Startups are having a great moment in Chicago. The city’s low cost of living attracts top talent away from New York and San Francisco, and a steady stream of incubators and investors have set up shop here to make hay.
While known for its healthy B2B tech scene, Chicago startups churn out a wide range of products and services for everyday use, from America's hottest nutrition bar to compact ellipticals that can be used sitting down.
And this community of innovators shows no sign of slowing down.
It’s likely you already know some of Chicago’s big-name startups like Grubhub and Groupon, but you may be surprised by how many other homegrown apps and products are available to help you live your best Chicago life (or to make your day a bit easier).
In the same spirit that you’d chant “Go, Cubs, Go!” at Wrigley Field with a beer in hand, you can root for Chicago’s startups by trying out their creations for yourself. Here’s an itinerary that’ll take you through one day and night in Chicago using products and services that were built on our home turf.
For those of you who plan to hit that snooze button six times, you might want to check out Rise Science, a service that helps you monitor and improve your sleep schedule.
Once you’re up:
- You may stop at Starbucks when you're in a rush, but if you want to make a better quality brew tomorrow, grind up some custom craft coffee beans for delivery with Javaya.
- Over coffee, listen to local startup founders share their stories on Colin Keeley's Tech in Chicago podcast.
- If you’re planning to go out tonight but need someone to watch the kids, find a babysitter on Sittercity.
- While you’re making plans, sign up for a day of volunteering next weekend on GoCivic.
Want to drive to work because you plan on staying in the city too late for an express train home? Find a low-cost and convenient parking space on Parkwhiz or SpotHero. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, hop on a Veoride scooter to get to the office.
At Work (maybe a little B2B sneaks in...)
If you’re looking for professional resources to help you excel at work, Chicago startups have you covered:
- Use 4Degrees to find more professional contacts.
- Check out G2 Crowd to investigate that new software your boss wants to choose.
- Try Basecamp to improve your team’s project management and communications.
- If you’re looking to bump your career to the next level with a new skill, look no further than Wyzant, which offers online tutoring in over 300 subjects.
And if you’re struggling to find a way to introduce more exercise into your workday and can’t get away from your desk, put a Cubii under your desk and rack up pedaling points from your office chair.
While you’re out stretching your legs, don’t forget to pick up a couple of RXBARs to put in your desk for when you need an afternoon snack.
Say you’re done with work, but you’ve got a nasty migraine. Try a medicated nasal spray from Seurat Therapeutics to help ease your discomfort. Once you’re feeling better, it’s time to head home.
If you got your scooter fix riding to work in the morning and you’re taking the train home as usual, try reading up on your Chicago neighborhood’s news on Block Club Chicago. When you’re done with your daily update, check your stock portfolio on M1 Finance.
Then make a same-day dinner reservation at that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try with Tock.
Stumped on a birthday gift for your best friend, who happens to be a Bears fan? Surprise her with a video shout out from Bears legend Mike Singletary on Cameo.
And if connecting your friend with #50 makes you realize you haven't been to a Bears game in ages, hop on VividSeats and lock up that 50-yard line seat.
Time to go out for a drink. But what if your favorite bar doesn’t serve food and you’re getting hungry again? You can have get delivery from a restaurant down the block right to your barstool using 2ndKitchen. If that doesn’t appeal, find nearby Asian food for delivery through Chowbus.
If staying at home for drinks with friends is more your speed, use Foxtrot to have top-shelf wine and snacks delivered to your door.
Finally, to cap off the day with a good night’s sleep, take a CBD gummy that you ordered for delivery earlier through LeafyQuick. (Starting January 1st, 2020, recreational cannabis will be legal in Illinois, so a number of new dispensaries and cannabis companies will likely be coming to town.)
Let Local Chicago Startups Steer Your Day
You may have heard the phrase, “Shop local,” in reference to supporting small businesses in your community. Here in Chicago, there are plenty of opportunities to patronize local startups, and this guide only shows a small sample of what’s available.
Whether you’re looking for a way to try something new or you’re looking for a way to make city life a little more convenient, Chicago’s tech startups have a lot to offer.
Have any other ideas about how Chicago startups can help you have an awesome day? Shoot us note, and we’ll add them to the list!