Tech In Chicago-logo

Tech In Chicago

Technology News >

Tech In Chicago takes you inside the Chicago tech world. Each week Colin Keeley is joined by Chicago’s top founders and investors to talk about the amazing companies being built right here. Visit for more information.

Tech In Chicago takes you inside the Chicago tech world. Each week Colin Keeley is joined by Chicago’s top founders and investors to talk about the amazing companies being built right here. Visit for more information.
More Information


Chicago, IL


Tech In Chicago takes you inside the Chicago tech world. Each week Colin Keeley is joined by Chicago’s top founders and investors to talk about the amazing companies being built right here. Visit for more information.




From Opera Singer to Founder of the Most Successful App Kickstarter Ever - Gabriel Wyner / Founder of Fluent Forever

Gabriel Wyner is the Founder and CEO of Fluent Forever, a startup that aims to help anyone learn a language quickly and remember it forever. He launched a bestselling book 4 years ago and now has the most successful app Kickstarter of all time for his Fluent Forever app. As of this episode, he has raised over $430,000 and he still has another week left. Gabe is not your typical founder. He is a former opera singer/engineer who has a passion for learning new languages and just recently...


What Is Chris Gladwin up to After Selling Cleversafe for $1.3 Billion? Building Ocient to Revolutionize Big Data Analytics

Chris Gladwin is the CEO and Founder of Ocient, a startup building software that enables sophisticated users of data to handle massive amounts of information fast enough to make real-time decisions. Two years ago Chris sold his data storage company Cleversafe to IBM for $1.3 billion. Cleversafe was the largest and most strategic object storage vendor in the world. The technology he started generated over 1,000 patents granted or filed, creating one of the ten most powerful patent...


Making Parents Lives Better with Healthy Kids Lunches & How a Porn Site Led to a Big Rebrand - Rebecca Sholiton & Nate Cooper / Wise Apple

Rebecca Sholiton and Nate Cooper are the Co-Founders of Wise Apple(formally Pak'd), a startup that delivers pre-made, customizable school lunches directly to families’ homes. They just announced their $3.6 million seed round led by Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Levy Family Partners with Chicago Ventures, Greycroft Partners, BoxGroup and Irish Angels also participating. Wise Apple was also part of Techstars Chicago class of 2016 which included previous podcast guests Bright and ...


From Stanford to Chicago to Raising $9 Million and Reinventing Millennial Investing - Brian Barnes / Founder of M1 Finance

Brian Barnes is the CEO and Founder of M1 Finance, a startup making an automated investment tool that lets users put their money to work in a balanced portfolio without the hassle of actually managing it. Just a few years after graduating from Stanford, Brian raised $9 million and moved back to Chicago to build the platform. In This Episode You Will Learn: Brenda Barnes Selected Links From The Episode: Favorite Books: Sapiens: A Brief History of HumankindThe Count of Monte...


Creating the Next Corner Store in the Age of Amazon - Michael LaVitola / Founder of Foxtrot

Michael LaVitola is the CEO and Founder of Foxtrot, a startup that could be thought of as a curated cornerstore with on-demand delivery. It is basically what you imagine your ideal convenience store would look like with an in store cafe and a ton of super cool beer, wine, food, gifts, and basic necessities. Use code "ab079e" for $10 off your first order In This Episode You Will Learn: Selected Links From The Episode: New Venture ChallengeCraig WortmannEater Favorite Books: Shoe Dog: A...


Building a Platform for the $112 Billion Party Planning Industry - Julie Novack / Co-Founder of PartySlate

Julie Novack is the CEO and a Co-Founder of PartySlate, a startup building a two-sided platform that allows event professionals to share their work and party hosts to gain inspiration from it. PartySlate has raised $2.6 million from investors including Hyde Park Venture Partners, Hyde Park Angels and InvestHER Ventures. In This Episode You Will Learn: Selected Links From The Episode: WiSTEM Favorite Books: Born to RunBossypantsTune In: The Beatles: All These YearsElon Musk: Tesla,...


Helping NBA and NFL Players Sleep More and Play Better - Jeff Kahn / Co-Founder of Rise Science

Jeff Kahn is a Co-Founder and CEO of Rise Science, a sleep behavior change startup that provides sleep coaching for elite athletes. They harness the science behind sleep, and give elite athletes the power to perform at their best with the help of continuous, personalized insights, guidance and feedback. Rise Science is currently working with many major sports organizations like the Chicago Bulls, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, West Virginia Mountaineers, and Tennessee Volunteers....


Revolutionizing Small Business Lending with Data & Technology - George Souri / Founder of LQD Finance

George Souri is the Founder and CEO of LQD Business Finance, a startup providing quick, convenient, and affordable financing to small and medium-sized businesses that are traditionally underbanked. LQD is leveraging data to offer business loans in the $250,000 to $3 million range to help businesses scale faster. George is a serial entrepreneur, self-taught mathematician, and musician. He got his entrepreneurial start with a string of dance clubs at 18 years old before founding his own...


Troy Henikoff of Techstars on Crafting a Great Pitch, the Power of 0, Cycling, BB8, & Transforming Startups in 90 Days

Troy Henikoff is the Managing Director at Techstars Chicago, a Managing Director at MATH Venture Partners, and a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Business. If you haven't heard of Troy yet, he is one of the biggest figures in the Chicago tech scene and has been instrumental in getting Chicago tech to where it is today. He is also one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and a hard core cyclist. Prior to launching Techstars Chicago,...


How to Build a Two Sided Marketplace & Fixing Car Maintenance - Greg Tepas / Founder of CarAdvise

Greg Tepas is the Founder and CEO of CarAdvise, a startup that makes car maintenance easy and transparent. CarAdvise acts as a personal auto repair concierge and advisor for car owners. They provide an unbiased opinion on proposed work and estimated cost to save car owners from the traditional mistrust and stress associated with car repairs. In This Episode You Will Learn: Favorite Books: Steve Jobs41: A Portrait of My Father Sponsored By: Propllr


Building the Future of Business Intelligence, Lessons From Techstars & Value in the Imperfect - Jeff Judge / Founder of Bright

Jeff Judge is the Founder and CEO of Bright, a startup that helps SaaS companies quickly understand their core metrics, and gives them the tools to grow faster. Bright just graduated from the 2016 Techstars class here in Chicago. Before founding Bright, Jeff cofounded and led Signal (acquired) and he was an early engineer at Orbitz. In This Episode You Will Learn: Selected Links From The Episode: Fredrik OlsenBrian FlanaganTroy HenikoffBrian LuerssenDan WilloughbySaaStr Annual...


Sitting down with the Warby Parker of Furniture - Rob Royer / Founder of Interior Define

Rob Royer is the Founder and CEO of Interior Define, a startup that builds furniture on demand and will customize everything, including the size, shape, color, fabric, filling, and frame. Rob was one of the early employees at Bonobos and took much of what he learned over to Interior Define, which he launched in 2014. Shopping for a big purchase like a couch online without sitting on it beforehand kind of seems crazy so we talk a lot about how they have gotten people over that hesitation....


Building the Warby Parker of Men's Skincare - Mia Saini & Laura Lisowski / Co-Founders of Oars + Alps

Mia Saini & Laura Lisowski are Co-Founders of Oars + Alps, a new e-commerce startup selling men’s skincare products that target an "athleisure guy on the go". Their first products are a face moisturizer, a deodorant, and a face wash in stick form. Mia Saini is a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School and a former reporter for Bloomberg TV. Early last year, Mia quit her job at Bloomberg and her Co-Founder Laura Lisowski quit her job at Facebook to start building Oars + Alps...


The Future of 3D Carving & Empowering Makers - Zach Kaplan / Founder of Inventables

Zach Kaplan is the Founder and CEO of Inventables, which makes software and hardware for 3D carving. Their flagship products Easel, Carvey, and X-Carve are used by a new wave of makers to make everything from circuit boards to skate boards. Zach was named a “modern Leonardo” by the Museum of Science and Industry and a 40 under 40 by Crain’s Chicago Business. Inventables has the stated goal of putting a 3D carver in every classroom by the end of the decade. In This Episode You Will...


Jellyvision’s Amanda Lannert on Humor, Culture, Sharks, Diversity, Liberal Arts, Massage Chairs, and Networking

Amanda Lannert is the CEO of Jellyvision, which makes ALEX, an interactive decision-support tool that talks you through traditionally boring and confusing human resource decisions like picking health insurance and makes them fun and engaging. The Jellyvision of today has one of the more interesting founding stories, which Amanda describes in the beginning of this episode. It was born from the ashes of You Don't Know Jack. Amanda was named CEO of the Year at the Moxie Awards in...


The Future of the Gig Economy With VC Turned Founder - Eddie Lou / Co-Founder of Shiftgig

Eddie Lou is the CEO and Co-Founder of Shiftgig, a mobile, two-sided labor marketplace connecting large venues in the service and hospitality industries with locally available and previously vetted hourly workers. Shiftgig is one of the leaders in the gig economy, acting as a technology bridge connecting millions of workers with millions of shifts. Shiftgig has raised $35M in venture funding from many local VCs including Chicago Ventures, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, and Corazon...


Solving Big Problems With Big Data - Dan Wagner / Founder of Civis Analytics

Dan Wagner is the Founder and CEO of Civis Analytics, a startup that helps companies, non-profits, and campaigns leverage their data to develop smarter strategy, make better decisions, and build stronger, data-driven organizations. Before founding Civis Analytics, Dan Wagner was the Chief Analytics Officer on President Obama's 2012 campaign, overseeing a 54-person team of analysts, engineers and organizers that provided analytics and technologies for voter contact, digital, paid media,...


Virtual Reality, the Future of Retail, & Selling to Big Business - Tracey Wiedmeyer / Co-Founder of InContext Solutions

Tracey Wiedmeyer is the CTO and a Co-Founder of InContext Solutions, the leader in scalable virtual reality (VR) shopping and retail solutions. InContext Solutions lets manufacturers and retailers simulate real in-store shopping situations to ideate, evaluate and activate all types of merchandising, display, layout and other in-store shopping experiences within a VR store environment before implementing them in the real world. Just last month, they closed their Series E round of funding,...


SpotHero's Mark Lawrence on Building a Marketplace Business, Meditation, & Why If It's Not a Fuck Yes, It's a Fuck No

Mark Lawrence is the CEO and Co-Founder of SpotHero, an on-demand parking app and website that makes drivers’ lives easier by helping them find and reserve a parking for up to 50% off. Mark along with his co-founders started the company after managing to rack up thousands of dollars in parking tickets. SpotHero is now one of Chicago's bigger consumer startup success stories. They raised $20 million in Series B funding last year, are in 15 cities, and have a team of 120 now. In This...


Catching Payment Fraud With Big Data - Canh Tran / Co-Founder of Rippleshot

Canh Tran is the CEO and Co-Founder of Rippleshot, a startup that detects payment card data breaches. They take a big-data machine learning approach, more common in search, genetics and advertising, and apply it in a novel way for the payment processing industry to help banks, merchants and processors proactively monitor suspicious fraudulent activity and implement smarter fraud risk management strategies when card compromises do occur. It is a massive industry with a lot of room for...