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7 Chicago Startups Making A Big Funding Splash in 2015

March 11, 2015 By admin

From vintage guitar peddlers to textbook debt saviors, some of Chicago’s most exciting startups have raised big funds in the first quarter of 2015. Let’s have a look at seven of the biggest rounds this year so far.



First external funding rounds are typically milestone moments for startups, even if it amounts to a few million or less. kCura, bootstrapped up until early February, isn’t typical – the legal e-discovery software developer (and Chicago Uncubed hiring company alum) raised a downright silly $125 million round from San Francisco investment firm Iconiq Capital.

Iris Mobile

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Iris Mobile is no dating app, but for brands and mobile users, it may as well be. Their targeted mobile marketing – or mobile matchmaking, as they call it – platform must be producing some happy and healthy unions. The Iris Mobile team raised $2.5 million in February, and will be hiring at Chicago Uncubed on April 10.



Samples haven’t completely taken over the music world just yet – not if Les Paul has anything to say about it. Chicago’s Reverb.com is proving there’s still a strong market for used, hand-made, vintage guitars and other instruments that you can’t just relegate to yesteryear. Apparently a group of investors agrees; Reverb.com raised $4.2 million just after the new year.


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If you’re a Wakefield reader (and if not, why not?), you might have read about Raise’s big raise a couple weeks ago. The gift card marketplace has provided a profitable paradise for opportunistic gift card recipients and deal seekers, and the company itself is seeing some big-time money of its own – a $56 million Series B round in January.

Options Away


Ever find a good deal on a flight, but wait a week to confirm travel plans only to return to find a deal that’s no longer “good” and newly “a ripoff”? Options Away allows prospective travelers to lock in flight deals and put them on hold until they’re ready to buy the tickets. A pattern we’ve noticed: save customers money, and investors will use theirs. Options Away raised $3.5 million early this month.



There may be no greater plague on the college wallet than textbooks (other than beer tabs, maybe). RedShelf’s mission is to make buying, selling, and delivering eTextbooks easier and more affordable. A group of investors must have some kids in college – RedShelf raised $2 million in January.

Public Good Software


Public Good Software is aiming to empower micro-philanthropists and veteran non-profit staffers. Their $1.6 million seed round is sure to help the Chicago-based company accomplish their goal.

There are plenty other rising Chicago startups to keep an eye on, many of which will be hiring at Chicago Uncubed on April 10, where you can meet 30 of the city’s most innovative startups.

View the full lineup and purchase tickets here.


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