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Introducing the 2017 Tech Madness Finalists

On Wednesday, March 8th, we’ll be debuting the official 2017 Tech Madness Bracket at our Reveal Party at the Chicago Sports Museum.

I know it’s been a long year since the 2016 bracket, so let’s start off with a quick refresher, shall we?

Tech Madness is our annual, friendly competition to see who the community thinks will be the most valuable tech company in five years. Basically, it’s March Madness for Chicago Tech – we seed 64 local businesses/startups and put them head-to-head, with reader voting determining who moves on to the next matchup. The bracket is designed and structured to do one main thing – to generate excitement and awareness for city’s innovation economy. And it works. The 2015 and 2016 brackets  generated a combined 85,000 votes. So, let’s bring it back.

Though we’re still more than a month out from the Reveal, we wanted to get ahead of the ONE question that comes up the most during Tech Madness – “how do you assemble the bracket?” So, today, we’re going to take you inside the bracket factory and show you how the sausage is made.

First, we take a look at the whole field. For the past month-and-a-half, we’ve asked you to fill out a short form telling us who you think NEEDS to be in the bracket and why, resulting in hundreds of terrific nominations from the community. We then added another 50+ names to that list based on our own reporting and research, as well as from expert suggestions and input.

We then took that list and whittled it down to around 150. (The complete list of Bracket finalists are below).

The goal is to have the finalist list represent a complete collection of Chicago startups and tech companies, from seed to Series E (as well as a handful of bootstrapped businesses and public pillars) that, once refined to 64, will make up the 2017 bracket.

While putting together the bracket, we’re looking for a group that embodies the range of Chicago tech, in both industry and stage. So, no, the bracket will not just be a list of the 64 companies that have raised the most money, hired the most people, or generated the most revenue. (Sure, a lot of them will be there). But the bracket will also have a handful of companies that we think could get there in five, ten, fifteen years. When assembling the bracket, we’re looking for a balance of promise and proven promise, as well as everything in between.

For the next month, we’ll be seeding the 64. Seeding, like last year, is based almost entirely on funding, although variables such as headcount and growth will be factored in a bit, too. (This way, we’ll be able to seed bootstrapped companies that are crushing it appropriately). Also, for public and acquired companies, we’ll be seeding them by market cap or acquisition price.

Once again, seeding is not an editorial statement on how we feel about a company. The bracket only works if companies are seeded 1 through 16. And  venture capital is the most accessible, universal metric to use for categorization. It’s also important to note that, outside of the physical placement on the bracket, seeding doesn’t matter. (In our first two years, the Final Fours have consisted of tw0 #13’s, an #11, a #10, an #8, a #7, a #2, and #1.

Basically, we’re looking for you to tell us, out of the 64 vetted, qualified contenders, who’s going to have the greatest impact in 5 years.

So, without giving away the WHOLE recipe, that’s how the 2017 Tech Madness Bracket will be put together. And, without further ado, here’s the pool that we’ll be pulling from, full with names you’ll probably know and names you won’t. (Note: Because Chicago tech moves so fast, we may be adding a few names to the list over the next few weeks).

The Finalists for the 2017 Tech Madness Bracket:

  • 4C Insights
  • 5thColumn
  • ActiveCampaign
  • Agrible
  • alligatortek
  • AptAmigo
  • Avionos
  • BallotReady
  • BenefitsExpress
  • Blitsy
  • Block Six Analytics
  • Bloq
  • bswift
  • Bucketfeet
  • Builtworlds
  • Caremerge
  • Cars.com
  • Cast21
  • Catalytic
  • Chowly
  • CityBase
  • Civis Analytics
  • cleverbridge
  • Clique Studios, Clique Ventures, Clique University
  • CloudCraze
  • Codal
  • ConceptDrop
  • Crafty
  • CSW Solutions
  • Cubii
  • Curiosity
  • DevMynd
  • DialogTech
  • Drivin
  • Earshot
  • EatPakd
  • EatPurely
  • Endotronix
  • Enodo Score
  • Enova
  • Everspring
  • Figo Pet Insurance
  • FlashFrame
  • Flexera Software
  • Fluxee
  • Fooda
  • FourKites
  • G2 Crowd
  • GetSet
  • Giftfluence
  • GoHealth
  • Grid Connect
  • Groupon
  • Grubhub
  • Guaranteed Rate
  • GX Ventures
  • HangarA
  • Happenstance
  • Healthbox
  • Hearken
  • HighGround
  • Higi
  • Hireolgy
  • Hologram
  • Home Chef
  • Hooks
  • i.c.stars
  • InContext Solutions
  • Insureon
  • ItemMaster
  • Jellyvision
  • Jiobit
  • Kapow
  • Kenna Security
  • KeyMe
  • Kitchfix
  • KnowledgeHound
  • ktMINE
  • Label Insight
  • Livongo Health
  • LogicGate
  • Looplio
  • Luna Lights
  • Luxury Garage Sale
  • M1 Finance
  • Mac and Mia
  • Machinio
  • Maestro Health
  • Mediafly
  • Monument
  • mRelief
  • Narrative Science
  • Networked Insights
  • Nextme
  • NuCurrent
  • Occasion
  • OfficeLuv
  • OlayIT Health
  • Opternative
  • Outcome Health
  • Page Vault
  • ParkWhiz
  • Paro
  • ParqEx
  • PowerReviews
  • PrintWithMe
  • Procured Health
  • Productive Edge
  • project44
  • Raise
  • Realync
  • Reconstruct
  • RedShelf
  • RedWave Energy
  • Regroup Therapy
  • Remote Year
  • RepIQ
  • Reverb.com
  • ReviewTrackers
  • Rise Interactive
  • SAP Fieldglass
  • Sapphire Apps
  • Satira
  • Semantify
  • Shiftgig
  • Shipbob
  • Signal
  • SMS Assist
  • Snapsheet
  • Sorc’d
  • SpotHero
  • Spring Rewards
  • SpringCM
  • Sprout Social
  • STATS
  • StickOutSocial
  • Supernova
  • Swap.com
  • SwervePay
  • Synap
  • Tanvas
  • Tempus
  • Timshel
  • Tiz
  • Tock
  • Tovala
  • TrackNProtect
  • TransparentCareer
  • TravelZap
  • Trunk Club
  • TurboAppeal
  • Upright Law
  • Uptake
  • UrbanBound
  • Veriflow
  • Vibes
  • Victory Lap
  • VisaNow
  • VividSeats
  • Wellpring
  • WotNow
  • Wyzant
  • YCharts
  • Yello
  • Zebra Technologies
  • Zoku Vault
  • Zylo

Early Bird tickets are on sale until 2/10! Be sure to snag this deal before prices jump.

Read more at ChicagoInno