3 Chicago Startups Raised A Total Of $71M Today

Karis: Apparently Chicago startups are into this whole venture capital thing. Three startups announced higher-than-usual funding rounds today.

Let’s start with the biggest. Jim, what’s Fusion Risk Management going to do with an extra $41M in its pocket?

Jim: Fusion, which announced a $41M round today, helps large companies plan for and respond to emergencies through a software platform that creates plans for companies to follow when disaster strikes. This funding round, led by New York-based Catalyst Investors and existing investor Level Equity, will go toward product development, customer service, sales and marketing.

Founded in 2006, the Rolling Meadows-based company has raised over $50M to date. The company counts around 160 Fortune 500 companies among its clients, including Walgreens and TransUnion, according to Crain’s. The company has also grown quickly in recent years, having gone from 18 employees to more than 70 in two and a half years. [More here]

Karis: Next: ShipBob. The startup, which helps e-commerce companies handle shipping and logistics, announced it raised a $17.5M Series B round led by Bain Capital Ventures, with participation from Hyde Park Venture PartnersFundersClubHyde Park Angels and FJ Labs LLC. Since launching in 2014, ShipBob says it has shipped more than 2M packages, and its business is growing 500 percent year over year. [More here]

Finally, Snapsheet. The Chicago insurance tech startup that helps people virtually file insurance claims, just raised $12M. The Series D round, led by Tola Capital, brings the 7-year-old startup’s total funding to over $43M (the startup raised $20M just last year). Snapsheet will use the additional funds to improve on their tech using artificial intelligence and machine learning. [More here]

In Chicago, I’m used to seeing smaller rounds for startups just getting off the ground, so it’s pretty exciting to see three mainstay startups not only stick around, but get the capital they need to keep growing.

Karis: Los Angeles-based on-demand self-storage company Clutter announced their expansion to the Chicago market today. Based off an online platform, their movers will pack, pick up, store and retrieve any physical goods. The startup just raised a $64M Series C round.

Jim: Chicago-based SAVO Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions, announced it has acquired North Carolina-based startup KnowledgeTree. SAVO also announced it will be moving into a new 27K square foot office in the Merchandise Mart.

Today, be sure to swing by 1871 for WiSTEM‘s showcase where their latest cohort of women-led ventures will pitch to the audience. Get the details for that event and more on our June Chicago Inno Approved.

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Snapsheet founder Brad Weisberg on why they raised a Series D (even though they didn’t have to):

“Given this momentum, and the fact that we raised a Series C round of financing at the end of 2016, I was not looking to raise additional capital anytime soon. However, when I was approached by Sheila Gulati and the team at Tola Capital, I became convinced that partnering with the firm was an opportunity to accelerate our pace in a couple of strategic areas.”


Karis: Along with Snapsheet‘s $12M raise, the startup announced that Tola Capital managing director and former Microsoft manager Sheila Gulati will join the startup’s board of directors.

Karis: The saga of Uber continued today with the company announcing Travis Kalanick will go on a leave of absence. Well that sounds like a move in the right direction! Maybe Uber has finally learned its less–

Jim: Hey maybe forcing physical contact on your employees isn’t the best idea right now??

Karis: NeoCon, the massive design conference, has descended upon Merchandise Mart this week. Amongst the endless furniture exhibits, it seems there’s an interesting conversation popping up about how to design an office that promotes quiet. Chicago design firm MNML, for example, debuted a three product line titled “F*ck this Noise,” and each piece is designed to filter outside noise, muffle extraneous acoustics, and create a sense of constructed calm. “Work hard in silence and let success be the noise,” the firm says.

The conversation around the finding a bit of quiet in the workplace extends beyond the design world. The Wall Street Journal recently ran a piece about CEOs that have gone back to a private office in order to be productive. Are we swinging away from the pro-chatter, collision-style open office space culture that has been a hallmark of tech company offices to date?

Jim: Another thought: Will this trend ever take off in the home? Watch any show on HGTV right now and you’ll hear the term “open concept” no less than 100 times. Will we ever get to a point where home design ditches open living spaces for more walls and rooms?

From Jim’s story on ShipBob‘s $17.5M raise:

“We are raising the bar for what best-in-class service means in the shipping and logistics space. We will continue to innovate and expand to serve e-commerce businesses across the country.”


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