Friday, March 27, 2015
Thursday, March 26, 2015
How Chicago's Popular Pays Made the Most of Y Combinator
Jim Dallke - Staff Writer
03/26/15 @2:13pm in Tech
Two and a half minutes. After 100 days, countless hours, and many sleepless night, that's all the time startups have to impress investors at the Y Combinator Demo Day. Regarded as the best tech accelerator in the country, Y Combinator, which invests $120,000 for 7% of the company, has helped launch some of today's most well-known startups. And with its latest class, it can add a Chicago-born company to the list.
Popular Pays, a startup that allows Instagram users with a high number of followers to earn money by taking pictures with certain products, was part of the YC winter 2015 class. In an accelerator that sees mostly California-based companies, it was an important milestone for the young Chicago startup.
The company presented at Demo Day this week, and their performance has already resulted in a flood of interest from investors, according to founder Corbett Drummey.
"It was intense," Drummey said. "It was 100 days of very hard work ... The only goal you have is trying to get investors to remember 1 or 2 points of your company and have them want to reach out and contact you."
Since Monday's Demo Day more than 90 investors have reached out to the company, which is a kind of investor reach Popular Pays couldn't have achieved anywhere else, Drummey said. But the benefits of YC expand beyond just access to capital; the community of advisors, peer support from fellow startups, and the chance to focus on the direction of the company all helped mold Popular Pays over the past 100 days, Drummey said.
"One of the most underrated aspects of Y Combinator is focus," he said. "With our whole team out here working, we just had a tremendous amount of focus during these 100 days."
Popular Pays used YC to help the startup shift from connecting influential Instagrammers with small business, to adding larger brands to its platform. In the past three months Popular Pays brought on Nike and a large restaurant chain that Drummey declined to disclose, citing the company's wish not to be named.
Here's how Popular Pays works: Companies list what type of social media post they want on the platform, and "influencers" (people with a large social media following) choose the ones they want and name their price. If the company accepts the offer, the influencer is paid after the shoot.
Nike, for example, may say it wants an Instagram post showcasing its new glow-in-the-dark shoe, and requests a photo of someone wearing the shoe while running at night. Sometimes the payment is free product (like Nike shoes), but for users with a higher follower count (above 40,000) the company pays the user cash for the post.
Drummey said the company has 20,000 Instagrammers using the app, with roughly 1,000 people using it for paid deals. Popular Pays has paid out $130,000 to Instagrammers in the last 3 months, he said.
Drummey and the eight-person Popular Pays team is returning to Chicago in April, but he expects to move the company's operations and engineering to San Francisco in the near future. The sales will remain in Chicago, and he expects to begin hiring more sales people soon. The main reason for the move was that engineers were more likely to relocate to San Francisco than Chicago, Drummey found.
"That was the hardest decision to make," he said. "We wanted to keep our momentum going. When it came down to it, we knew we wanted our sales team in Chicago. But what we found for engineering talent is that people were less likely to move to Chicago. Engineers were more likely to relocate (to San Francisco)."
Popular Pays raised roughly $775,000 before YC, mostly from Chicago angels, including Howard Tullman and Lon Chow.
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
1871 AND MICROSOFT VENTURES ANNOUNCE THE PARTICIPATION OF 1871 MEMBER COMPANIES IN THE SEATTLE MICROSOFT VENTURES ACCELERATOR PROGRAM
1871 AND MICROSOFT VENTURES ANNOUNCE THE PARTICIPATION OF 1871 MEMBER COMPANIES IN THE SEATTLE MICROSOFT VENTURES ACCELERATOR PROGRAM
1871 Member Companies ClearContact and ParkNav will Benefit from the Mentor-Driven
Four-Month Program Focused on Digital Works
CHICAGO (March 24, 2015)—1871, Chicago’s entrepreneurial hub for digital startups, and Microsoft Ventures are proud to announce the selection of 1871 member companies ClearContract and ParkNav to participate in the digital work-themed Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Seattle, Washington this spring.
The Microsoft Ventures team hosted open houses around the country with the purpose of attracting digital startups to apply for the four-month accelerator program. Leveraging the extensive partnership between 1871 and Microsoft Ventures, they hosted a Chicago open house at the digital startup incubator in The Merchandise Mart. During this open house, seven local startups had the opportunity to pitch their businesses to a sold-out crowd of investors, entrepreneurs, and the Microsoft Ventures team. This, according to the team, was the best-attended event nation wide, with a greater outcome than all other open houses combined.
“Our primary goal at 1871 is to help Chicago’s best digital designers, engineers, and entrepreneurs succeed in creating sustainable businesses,” said 1871 CEO, Howard A. Tullman. “With partners like Microsoft Ventures, we are able to provide exciting opportunities that deliver meaningful, long-term benefits to our members as well as the larger Chicago tech community.”
“The focus of our accelerator program is to help entrepreneurs build great companies,” said Microsoft Ventures Accelerator in Seattle Director, Mukund Mohan. “Leveraging our partnerships, we are able to provide direct support to the best entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country, and the world. As a startup hub, 1871 embodies Chicago’s natural drive to innovate in the digital age and Microsoft Ventures’ determination to foster great technology in business.”
The Seattle Microsoft Ventures accelerator program kicked off on March 16, and will end on July 16 with a demo day. With a digital works theme, the accelerator will focus on enterprise solutions, productivity, and B2B solutions while implementing Microsoft technology to the participating businesses. Besides Chicago-based ClearContract and ParkNav, companies from Michigan, New York, California, Oklahoma, Texas, Washington, and Canada are also part of the program.
"We could not ask for a better partner in growing and scaling our business than Microsoft Ventures,” said ClearContract COO, Kyle Cushing. “We’re extremely excited to collaborate with the other fantastic companies in the program, and also to leverage the breadth of talent within the Microsoft ecosystem to help us bring ClearContract to businesses across the globe."
“Being selected for the program means not only that we are able to work together with other amazing companies and talented people, but also receiving tutelage from the folks at Microsoft to help us take ParkNav to the next level,” said ParkNav VP of Business Development, Gerhard Boiciuc.
ClearContract is a technology that makes it painless to distribute, negotiate, sign, file, and manage contractual agreements so that dealmakers can eliminate risk and spend more time closing.
ParkNav is a technology that helps drivers reduce the time they spend searching for available street parking. The technology is predictive and uses big data, crowdsourcing, and machine learning to help drivers save 50 percent of their search time and reduce pollution in our cities.
1871 is the home of more than 325 early-stage, high-growth digital startups. Located in The Merchandise Mart, this 75,000 square foot facility is also the headquarters of nationally recognized accelerators, Techstars Chicago and Impact Engine; half a dozen industry-specific incubators in key areas such as real estate, education technology, food and financial technology; several emerging tech talent schools (The Starter League, CodeFellows, Flatiron, The Fullbridge Program, Designation, and the Startup Institute), and the state's leading technology advocate, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. It is the second home to Chicago-based VCs, Pritzker Group, MATH Ventures, Hyde Park Angels, OCA Ventures, OurCrowd and Chicago Ventures, as well as satellite offices for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola University, Illinois Institute of Technology, and DeVry. 1871 has fast become recognized as the hub for the city’s entrepreneurial/technology ecosystem and has been featured in TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business among other top media. 1871 is the flagship project of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center.
About Microsoft Ventures
Microsoft Ventures is a global initiative to help entrepreneurs build great companies. We work with startups at every stage of maturity to provide the tools, resources, and expertise they need to succeed. The initiative is broad-based, and includes a community program, accelerators, and a seed fund. Our approach helps startups scale their business, bring innovative services to market and reach new customers.
9 Reasons Silicon Valley Should Move to Chicago
Are you tired of living in Silicon Valley's tech bubble? Do you want to be part of a growing startup-friendly tech hub? Come to Chicago! Here are nine more reasons to make the move:
: Chicago has water. Lots of water. Take lots of guilt-free long hot showers. Spring through fall, sail on the great lake Michigan. Join the famous . Watch the annual .
: Chicago has an international airport with direct nonstop flights to major cities and world capitals including New York, London, Washington, San Francisco, Amman (Jordan), Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing, Shanghai, Doha (Qatar), Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Delhi, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
: Chicago has a great nightlife with . Restaurants aren't crowded; you can get a table at the best restaurants in town without much fuss. In fact, you'll get a seat almost any time of day. Last Wednesday, I breakfasted at the Michigan Avenue Le Pain Quotidien at 7:40 a.m. In New York, the place would be packed at that hour, but in Chicago, I had the place to myself. Carlos, the friendly server, and Devon, the cheerful cashier, would love to see you! In the summer, dine al fresco at one of Chicago's many outdoor garden or lakefront restaurants.
: Chicago has abundant affordable luxury apartments and homes with lots of space and stellar views. Yes, Chicago has lagged the rest of the country in housing cost rises, but that is an opportunity for you. You can buy a tiny condo in Silicon Valley or a penthouse in Chicago. Even if you don't move to Chicago, buy one anyway. You can't beat the space, the views, and the amenities.
Chicago has the best equipped gyms in the world from the matchless East Bank Club, to the Soho House, to Gold's Gyms and . Enjoy miles of lakefront bike trails. Chicago loves fitness.
: Chicago has state of the art server centers and data farms. Chicago is already a , third in the USA, and is expanding fiber optic space. Chicago is home to the . If you move, you will be in the company of .
: Chicago has great office space available with famous architecture.
: Chicago has lots of attractions: , theater, indoor and outdoor symphonies, and a Chicago Council on Global Affairs that is better than New York's since you can get a seat near world-class speakers. Most Chicagoans are friendly polite people (city crime aside and besides, ), because if we weren't, in the winter, there would be no reason to go on living... other than , snowboarding and city-wide . When you're done, go to a for a hot chocolate or a hot toddy.
: Illinois economy isn't in great shape, but it isn't much worse off than California, and the state of Illinois is already and . (h/t Illinois and Chicago want your tax revenues. Move to Chicago, create jobs, and negotiate a tax deal for the day your business takes off.
LINKS TO RELATED SITES
- G2T3V, LLC Site
- G2T3V, LLC Email
- G2T3V, LLC Facebook Page
- My Personal Website
- My Personal Website - 2
- My Facebook Page
- My Twitter Page
- My LinkedIn Page
- My GOOGLE+ Page
- My INC. Blog Posts
- My Built in Chicago Blog Posts
- My KLOUT Page
- My KRED Page
- My Channel on YOUTUBE
- My Videos on VIMEO
- My Boards on Pinterest
- My DITLO post
- My ABOUT.ME page
- HYDR>BOX Demo Site
LINKS TO RELATED BUSINESSES
- Coffee for Alderman Michelle Smith
- Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and Junior Klezmer Orc...
- 1871 Member Company Rippleshot wins 2015 MET Most ...
- How Chicago's Popular Pays Made the Most of Y Comb...
- Huff Po - How Chicago Edtech Companies Are Rising ...
- 1871 AND MICROSOFT VENTURES ANNOUNCE THE PARTICIPA...
- 1871 CEO Howard Tullman Keynotes Legal Aid Gala
- I Voted Early
- 9 Reasons Silicon Valley Should Move to Chicago
- New INC. Magazine Blog Post by 1871 CEO Howard Tul...
- Welcome 2015 Pipeline National Mentors
- The Technologist’s Case for Rahm: A View from the ...
- New Motorola Demo Station in Motorola Tinker Space...
- Center for Technology & Civic Life at 1871 Through...
- How Chicago edtech companies are rising to the hea...
- Chicago needs an entrepremayor
- New Book - The Creator's Code by Amy Wilkinson
- Howard Tullman's heavily caffeinated life
- 1871 CEO HOWARD TULLMAN AT GOOD FOOD CONFERENCE
- 1871 CEO HOWARD TULLMAN IN NEW CITY DESIGN 50: WHO...
- 1871 FOUNDER JB PRITZKER AND CEO HOWARD TULLMAN SP...
- 1871 CEO HOWARD TULLMAN WELCOMES BUSINESS ROCKSTAR...
- 1871 CEO HOWARD TULLMAN APPEARS ON TASTY TRADE - W...
- Durbin proposes American Innovation Act to fund sc...
- New Inc Magazine Blog Post by 1871 CEO Howard Tull...
- Forbes Summit emphasizes connectivity, Midwest com...
- Never before...
- TEDx River North at 1871
- FLASHPOINT @ GEORGIA TECH - 1871 CHICAGO DEMO DAY
- 1871 welcomes Mayor Stephen Roth of Lucerne, Switz...
- 1871 Co-working space gets new Steelcase upgrade i...
- 1871 welcomes congresswoman robin kelly
- 1871 welcomes senator mark kirk to the bunker for ...
- Can Chicago's Tech Community Carry Rahm Emanuel To...
- 'It's Not About Snacks And Scooters': How To Win T...
- Chicago comes up short in funding startups
- Reinventing America, The Forbes Summit in Chicago ...
- Follett Leads $3.2M Series A Investment in ThinkCE...
- EARLY ELECTION VOTING BEGINS MARCH 23
- Richard Branson: I would have started my businesse...
- The victims of open offices are pushing back
- Tribune Media and NBC Universal Organize a Chicago...
- Should you enroll in a coding boot camp?
- Chicago Tops Country for Company Expansions & Relo...
- NEW INC BLOG POST BY 1871 CEO HOWARD TULLMAN
- 1871’s Howard Tullman Developing Diversity
- Shinola's Detroit story a successful sell
- Yelp opens in Merchandise Mart; office is its firs...
- A Focus On The Company Not The Investment Fred Wi...
- AMPY featured on CBS News
- 1871 and hyde park angels host panel on fundraisin...
- Kids’ coding academies aim to bridge ‘skills gap -...
- Why Chicago May be the Strongest Tech Hub in the U...
- Art Survey
- HOWARD TULLMAN CEO, 1871
- Designer Bootcamp DESIGNATION Partners With 1871 t...
- Travel startup Options Away lands $3.5 million
- 1871 CEO HOWARD TULLMAN SPEAKING AT ISRAEL DEALMAK...
- Code Fellows developer school, based in Seattle, t...
- Chicago’s Innovation Ecosystem
- 1871 CEO, Entrepreneur Howard Tullman Named Recipi...
- Seattle-Based Code Fellows Brings its Digital Trad...
- ADL Cyberhate Panel at 1871 MODERATED BY 1871 CEO...
- New Inc. Blog Post by 1871 CEO Howard Tullman : Th...
- 1871, advocacy group tout crowdfunding bill as goo...
- Sharpening Our Understanding of How to Shape Our E...
- ▼ March (70)
- ► 2014 (868)
- ► 2013 (528)
- ► 2012 (418)
- ► 2011 (389)
- ► 2010 (416)
- ► 2009 (484)
- ► 2008 (573)
- ► 2007 (495)
- ► 2006 (49)