Six ‘1871’ Startups Raise $8.3M in Last Quarter; Visit City Hall

Founders of six fast-growing startups which got their start at co-working space, 1871 — Caremerge, MarkITx, RocketMiles, SimpleRelevance, Tempesta Media, and — are advancing to the next stage of growth.

Already, half of the group has outgrown the cozy nest on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart, flown the coop, and moved into their own office spaces.

In the last three months the six companies, collectively, raised $8.3 million — adding to the $30 million already raised by 1871 member companies within the first year that the co-working space has been open.

At a City Hall lunch meeting, James O’Connor, interim CEO of 1871 and the Chicago Entrepreneurial Center (CEC), facilitated discussions on possible next steps for the six startups. Mayor Rahm Emanuel emphasized the importance of sharing the founders’ past experiences with the 26 new companies that, last week, moved into the space.

“Capital investments like these in Chicago’s growing companies are solid proof that what is happening at 1871 will have a lasting and substantial effect on Chicago’s economy,” says Mayor Emanuel. “These companies are creating jobs and the technologies they are developing will shape the future of the city’s economic landscape.”

Where they got their capital:

  • Caremerge – ($2.1M from European lead investor Entrepreneur Grazyna Kulczyk of Poland and Athena Heritage, a Switzerland based Financial Management Company) offers a complete set of mobile and web solutions revolutionizing communication and care coordination for senior care providers. The solutions help reduce healthcare costs in providing care to the elderly.
  • MarkITx – ($2.1M from inside angel investors) is the premier online marketplace for buyers, sellers, and wholesalers of secondary IT equipment. One of the first 15 companies to join 1871, MarkITx has become a recent 1871 alumni company who now resides at 1 W. Wacker.
  • RocketMiles – ($2.0M from Cambridge, MA based venture funds Atlas Venture, Link Ventures LLLP along with Chicago Angel investors), allows travelers to fund their next vacation with thousands of frequent flier miles when booking rooms at premium hotels.
  • SimpleRelevance – ($750K in series A led by Hyde Park Angels and Hyde Park Venture Partners (HPVP) with participation from Chicago Ventures fund, New World Ventures and angel investors), is the only marketing optimization platform that works with a company’s existing tools and workflow to make their email smarter. SimpleRelevance was recently one of 10 companies accepted into the TechStars Chicago accelerator program out of more than 900 applicants.
  • Tempesta Media ($225K from prominent Chicago angel investors) is a managed services provider for digital content for businesses. Tempesta Media is a recent 1871 alumni company.
  • ($1.3M led by Origin Ventures with participation from OCA Ventures, Amicus Capital and other strategic angel investors) formerly MyServista, helps you find what you need near you with a comprehensive list and price menu of neighborhood services: beauty, fitness, auto, home, pet and much more. Whittl is a recent alumni company of 1871.

Founders of the six companies requested assistance, from government officials, with introductions to Fortune 500 companies and local small businesses, to help forge corporate partnerships and gain new customers. ❒

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