Catapult Chicago http://catapultchicago.com Where Startups Come to Scale Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:28:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 cleverbridge on List of Chicago’s Coolest Offices http://catapultchicago.com/cleverbridge-on-list-of-chicagos-coolest-offices/ http://catapultchicago.com/cleverbridge-on-list-of-chicagos-coolest-offices/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 19:19:07 +0000 http://catapultchicago.com/?p=3170 We, at Catapult, are not surprised that cleverbridge is on Crain’s list of Chicago’s Coolest Offices for 2014. cleverbridge, a Catapult partner, is one of 12 runners up, with its “favorite feature” being the rooftop deck. We are very lucky that we’ve gotten to experience it first hand this past summer at the Everest Program lunches and […]]]>

We, at Catapult, are not surprised that cleverbridge is on Crain’s list of Chicago’s Coolest Offices for 2014.

cleverbridge, a Catapult partner, is one of 12 runners up, with its “favorite feature” being the rooftop deck. We are very lucky that we’ve gotten to experience it first hand this past summer at the Everest Program lunches and our own Catapult Happy Hour.

And don’t miss the Crain’s article about cleverbridge’s cofounder Craig Vodnik, Why this tech founder is glucklich (that’s German for happy).

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BucketFeet is Growing by Leaps and Bounds http://catapultchicago.com/bucketfeet-is-growing-by-leaps-and-bounds/ http://catapultchicago.com/bucketfeet-is-growing-by-leaps-and-bounds/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:43:00 +0000 http://catapultchicago.com/?p=3166 BucketFeet is moving (again!), more than doubling its office space. They’ll be staying in the hot West Loop/Fulton Market area with other successful tech companies like Uber and Twitter. BucketFeet has been in their current space since November, after outgrowing Catapult and “graduating” last year. It’s been a good year for BucketFeet… They launched at Nordstrom in March, closed a round of funding in […]]]>

BucketFeet is moving (again!), more than doubling its office space. They’ll be staying in the hot West Loop/Fulton Market area with other successful tech companies like Uber and Twitter. BucketFeet has been in their current space since November, after outgrowing Catapult and “graduating” last year.

It’s been a good year for BucketFeet… They launched at Nordstrom in March, closed a round of funding in June, and introduced new shoe lines this summer (flip flops) and fall (midtops). Congratulations to cofounders Raaja Nemani and Aaron Firestein and the entire BucketFeet team!

Check out the article in the Chicago Tribune, BucketFeet Doubles Down on Fulton Market.

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Catapult Chicago Partners with Dynamic Signal to Drive Awareness for Local Entrepreneurs and Startups http://catapultchicago.com/catapult-chicago-partners-with-dynamic-signal-to-drive-awareness-for-local-entrepreneurs-and-startups/ http://catapultchicago.com/catapult-chicago-partners-with-dynamic-signal-to-drive-awareness-for-local-entrepreneurs-and-startups/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 13:26:25 +0000 http://catapultchicago.com/?p=3123 Dynamic Signal to power Catapult Chicago’s new advocacy marketing channel and content marketing efforts with their VoiceStorm “OS for Advocacy” platform SAN FRANCISCO, CA (October 01, 2014) – Catapult Chicago, a digital start-up community located in the heart of Chicago’s River North neighborhood, is partnering with silicon valley software start-up Dynamic Signal to help activate […]]]>

Dynamic Signal to power Catapult Chicago’s new advocacy marketing channel and content marketing efforts with their VoiceStorm “OS for Advocacy” platform

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (October 01, 2014) – Catapult Chicago, a digital start-up community located in the heart of Chicago’s River North neighborhood, is partnering with silicon valley software start-up Dynamic Signal to help activate its start-up community members as advocates, bringing more exposure, awareness and reach to their entire network of entrepreneurs.

Founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, Catapult Chicago’s mission is to help grow the next generation of technology startups in Chicago.

“We are always looking for innovative new ways to market what we do,” says Michelle Soble, Marketing Director of Catapult Chicago. “The concept of turning the marketing inside out, enabling the founders and teams of all the great companies we work with to be the voice of the community is incredibly powerful. Nobody knows our story better than us, so it’s been exciting to see this program take shape.”

Catapult Chicago is off to a fast start with their advocacy program, with many of the companies they work with already engaged.

“This is an exciting relationship for Dynamic Signal,” says CEO Russ Fradin. “Having been a start-up founder and investor, I know first-hand what it takes to gain traction and break through within a given market. We’re proud to enable these start-ups to have a voice, and lead by example through our technology and experience.”

Dynamic Signal, an industry leader in the advocacy marketing category, powers programs for hundreds of companies, including many fortune 500 brands. Its VoiceStorm platform enables a brand’s employees, partners, or customers to be advocates, by utilizing mobile and web technologies that seamlessly share news and announcements on behalf of the company directly to their personal social connections.

About Catapult Chicago
Catapult Chicago is an independent collaborative community aimed to support growing later-stage tech startups. Founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, Catapult is the only non-profit 501(c)6 working space for Chicago startups that have demonstrated business traction. It is a place where the most talented people behind the most promising startups can learn, grow and excel together. The peer-selection model creates a community culture of hard-working entrepreneurs at similar stages of growth, that can use their shared experiences and network to accelerate growth for one another. Catapult alumni companies include Shiftgig, BucketFeet, TempoIQ, Packback and Procured Health. Current Catapult resident companies include Scholastica, Opternative, The Black Sheep, Supply Vision and LearnCore. Visit us at http://www.catapultchicago.com and follow us on Twitter @CatapultChi.

About Dynamic Signal
Dynamic Signal is a silicon valley software company that provides VoiceStorm, a marketing platform that helps top brands partner with and leverage the social reach and influence of their employees, fans and customers to achieve their branding, marketing and commerce goals. VoiceStorm is the only comprehensive “OS for advocacy,” a single platform for sourcing, managing and distributing content, for managing relationships with advocates, and for sharing via mobile apps. It’s the only feature-complete, one-stop platform with everything needed to run a successful program: an advocate hub, gamification tools to engage advocates, and real-time reporting and insights on program participation and performance. Dynamic Signal’s customers include top companies across entertainment and media, consumer packaged goods, financial services, fashion and beauty, high tech, and advocacy. The company, founded in 2010, is based in San Bruno, California, and is comprised of a veteran management team and top-tier investors including Trinity, Venrock, Time Warner Investments, Rembrandt Venture Partners and Cox Media Group. Visit us at http://www.dynamicsignal.com and follow us on Twitter @dynamic_signal.

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Catapult Welcomes Social Sweepster http://catapultchicago.com/catapult-welcomes-social-sweepster/ http://catapultchicago.com/catapult-welcomes-social-sweepster/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 18:06:53 +0000 http://catapultchicago.com/?p=3117 Social Sweepster joins Catapult today as an Associate Member. Social Sweepster is a tool to help people monitor and clean up their online social presence. Using patent-pending computer vision and language processing, Social Sweepster scans the text and images on Facebook and Twitter profiles, flagging potentially undesirable content for the user to keep or delete (can you say red solo […]]]>

Social Sweepster joins Catapult today as an Associate Member.

Social Sweepster is a tool to help people monitor and clean up their online social presence. Using patent-pending computer vision and language processing, Social Sweepster scans the text and images on Facebook and Twitter profiles, flagging potentially undesirable content for the user to keep or delete (can you say red solo cup?). Social Sweepster, targeted to college applicants and job seekers, will help people present themselves in a professional and consistent manner.

A big welcome to co-founder and CEO Tom McGrath and his team!

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Occasion Joins Catapult http://catapultchicago.com/occasion-joins-catapult/ http://catapultchicago.com/occasion-joins-catapult/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:20:25 +0000 http://catapultchicago.com/?p=3110 Catapult is excited to welcome Occasion to its startup community. Occasion helps merchants easily accept bookings and appointments online, from their own website – not a 3rd party page. Customers can easily and quickly complete their booking in one step from smartphones, tablets or computers, using a seamless and intuitive interface. Thanks to Occasion, businesses and […]]]>

Catapult is excited to welcome Occasion to its startup community.

Occasion helps merchants easily accept bookings and appointments online, from their own website – not a 3rd party page. Customers can easily and quickly complete their booking in one step from smartphones, tablets or computers, using a seamless and intuitive interface. Thanks to Occasion, businesses and their customers benefit.

Occasion was founded in 2013 by Eric Di Silvestro, Kieran Klaasen, Pelle ten Cate, and Aksh Gupta – who met via Airbnb.

Read more about their business and their cool founding story in TechCocktail.

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AirCast Mobile Joins Catapult http://catapultchicago.com/aircast-mobile-joins-catapult/ http://catapultchicago.com/aircast-mobile-joins-catapult/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:49:08 +0000 http://catapultchicago.com/?p=3106 We welcome AirCast Mobile to Catapult as an Associate Member. AirCast Mobile, Inc. is an award-winning digital and consumer products company. Its products include mobile applications, mobile accessories (The AirClip), and the mobile video and photo messaging platform for Smart TV’s (AirCastLive). AirCastLive, launched in December 2013 on both Google TV and Roku platforms, is the only […]]]>

We welcome AirCast Mobile to Catapult as an Associate Member.

AirCast Mobile, Inc. is an award-winning digital and consumer products company. Its products include mobile applications, mobile accessories (The AirClip), and the mobile video and photo messaging platform for Smart TV’s (AirCastLive). AirCastLive, launched in December 2013 on both Google TV and Roku platforms, is the only video service that lets users send mobile video from their smartphone directly to another user’s TV from anywhere in the world.

We are happy to have co-founder Mike Linhardt join our Catapult community.

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LearnCore Wins Most Promising Startup Award http://catapultchicago.com/learncore-wins-most-promising-startup-award/ http://catapultchicago.com/learncore-wins-most-promising-startup-award/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 21:50:04 +0000 http://catapultchicago.com/?p=3091 Congratulations to LearnCore, winner of the first ever Startup Voodoo Most Promising Startup Award. 100 midwest startups were nominated, with 5 finalists moving on to the voting round. The top 3 vote-getting startups headed to St. Louis for the 2-minute pitch competition at Startup Voodoo’s inaugural conference on Thursday, September 25. And at the end of the day, it […]]]>

Congratulations to LearnCore, winner of the first ever Startup Voodoo Most Promising Startup Award.

100 midwest startups were nominated, with 5 finalists moving on to the voting round. The top 3 vote-getting startups headed to St. Louis for the 2-minute pitch competition at Startup Voodoo’s inaugural conference on Thursday, September 25. And at the end of the day, it was LearnCore’s co-founders Vishal Shah and Ethan Linkner who were awarded “Most Promising Startup” – culminating this daylong event that brought together leaders in the startup entrepreneurism space.

In addition to the recognition as “Most Promising” midwest startup, LearnCore won a package of services and funding valued at $10,000 – including $5,000 in cash from Daugherty Business Solutions, 10 hours of free legal services from the Polsinelli law firm, 10 hours of free marketing services from Elasticity, and a collection of LearnCore branded merchandise from CafePress.com.

The Startup Voodoo conference was more than just an award for Vishal and Ethan. As Vishal said, “Startup Voodoo was awesome. We got great contacts… This should be on everyone’s list for next year.”

You can read more about the award and the event at Techli. LearnCore was recently featured in our Catapult Company Profile Series.

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Symbiosis Health Graduates from Catapult http://catapultchicago.com/symbiosis-health-graduates-from-catapult/ http://catapultchicago.com/symbiosis-health-graduates-from-catapult/#comments Sun, 28 Sep 2014 16:26:21 +0000 http://catapultchicago.com/?p=3094 Catapult Chicago bids farewell to its latest graduate Symbiosis Health. Symbiosis Health, co-founded by CEO Piyush Kedia (PK),  joined Catapult in December 2012 after coming out of NY’s Blueprint Health digital accelerator (like fellow Catapult alumni Procured Health). Symbiosis Health helps consumers with high-deductible health plans find pre-negotiated prices with thousands of providers–making health care more accessible […]]]>

Catapult Chicago bids farewell to its latest graduate Symbiosis Health.

Symbiosis Health, co-founded by CEO Piyush Kedia (PK),  joined Catapult in December 2012 after coming out of NY’s Blueprint Health digital accelerator (like fellow Catapult alumni Procured Health).

Symbiosis Health helps consumers with high-deductible health plans find pre-negotiated prices with thousands of providers–making health care more accessible and affordable.  Symbiosis Health (the “Expedia for Healthcare”) recently expanded to NYC. In February, they presented at Tech Cocktail’s startup showcase; and last year PK was featured on Bootstrapping in America.

We wish the Symbiosis Health team the best of luck in their new offices. We are happy to move them to the alumni column!

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4 Catapult Companies to Present at Chicago Venture Summit http://catapultchicago.com/4-catapult-companies-to-present-at-chicago-venture-summit/ http://catapultchicago.com/4-catapult-companies-to-present-at-chicago-venture-summit/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 20:12:20 +0000 http://catapultchicago.com/?p=3086 Four Catapult companies have been selected to present at the Chicago Venture Summit on October 13 & 14. Alumni TempoIQ, Shiftgig and Procured Health, and current resident Opternative are among the 30 tech startups to attend this invitation-only event. Chicago Venture Summit aims to bring together the best venture-backed technology companies in the Midwest with the most […]]]>

Four Catapult companies have been selected to present at the Chicago Venture Summit on October 13 & 14. Alumni TempoIQ, Shiftgig and Procured Health, and current resident Opternative are among the 30 tech startups to attend this invitation-only event.

Chicago Venture Summit aims to bring together the best venture-backed technology companies in the Midwest with the most influential venture capitalists from around the country. All the chosen companies met the criteria of being midwest, IT-related startups with a minimum of $1M in venture capital.

Read about all the companies selected in the Chicago Tribune.

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VLinks Media Company Profile http://catapultchicago.com/vlinks-media-company-profile/ http://catapultchicago.com/vlinks-media-company-profile/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 20:53:35 +0000 http://catapultchicago.com/?p=3034 In 2010, Ethan Linkner and Vishal Shah were 4 years out of college when they realized they wanted to start their own business and be their own boss. The high school and college friends (#GoBlue!) identified a lack of innovation in the educational space and decided to fill the void. In true startup fashion, within […]]]>

In 2010, Ethan Linkner and Vishal Shah were 4 years out of college when they realized they wanted to start their own business and be their own boss. The high school and college friends (#GoBlue!) identified a lack of innovation in the educational space and decided to fill the void. In true startup fashion, within weeks Ethan and Vishal quit their jobs, Ethan moved to San Francisco, and VLinks Media was born.

The founders and company have come a long way since those early days in San Francisco (literally and figuratively, as they are now based in Chicago, at Catapult). Today, Ethan and Vishal are more experienced entrepreneurs – leading a team of 10, scaling their company, and looking to the future.

LearnCore, the flagship product for VLinks Media launched in August 2013, is corporate training at its best. The cloud-based platform allows organizations to create and deliver personalized training courses that are highly interactive, easy to navigate, and trackable. With its innovative Pitch IQ skills assessment and improvement tool, LearnCore is disrupting the corporate training status quo.

We sat down with Ethan Linkner, Co-Founder and VP Operations, to talk about VLinks Media, LearnCore, entrepreneurship and Catapult. It is clear that Ethan and his team are a passionate and close-knit group, confident in their company. With their dedication to quality products and services, coupled with their drive to succeed, we are confident they are on the road to becoming the backbone for all workforce development and skill building.

How has your business evolved since its inception?

We’ve grown up. We fundamentally changed the way in which we do business – we rely on systems and processes, rather than brut force. We value the long tail of a relationship instead of immediate cash flow. We’ve defined industry standards. We’ve leveled up with everything from our processes to people to our scalability. Working with Fortune 1000 companies doesn’t allow us to do start-up things.

How do you handle different opinions/conflicts among the leaders of your team?

As cliché as this sounds, we talk it out. Vishal, Ryan [Leavitt, VP Business Development] and I are typically on the same page about things, but when we don’t agree, we always have a fair discussion and allow the best solution to win. No egos, no resentment, just clear business objectives. Everyone on our team has the company’s best interest in mind.

Where do you see your company in the next 2-3 years?

We will be known as the premier workforce development platform in market. We will unfortunately have left Catapult because our team will have tripled in size. We will be working with at least 20% of the Fortune 5000 companies.

What would you say is the most important skill needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Being really good at being really good! Every single day you are faced with new challenges that you need to quickly resolve across every facet of the business.

What is most beneficial about sharing a space with multiple entrepreneurs? What is the best part of Catapult?

It is exciting to be surrounded by great friends with whom I can share stories and collaborate. I can easily build my network and get a variety of view points on analogous problems. We’ve loved working with the sponsors. Their help allows us to easily focus on our core business rather than deal with non-essential items. The city views aren’t half bad either.

What other company at Catapult are you most intrigued by and why?

Supply Vision – I am intrigued because I don’t know a lot about them, but whenever I look at the mail, I always see a check or two addressed to them.

What advice would you give a first-time entrepreneur?

Hang on. You’re going to go through peaks and valleys at a frequency that you’ve yet to experience. With your hard work, determination and grit, you can make it work, but you’ve got to hang on and find balance.

What was the worst piece of entrepreneurial advice you ever received? 

“Maybe…” said by every VC I’ve ever spoken to.

What does your team do to bond and relax?

Team BBQ’s at Ryan’s; Zombie murder mysteries in the loop; team basketball tournaments; and some volunteering.

Last words?

Be original. Execute like a boss. Create raving fans. Buy our services.

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