Chicago Startup WeDeliver Puts A Winning Spin On Deliveries

WeDeliver, Chicago startup,startup interview, Chicago TechWeek

At first glance WeDeliver, a Chicago startup, looks like a hybrid between your typical delivery service and a courier service. That’s probably because it is, with a twist.

WeDeliver connects local businesses to their customers by providing same day delivery of products and goods. Sure delivery and courier services aren’t new, but crowdsourcing the service is.

WeDeliver takes on and vets delivery drivers who are looking for a little extra money delivering anything from clothing, flowers, and knick knacks, to small appliances, bicycles and other goods. The drivers use their own vehicles and are properly vetted by the company. Because they have a fleet of drivers with their own vehicles, WeDeliver is able to offer a wide range of delivery services from people who need something that will fit in a truck or a passenger seat, to something that needs a small van or small truck, and everything in between.

What sets them apart and positions WeDeliver for success is the hands on approach their founders and staff are taking. Where there are some apps that are trying to automate the process, they know that some human interaction needs to be involved for vetting, dispatching, and matching up deliveries, customers, and drivers.

Earlier this summer when we were at Chicago TechWeek, the crowd was buzzing for WeDeliver. They had about ten people with them and you could spot a WeDeliver shirt anywhere. They all talked up the service very well, to the point where it won the startup contest!

We got a chance to interview them, check out the interview below.

What is your startup called?


What does your company do?

WeDeliver connects local businesses (small and medium sized) to their customers by providing same-day delivery of products and goods.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

Kirk Lashley, Co-Founder, CTO

Kirk, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and tech entrepreneur determined to solve real world problems, was a grad and Dev Engineer at University-West Indies. Kirk has more than 15 years of professional software development experience and was the owner/operator of a Web design company in Trinidad. Currently, he’s an organizer for Startup Weekend Trinidad and Tobago and Startup Weekend Chicago. Kirk’s passionate about sharing his technology and entrepreneurship in these startup ecosystems.

Jimmy Odom, Founder, CEO
Jimmy is founder/CEO of WeDeliver and is responsible for the vision and business development of the company. He gained experience working for five years at an Apple store, as owner/operator of a gourmet pizza delivery service and at The Starter League. Jimmy is a serial entrepreneur at heart, and his mission is to build a brand whose primary focus is to create more transformational experiences rather than transactional ones.

Daniela Bolzmann, Co-Founder, CMO

Daniela, an entrepreneur with expertise in community development, was most recently Director of Product Marketing at SymbalooEDU. She grew it from a startup to a successful 200k community of engaged educators worldwide. Daniela is a graduate of the Miyahlo School of Business at CSUF and founder of SocialSkoop, a digital marketing agency. As co-founder/CMO at WeDeliver, she uses her powers to help businesses of Chicago connect with the local community.

Where are you based?


What’s the startup scene like where you are based?

Chicago is truly an amazing city with the unique ability to have both the intimacy of a small town and the “hustle and bustle” and power players of a large metro area. The Chicago tech and startup scene is underrated and can sometimes be overlooked in favor of the traditional startup cities. This has been an advantage to us though it is rapidly changing due to organizations like 1871, TechStars Chicago, The Starter League and people like Mayor Rahm Emanuel, JB Pritzker and Troy Henikoff, to name a few.

What problem do you solve?

We believe that our same-day on demand delivery technology will help local retailers gain a competitive edge against big box E-retailers, like Amazon, while also creating jobs and spurring local economic growth.

Why now?

Why not? The time is now for same-day delivery. The technology we are using for same-day delivery was not available previously. We are simply applying newer technology to an outdated courier industry that still runs off nextels and bad service.

What are some milestones your startup has already reached?

  • We won 1st place at Startup Weekend, November 2012
  • IBM Global Entrepreneur Mentor Day Winner, June 2013
  • We won Techweek Chicago LAUNCH, June 2013

What are your next milestones?

We are on track to have more than 250 merchants and more than 100 drivers by year’s end.

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



Kurfuffl Because Everyone Keeps Score


Competition is everywhere. Of course competition is found in sports, but even in your everyday interactions there is always someone challenging you to do something.

“I can eat more hot dogs than  you.”

“I go to Starbucks more than you.”

“I can drive that golfball further than you.”

The challenges are countless and come from every direction.

It’s no surprise that a startup with a colorful name and based on social competition comes from Chicago, an extremely competitive city. With four major sports franchises (five if you count the Cubs), men, women and children are challenging each other everywhere.

That’s the basis of Kurfuffl, an app for both iPhone and Android.

“Do you score more than your friends? Now you can prove it. Kurfuffl is an app that helps you keep score in everyday social competition. Anyone who’s competitive can tap Kurfuffl to throw down, track points and talk smack. Whether settling a longtime dispute or just making a night more interesting, there’s nothing like a good fuffl.” Kurfuffl says on their website.

If you’ve been following me since TheDroidGuy days then you know the one thing that I really look forward to at every event is good chocolate chip cookies. During TechWeek, Zach Zimmerman the founder of Kurfuffl, had the cookies at his booth, so we chilled out with him and listened to what he had to say. I’m easily bought.

Competition apps are getting more popular. At SXSW we saw Alabama startup NotIt labs which is also social competition but focused on the last man standing or the person who’s “not it”.

Kurfuffl on the other hand is all about keeping score. Is it how many men or women you can pick up, how many cigar smoke rings you can make, or any other social challenge? Keep the challenges alive, keep score, and more with Kurfuffl. Find out more here and watch the video below.


We’ve got more from Chicago TechWeek Here.


Turn Your Blog Into A Book With Chicago Startup BlogIntoBook

BlogIntoBook, 1871, Chicago startup, Startup,startup interviewEarly next year we’ll be publishing our first book about startups everywhere else, chronicling our two year sneaker strapped startup road trip.  We were fortunate enough to be commissioned by a publisher for this particular book, but it’s not typically that easy. For actual book writers and authors, there are great startups to help get self published, like Memphis startup ScrewPulp.  But what about bloggers and journalists who may want to memorialize their writings in an actual book, well e-book?

Well BlogIntoBook, currently incubating at Chicago megahub, 1871, is helping bloggers turn their work into books.

BlogIntoBook is an easy-to-use platform that helps bloggers curate and publish their blogs into books. Then they help get the book distributed by Amazon, Apple’s iBookstore, and Google Play. The best part is it’s free, and BlogIntoBook issues a royalty to the author.

We got a chance to talk with the founder Zack Price, check out our interview below.



What is your startup called?

What does your company do? turns Bloggers into Authors by curating and publishing their blog as a professionally published ebook distributed to (Kindle), Apple iBookstore (iOS), Google Play (Android), and BN Nook. We provide this service completely free to the blogger and pay them a royalty every time their blog is downloaded.

Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds

Zack Price is a serial entrepreneur who has been starting businesses since age 11. He founded Price World Publishing in 1999 at age 19, and that company still stands strong today. Zack also founded College Auctions LLC in 2004 and successfully exited with a sale in 2007. Already a 14 year publishing veteran, Zack just started up which launched at Techweek on June 27th.

What problem do you solve?

Bloggers have very few ways to make money from their passion. Many refuse to host ads on their site, and while they would like to be book authors, they just don’t have the time or patience to self-publish. gives them a completely risk-free opportunity to earn passive income without any investment of time or money, while also gaining new fans from the e-bookstores who may have never found their blog through the web.

Why now?

A few years ago this would have been impossible. The Kindle was in it’s infancy and the iPad didn’t exist. Ebooks have been around forever (as PDF files) but reading a book on a computer screen is not pleasant. Here in 2013 we have a variety of Kindle devices, iPads, Nooks, and android devices … all perfect for reading on the go. Now that these devices are flooding the mainstream there is no better time to publish to them.

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

We just launched at Techweek, but we have signed on BJ Mendelson (@bjmendelson) who has over 750,000 twitter followers. Once we publish his blog into an ebook he’ll be tweeting out the link and it should lead to a flood of sales.

What are your next milestones?

Publishing 100 blogs into books in the second half of the year, and 1,000 blogs by the end of 2014.

Where can people find out more?



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


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


Here are more amazing startups from Chicago TechWeek



Cheek’d Is Reinventing Online Dating [video]

Cheekd, New York startup, startup, startup interview, Chicago TechWeek

Do you remember when online dating was a bad thing? You know, you met someone online, but you wouldn’t dare tell your parents or your closest friends. Instead, the story was you just happened to meet the  most wonderful woman (or man) in the world, who lives 500 miles away, by accident? Now online dating is the norm, especially for busy people.

Sites like have been around since the mid 90’s, e-harmony since 2000. There are of course hundreds of apps to help you find the next perfect match, online.

Well, a startup we reported on last October, is turning online dating on its head by adding an offline component, the calling card.  Cheek’d gets its name, not from dancing cheek-to-cheek or anything romantic like that, but from its founder: Lori Cheek. Cheek told us in an interview that the idea came about when she was out to dinner with a dear male friend. As they were leaving the restaurant the male friend of hers wrote his name and number on the back of a card and slipped it to an attractive woman. Sparks went off in Cheek’s head, and Cheek’d was born.

Cheek’d lets you order Cheek’d cards that have a link to your Cheek’d profile. Typically in online dating you spend a while courting someone online and then meeting in person. Now you can take that first impression and back it with a robust online platform.

Is it working? Cheek’d told us at Chicago TechWeek that they have thousands of users from across the globe who’ve started using the service.  “Cheek’d bridges the gap between online dating and real-world romance by providing members with physical cards that they can use to entice people from the real world to flirt with them in the virtual world. It’s the 2.0 version of “Call Me.” Cheek told Nibletz.

Cheek’d is a really interesting twist in online dating. Check out our interview video below and to sign up visit


See more startup coverage from Chicago Techweek here.



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 –

facebook –

Semester Planner –


Now check out our video interview with Purham


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


FreeOsk Automates Free Samples

FreeOsk, Startup,Chicago TechWeek

You see some crazy new things at tech conferences. One of our favorites at Chicago TechWeek was the large booth full of Pringles. Kendall was happy to explain.

FreeOsk will be placed in retail outlets across the country and stocked with whatever free samples the retailer wants to give out. Beauty supplies, food, travel products. Anything that will fit through the vending slot.

When the customer comes in, they can just swipe their loyalty card and a free sample comes out. In outlets like drugstores or WalMart, the free sample offerings could change every week, giving customers yet another reason to come back.

Check out our quick interview with Kendall from FreeOsk.

Check out more of our Chicago TechWeek startup coverage 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

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.


Polish Startup Nearbox Wins Google For Entrepreneurs Trip To Chicago!

nearbox, Polish Startup, Chicago TechWeek, Google For Entrepreneurs

Google For Entrepreneurs hosted a contest in Poland and brought over a few startups to show off their stuff at Chicago TechWeek. Nearbox was one of those startups.

Nearbox is a social network of sorts, where you follow places rather than people. Each place has an online billboard where they can post messages, videos, and texts. It’s a great way to communicate with customers, friends, and even neighbors.  They call it a “virtual mailbox,” where the place can leave a message.

In nearbox every place is a community, and anyone can join that community’s place. It’s a communication tool that brings the discussion to a hyperlocal level.

With Nearbox the person who’s administering the place can interact with that place’s community any way they want. Are you having a house party? You can send out the invite. Is your place a restaurant? Use Nearbox to post your food specials. Is your place a bar or tavern? You can post your drink specials or entertainment schedule. But more than just a bulletin board, Nearbox allows you to interact with everyone in your place’s community.

Schools, neighborhoods, businesses, and even rec centers can have a place on Nearbox, facilitating community involvement.

In addition to winning the Google for Entrepreneurs contest, the startup, which just launched a few months ago, has also won awards from T-Mobile , InternetBeta 2012, and Innovation Nest. They also closed a small $25,000 round which was plenty to get the idea off the ground.

They launched in Poland and plan to expand globally this year.

Check out our interview with nearbox below and for more info visit

Check out these other startup stories from Chicago TechWeek.


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

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


Cap Innovators Startup BidRazor Is Shaving The Time Off Contractor’s Bids…By A Lot

bidrazor2bWe ran into a handful of good St. Louis startups at Chicago TechWeek, including our friends at Bonfyre, a classified ads startup Ad Freeq, and BidRazor, a graduate of the most recent class at Capital Innovators.

Mike Pulley and his co-founder Cameron Larsen have developed a platform for contractors that shaves the time it takes to bid on a project down from 20 hours over 3 or 4 weeks to just 2-4 hours. The main ingredient in shaving the time is “standardization” Pulley told us in an interview. Basically the app takes into consideration historical data on previous projects along with other mitigating factors that allow the contractor to more easily bid out the job.

BidRazor is the first of the duo’s apps that they are developing to help the contracting industry. They are also working on a project management app to help contractors keep better track of every piece of data they need for a building project. That was actually their earlier idea, but then they figured that contractors have to win the job before they can manage it. So far that’s paying off.

Having just graduated from the accelerator, the company already has customers and revenue, and the response has been phenomenal. Cutting back on the time it takes to bid out a project is allowing contractors to spend more time on their current projects, and in some cases, spend more time with their families. It’s a win for everyone.

They also already have a major partnership with Magic Plan, an app that creates floor plans. Now contractors can have bids and floor planes right on their iPhones or iPads.

Check out our video interview below and for more info visit them at

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