Companies that are tackling everything from the Zika virus and glutens to the hassles of shopping for musical equipment, restaurant reservations and parking all shared the spotlight tonight at the Chicago Innovation Awards. Since this is Chicago, a building can be an innovator, too.
The awards, now in their 16th year, highlight inventions from startups and household names alike. Winners, chosen from more than 500 entries and 100 finalists, included:
• Narrative Science, whose software translates data into language that’s more easily understood by people.
• Livongo, a health-tech company whose blood-glucose monitor makes it easier for patients to manage diabetes.
• Reverb.com, an online market for buying musical equipment.
• Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, the new rehabilitation research center at Northwestern University.
• Fooda, a startup that found a way to bring restaurants to buildings and businesses with limited restaurant options nearby.
• The new office tower at 150 N. Riverside that defied convention with a unique design.
• Abbott, which developed a new baby formula with a prebiotic previously found only in breast milk.
• Valent BioSciences developed an insecticide that targets mosquito larvae and helps combat the Zika virus.
• SpotHero‘s on-demand parking app.
• Simple Mills, which developed crackers with no grain, gluten, soy, dairy, GMOs or artificial flavors or fillers.
Chicago Innovation also highlighted up-and-comers:
BallotReady, a digital-voter guide; Tock, restaurant-booking software; Tovala, a food appliance and meal service; the Lisa App, a marketplace for personal services; Chowly, restaurant-ordering software; PhysIQ, IoT software for health care; NowPow, software that matches patients with health care resources; Georama, mobile live-streaming software; ExplORer Surgical, which makes software for operating rooms; and Pearachute, an online market for kids activities.
Three groups also won Chicago Neighborhood Awards:
The Wings Program for domestic violence survivors; Oak Street Health, a network of clinics; and Boombox, which turns shipping containers into pop-up storefronts.
Regroup Therapy, a telehealth provider for mental health services, won the social innovator award.
Benefit Chicago, a $100 million social-impact investment fund launched by MacArthur Foundation, Chicago Community Trust and Calvert Foundation, received the collaboration award.
Among those on stage at the Harris Theater as presenters and emcees: Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, 1871 CEO Howard Tullman, Uptake CEO Brad Keywell, Dough CEO Kristi Ross, Executives’ Club of Chicago CEO Ana Dutra and Tom Kuczmarski and Luke Tanen of Chicago Innovation.
Originally featured in Crain’s Chicago.