The Great Chicago (e-Commerce) Fire

Sure, Silicon Valley gets lots of press for their tech startups, but there is a quiet giant that is producing some of the most innovative companies in the country. Chicago, Illinois is one of the world's great cities and has been a financial center for over 100 years. Now, rising technology start-ups are breathing a powerful new wind into the Windy City. Chicago's 1871 incubator is one of the major reasons. Backed by most of the most important tech corporations in the world, 1871 is one of the largest incubators in the world. Many of its graduates have gone on to be significant players in technology and lifestyle.  

Here are few of the eCommerce companies that we think everyone needs to watch:

Raise is a gift card exchange that allows users to either buy or sell. In early 2015, Raise gathered over $56 million in investment funds. The company has shown double digit growth month over month for the 24 or so months that is has been available.  

Abes Market is an online health store providing non-toxic consumer alternatives, including food, home care, health, nutrition, cosmetics and more. Abes was able to gather $5 million in 2012, $10 million in 2013 and continues to raise investment capital. The company is expected to grow and provide the whole country with healthy products via FedEx or UPS.  

Fooda. One of the largest of its kind, com is an office lunch delivery service that has experienced massive growth and continues to get significant attention from media and press. They started in Chicago, but are now in New York and several other cities. The paradigm is so simple. In fact, it is a rebirth of an old idea that is returning to the daily workplace.   

Blitsy is the Hobby Lobby of the online world. Founded by a former Michael's executive and CEO of ScrapHD, Ross Petersen was able to raise $3.6 million in his second round of funding. His first round was $1 million. The company was able to create 7 figures in revenues in the less than 12 months. The company began to turn profits very quickly.  

InteriorDefine is set to disrupt the furniture industry. The company allows users to design and purchase customized sofas. With a myriad of style and fabrics, InteriorDefine makes it easy to create furniture that truly fits a home or office d'cor. Founded by Rob Royer, the company was able to raise over $3 million, including some from Bonobos CEO, Andy Dunn, Royer's brother-in-law.  

There are hundreds of startups in the Chicago area that are primed to take over the world. Collectively, they are turning the Windy City into a technology hub that will rival Chicago's meat processing heyday of the late 1800's.

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