Archive for March 2012
I profiled Meridix’s Tyler Feret in February as part of the “Innovators” series in Crain’s print edition. Here’s the article link.
Meridix is a web platform that enables sports broadcasters ranging from big-time networks to dad-with-iPhone operations to stream their broadcasts online. The concept resonates with me because I used to broadcast of Drake basketball games while in college. If Meridix helps avert situations like the one where our KDRK engineer got bored and left the studio—taking us off the air despite the fact we’d sent a three-man crew to Missouri for the MVC championship—well, I’m all in. Andy Olson and Jonathan Odell are nodding their heads right now.
Today’s Silicon City column features NuMat Technologies, a student-led company from Northwestern University that just won $110,000 in the Clean Energy Challenge, a competition sponsored by the Clean Energy Trust. This is hard-core tech, not software: the company’s work is geared toward allowing clients to employ porous nano-materials that enable more efficient storage of natural gas. NuMat hasn’t invented these Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs)—but their tech has made it much less expensive to customize MOFs for particular applications such as storage tanks for natural gas vehicles. The Q&A includes two of the four NuMat team members, CEO Ben Hernandez and CTO Chris Wilmer.
Here’s the article link.
Here are the rest of the Silicon City columns from March:
- 3/6/12: Chris Foufas, Squarz. Here’s the article link.
- 3/13/12: Chris Conn, MightyNest — different sort of tech than NuMat, but also an Evanston-based company. Here’s the article link.
- 3/20/12: Scotty Cadenhead and Malachi Leopold, Trep Life. The column broke the news about Trep Life’s partnership with Inc.com. Here’s the article link.
In addition, during March I wrote three other stories for Ann Dwyer’s entrepreneurship blog at Crain’s:
- 3/5/12: Announcing the launch of Catapult Chicago, a new office space for tech companies in a skyscraper at 321 N. Clark St. Here’s the article link.
- 3/6/12: On the relaunch/reboot of Josh Metnick’s Chicago.com. Here’s the article link.
- 3/15/12: A Q&A with Retrofit CEO Jeff Hyman after the data-driven weight-loss company raised $2 million. Here’s the article link.
I had fun with this story about the Illinois Math & Science Academy’s Power Pitch competition, which is sort of like Excelerate’s Demo Day, but for high school students. The catch is that when the high school is IMSA—the Aurora boarding school whose alumni include Excelerate co-founder Sam Yagan, in addition to co-founders of Yahoo, PayPal and YouTube—the competition attracts some serious attention.
So there was a panel of celebrity judges and plenty of media interest in the event last month. There was also a surprise ending, as non-IMSA teams led by Andrew Chen and eighth-grader Shivansh Padhy (the first-ever non-IMSA teams to participate in Power Pitch, no less) took second and third place.
Here’s the article link.
Here’s another catch-up post, this time on a collection of profiles I did for Crain’s on minorities in tech. They ran in the Focus section on November 28, 2011.
The section ran shortly after TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington declared there were few viable black entrepreneurs in tech. I’d say this section alone provided enough strong examples to prove him wrong.
Here’s the link to the section overview page, and then links to the individual features are below:
- Phil Nevels, Power2Switch. Here’s the article link.
- Collin Wallace, FanGo/GrubHub. Here’s the article link.
- Josh Hernandez, Tap.Me. Here’s the article link.
- Andrea Williamson, Noblivity. Here’s the article link.
- Neal Sales-Griffin, Code Academy. Here’s the article link.
In addition, I wrote a couple of online-only Q&As to complement the section:
This is a curious post to write, because in some ways—unlike my last several and next several entries—it’s not about “catch-up” content. My article on Michael Yannell’s uber-green house in Ravenswood is in the April 2012 issue of Chicago, which just hit newsstands. (The article isn’t online, but here’s a link proving it exists.)
On the other hand, considering I turned the story in last August, I barely remember what the house looks like . . .
Here are links to a collection of stories I did for the 2/27/12 print edition of Crain’s Chicago Business surveying Chicago’s angel investment scene. I am really happy with the articles, but that pales in comparison to how much I love the section art that Karen Freese created.
- The mainbar is a trend story on the uptick in angel activity locally, particularly in the tech world. Here’s the link.
- The Fippex team (David Pessis and Bill Burnett, plus angel investor Jacques Gliksberg) describes the relationship between company and angel. Here’s the link.
- A profile on Centro’s Shawn Riegsecker, representing a new breed of tech angel. Here’s the link. And here’s a second link to a Silicon City Q&A with Shawn from last fall.
- A look at why and how a couple of other angel investors ply their trade, featuring Alan Matthew, Michael Gruber, Ed Starr and Paul Budak. Here’s the link.
- A sidebar of angel advice from Sam Yagan. Here’s the link.
- An online extra featuring advice from Red Granite’s Chris Arndt on how to appeal to a traditional angel investor. Here’s the link.
Here are the Silicon City columns from February 2012:
- 2/7/12: Aashish Dalal, ParkWhiz — Aashish describes how ParkWhiz survived the Super Bowl. Here’s the article link.
- 2/14/12: Allen Shulman, BrightNest. Here’s the article link.
- 2/21/12: Amanda Lannert, Jellyvision Lab. Here’s the article link.
- 2/28/12: Jeb Ory and Kilton Hopkins, 5Degrees — a Chicago startup featured at SXSW 2012. Here’s the article link.
In addition, during February I wrote a couple of non-Silicon City articles in February for Ann Dwyer’s entrepreneurship blog at Crain’s. Here they are:
- 2/1/12: A Q&A with FireStarter Fund co-creator Brian Hand. Here’s the article link.
The Society of American Business Editors and Writers gave the Tech 25 project a 2011 “Best in Business” award! (Click here if you want proof, but be prepared to scroll for a long time.)
Here’s the link to a profile of Ameya Pawar I wrote for the Fall 2011 issue of IIT Magazine. Pawar won in an upset over the candidate hand-picked by his predecessor, and I visited him as he was moving into his new office.
Elsewhere in the same issue, I interview retired Cook Country Circuit Court Judge Stuart Nudelman. Judge Nudelman is working as a special prosecutor on cases related to police brutality within the Chicago Police Department, and as an arbitrator in cases involving sexual abuse within the Catholic church. Here’s the link to the Q&A.
I am hereby moving my game of catch (up) to the print edition of Crain’s Chicago Business. Here’s a story I wrote in January about InnerWorkings, a company founded by Groupon’s Eric Lefkofsky. InnerWorkings is a classic Lefkofsky company in that it seeks to disrupt a staid industry (printing, in this case) with a tech-enabled solution. Yet this story was prompted by investor skepticism, as the percentage short positions in the company was exceptionally high.
Disclaimer for non-Crain’s subscribers: this one has passed beyond the paywall.