Archive for 2012

Chicago Sun-Times: Groupon founder says Chicago now growing entrepreneurs

Groupon Chief Executive Officer Andrew Mason shared the “bittersweet” emotion of seeing some engineers leave the daily deals company, but applauded the fact it shows Chicago now develops and sends entrepreneurs to Silicon Valley to start their own companies.

Mason addressed an audience of 1,500 at the 11th annual Chicago Innovation Awards celebration at the Harris Theater Monday night.

“Groupon could never have existed if not for Chicago entrepreneurs,” Mason said, citing his own unnamed mentors, backers and “people who figured out how to unlock growth.”

Mason also gave credit to the Chicago Innovation Awards for putting Groupon on the map by choosing the company as a 2009 award recipient.

Crain’s: 1871, Belly, Food Genius among Up and Comer honorees

The companies that received “Up-and-Comer” awards at the 11th annual Chicago Innovation Awards last night range from software firms that already have hundreds of thousands of users to hard-science companies still hoping to move their technology from the laboratory to the marketplace.


The nine winners were selected from among 180 candidates, which “shows how Chicago is thriving across its entrepreneurial landscape,” according to Tom Kuczmarski, founder and co-chair of the Chicago Innovation Awards.


For the winners, the awards mean affirmation as well greater visibility. That, in turn, can lead to partnerships, investment and other opportunities.


“This validates that we’re on the right track and also gives us a forum to collaborate with like-minded individuals and companies,” says Paul Fehrenbacher, co-founder of BriteSeed, one of the Up-and-Comer award recipients.

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Crain’s: BrightTag, Catamaran, Coyote Logistics among winners of Chicago Innovation Awards

Companies who are remaking everything from lighting to hospital masks were named winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards on Monday night at the Harris Theater.


Chicago-based BrightTag, which makes software to manage website advertising, won for its technology that connect websites to digital marketing and analytics services.


Lisle-based Catamaran Corp., the world’s fourth-largest pharmacy benefits manager, won for innovation that allows pharmacy claims to be processed at the point of sale.


Lake Zurich-based Champion Medical Technologies, a medical information-technology company, won for RecallConnect technology that allows hospitals to automatically match patients and medical devices that have been recalled.


Chicago-based Coyote Logistics, a shipping firm, was singled out for its innovative business model that helps eliminate empty miles when trucks are traveling without a load.


Mount Prospect-based Cummins Allison, which makes currency-handling equipment for banks, won for a new smaller, cheaper machine that can count currency and scan checks.


Chicago-based electrical components maker Littelfuse won for a circuit protector used in outdoor LED lighting and solar power applications.


Medline Industries, a Mundelein-based medical supplier, won for its BioMask, a mask that kills germs.


Chicago-based OptionsCity Software won for its Freeway software, an algorithmic trading platform for independent traders.


Naperville-based Polybrite International, an LED lighting maker, won for its Borealis LED light bulb, which uses 90 percent less energy than traditional bulbs.


Chicago-based SMS Assist, which provides facilities maintenance services to companies with multiple sites, won for its web-based product that allows real-time vendor management.

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Chicago Sun-Times: The 2012 Chicago Innovation Award winners

Though the still-evolving Silicon Prairie’s top claim to technology fame is daily-deal site Groupon, this year’s Chicago Innovation Award winners boast creative solutions ranging from feeding needy children to warding off the flu virus.

The winners announced Monday night range from the nation’s largest food-donation charity to a fourth-generation family-owned medical products company.

The 11th annual Chicago Innovation Awards drew 410 nominations this year — about the same as last year’s competition — and the 75 preliminary finalists were feted Sept. 5 by 800 celebrants at the House of Blues.

NBC: The 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards and Takeaways

It was a night of glitz, a night of glamor and a night where the word “innovation” was said an innovative amount of times very innovatively about some of Chicago’s most innovative innovating companies who innovative. Show Co-Founders/Co-Chairs Dan Miller and Tom Kuczmarski got things rolling with and honest-to-God performance with the FootworKINGZ, the dance troupe Madonna recently tapped to tour with her, and then donned their tuxes to helm the stage and dispense the awards.

Among those honored were New Futuro, “an Hispanic education community helping families get their students into college and beyond,” which Miller pointed out is one of the many companies forming a rising tide of Hispanic or Latino companies in this city. (It’s true, and something I talked about not long ago with Pizza Patrón’s brand director about the Hispanic pizza market in Chicago and why his company is trying to penetrate it.) New Futuro snagged the People’s Choice Award, which was selected via an online vote.

ABC: Mayor Rahm Emanuel honored for new innovations in Chicago

October 22, 2012 (CHICAGO) (WLS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel was honored Monday night for his vision of the future of Chicago.

The mayor was given the visionary award at the 11th annual Chicago Innovation Awards at the Harris Theater on east Randolph. The awards celebrate the creative spirit across Chicagoland.

The mayor was recognized for developing new innovations for Chicago’s airports, infrastructure, mass transit, and adding more protective bike lanes.

City of Chicago: Mayor Emanuel Wins Visionary Award From Chicago Innovation Awards

Mayor Emanuel Monday night was awarded the Visionary Award from the Chicago Innovation Awards at the 11th annual celebration of innovation in the city. He was the first ever public official to receive that honor.

“Fostering innovation in Chicago is a central focus of my work as Mayor,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I’ll continue to seek creative ways to spur economic opportunity in the city of Chicago in key areas, and I look forward to working with the entire business community to accomplish this goal.”

There were nearly 400 nominations for the Chicago Innovation Awards this year, with over 1,200 of Chicago’s leading business, civic and nonprofit innovators, start-up entrepreneurs, investors and others attending the event at Chicago’s Harris Theater. The Innovation Awards ceremony at the Harris Theater is the culmination of a process that begins each spring with a call for nominations.  The awards process included an event at which all nominees were honored at the House of Blues for their commitment to innovation, and a day-long executive education program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

As part of winning the Chicago Innovation Awards, all of this year’s winners are invited to ring the NASDAQ bell in New York City on February 25.  “This is one way of carrying the message of Chicago innovation to other parts of the nation,” said Luke Tanen, Executive Director of the Awards.

“Chicago has become a hotbed for entrepreneurs and a global center for innovation. In technology, health care, and other areas, our city flows with opportunity and economic growth,” said Ald. Tom Tunney, Chair of the City Council committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development. “The Chicago Innovation Awards are a way to celebrate the tremendous energy in Chicago and I commend the Mayor on receiving this year’s Visionary Award.”

Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management: Kellogg, Northwestern teams shine at 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards

10/26/2012 – Four organizations with roots at Northwestern University were honored Monday at the 2012 Chicago Innovation Awards at Chicago’s Harris Theater.

The innovations recognized include an innovative currency and check scanner, a new HIV test for infants in developing countries, high-performance materials that store gases, and a safety tool that prevents bleeding during surgery.

The Chicago Innovation Awards each year recognizes the most innovative new products or services brought to market or to public service in the Chicago region.

One of this year’s award recipients was Cummins Allison, which was recognized for a new currency and check scanner that can image and process both cash and checks. The scanner has important implications for financial institutions, retailers and casinos, Cummins Allison is led by a Kellogg alum, Chairman and CEO William Jones ’81.

Technori: Chicago Innovation Awards: Celebrating the City’s Innovators for 11 Years

The evening started off loud – and by that, I’m referring to the line of picketers outside Harris Theatre waiting for Governor Quinn to arrive. But, beyond the sea of green and white picket signs, Chicago Innovation Awards guests were welcomed with a smile. And so began one of the biggest nights of the year for Chicago’s “high tech, low tech, no tech” and innovation community. Around 1,500 people attended the annual event yesterday evening, starting with an hour-and-a-half-long cocktail reception in the neon lit hallways of the venue. There were several packed floors full of guests chasing the less-than-flattering lighting down with glasses of wine and bottles of Vitamin Water.

The event began promptly at 7 p.m. with a quick welcome from Luke Tanen, Director of Chicago Innovation Awards, who introduced Co-Founders Tom Kuczmarski and Dan Miller. Perhaps one of the highlights of the evening (at least for me) was watching Kuczmarski and Miller attempt a dance routine with Chicago’s FootworKINGz, an impressive footwork dance crew who starred on America’s Got Talent and toured with Madonna. There is nothing better than humble co-founders who aren’t afraid to get out of their comfort zones, even for the sake of entertainment.

After the opening dance routine, guests listened to speeches from Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn, who both talked about some of their major business-related political accomplishments, including a reduction in the number of required licenses that Chicago-based businesses are required to have. The idea: that the city of Chicago is breaking down barriers to entry, encouraging more businesses to start and flourish here.

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