also receive feedback from technology trendsetters, media representatives, digital creatives and other exciting industries that attend Techweek. Startups are an important part of the world economy and an integral element of our conference.

I have compiled all of the startups and their websites that I could.  I was unable to locate MouseHouse and/or Care Content.  Take a look over the different contestants and let us know who you feel has a chance at winning top prize here at Techweek.



Care Content


Couture Circle

Driveway Software









MobileX Labs



NextCrew Corporation






Regroup Therapy







Venue Cricket

VIPorbit Software