Chicago and Illinois

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Research: State Funding Report for the Silicon Prairie

By Tom Chapman / September 16, 2019

2018 was a terrific year for the Silicon Prairie regarding venture dollars deployed.  More than $6.1B was deployed in the region.  While the number of companies receiving funds was about 8% lower (approximately 1450 companies were venture backed in the region), the amount of funding was up more than 34.5% from 2017 to 2018.  Thus,…

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Another Raise for Inprentus

By SPN Team / September 5, 2019

Inprentus, a Champaign, Illinois, company filed paperwork with the SEC on Friday that it had completed a raise of more than $1 million.  Inprentus makes blazed diffraction gratings used at synchrotrons and free electron laser facilities.  The company was created in 2012 by University of Illinois faculty member, Peter Abbemonte. Inprentus build diffraction gratings for…

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Meet a Venture Firm: Innova Memphis

By Tom Chapman / September 3, 2019

The Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV has invested in five of the Silicon Prairie’s leading startups.  However, its origin suggests just how unlikely this was. In 2007, Innova Memphis was founded by Ken Woody as part of the Memphis BioWorks Foundation.  This foundation was part of an effort in Memphis, Tennessee to jumpstart the region’s…

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FinTech Company, CardX Raises Round

By Tom Chapman / August 30, 2019

CardX, a Chicago-based FinTech company, disclosed Monday that the firm had raised $2 million from Pace Financial Group.  The company promises no fees on credit card transactions because of the company’s regulatory expertise. The company was founded by Jonathan Razi and Michael Tomko, both graduates of Harvard Law School.  These lawyers have created a service…

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SpotHero finds significant Series D funds

By Tom Chapman / August 23, 2019

Chicago-based SpotHero is a reservation service for parking spaces.  The company which is reported to have agreements in 300 cities has a primary focus on larger North American cities.  The company has agreements in place with over one thousand garages. The company was able to raise a $50 million Series D round from Macquarie Capital,…

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FanFood announces partnership with Samsung

By Justin Krug / August 14, 2019

Last week, SPN had the chance to speak with Carson Goodale, founder, and CEO of FanFood. FanFood was originally formed in Iowa but the company has since moved to Chicago to pursue their business. FanFood is a mobile ordering and concessions management platform designed to improve the fan experience while streamlining the concessions management and…

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First fundings research report

By Tom Chapman / August 2, 2019

In talking to Jessica Straus, Dundee Venture Capital’s new Venture Partner, it occurred to me that we should write an update on first fundings in what Straus called the “mighty middle”. This paper describes first fundings.  First fundings are a recordation of companies that raise capital for the first time.  This paper uses Pitchbook data…

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Cameo Secures Massive Series B Round

By Aidan Chapman / July 31, 2019

Cameo is a Chicago-based startup that makes it possible to buy personalized shout-outs from celebrities and influencers. In June 2019 they received $50 million in a round of series B funding led by American venture capitalist firm, Kleiner Perkins. After the injection of funds, the company has increased its valuation from $250 million to $300 million. …

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Reverb acquired by Etsy

By Justin Krug / July 29, 2019

Last Monday, Etsy announced its $275 million acquisition of Reverb. Reverb is a Chicago based music gear marketplace and community. According to Barron’s and Pitchbook, Etsy is not a frequent acquiring company. In fact, their most recent acquisition was Blackbird Technologies in 2016. However, the companies both cited the significant synergies that this transaction created…

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