Get ready, folks. We’re only three weeks out from our annual Tech Madness bracket reveal event. Each year, the Chicago Inno team hosts a reader-driven bracket competition in the spirit of March Madness to drive awareness and excitement for Chicago’s startup ecosystem.
On March 7, we’ll unveil the official 2018 Tech Madness bracket at our reveal party at the Chicago Sports Museum. Below are 60 of the 64 teams that will be on the bracket, and at the event on March 7 you’ll see where each company is seeded on the bracket, as well as see the last four teams that made the field of 64.
Over the past few weeks, we asked our readers to submit nominations for consideration in this year’s bracket. Throughout the competition, companies will go head-to-head with you, our readers, voting to determine who will move on to the next matchup.
Chicago Inno has been running this competition for a few years now, with last year’s bracket receiving a whopping 60,000 votes. So, this year, we’ve decided to shake things up a bit. In the past, we’ve selected 150 finalists — both private and public companies — and revealed who made the bracket at our event. This year, we’ve changed the program a bit. The 60 companies below are on our bracket, and we only selected private venture-backed or bootstrapped companies for this year’s list. At our reveal party, we’ll announce the seedings and matchups for round one.
Today, we’re announcing just 60 finalists. Four spots have been left open to give those who didn’t make the list another shot at competing. At our reveal party on March 7, companies will have an opportunity to pitch us, and the editorial team at the event will determine who will receive the last four spots.
Just like last year, we’ll will seed companies on the bracket based on venture capital funding and other growth metrics for the bootstrapped companies listed. And an important note: Seeding isn’t an editorial judgment. We rely on funding because, well, that’s the most accessible and universal metric out there.
Finally, to determine the outcome for each matchup this year, readers will have to answer one question: Who would you invest in? And we know that this can be interpreted in several different ways. Is this about who you think is a safer bet? Or who you could deliver a higher return? Or is it about investing social capital and determining the product and mission that you’re most passionate about? The answer is yes to all. However you want to interpret that question is the right way.
So here it is, your 2018 Tech Madness Finalists List, in alphabetical order. See you on March 7!
Figo Pet Insurance
Luxury Garage Sale
Pangea Money Transfer
Didn’t make the final list? Don’t worry, you still have a shot at being on this year’s bracket! Attend our Tech Madness bracket reveal party and tell us why your company deserves to be on the bracket for a chance to be selected for our four open spots. We will make the announcement of those four open spots at the event.
Bonus! We’re opening round one of voting at this year’s Tech Madness Bracket Reveal Party where 1 vote will count as 10 votes. Don’t miss out on getting the upper hand by maximizing your vote at the TM Party.
Originally featured in Chicago Inno.