Check Out Photos from the Big Idea Awards!

We unfortunately weren’t a winner at the RedEye’s Big Idea Awards, but it was still a great experience! This year marked the largest number of applicants, and we were honored to be among so many inspiring finalists!

Take a peek at some of the photos from this memorable night! Photography credit: Jeff Schear Visuals.

We Joined the FUND!

In addition to being a Big Idea Awards finalist, we had the opportunity to be one of the nearly 100 exhibiting companies at last month’s FUND Conference!

For those who might not know, the conference helps connect early-stage companies with angel investors, venture capitalists and more, which could hopefully lead to meaningful connections and eventually funding.

Prior to the startup expo on Oct. 26, we sat in on panel discussions specifically for exhibitors and VIP ticket-holders. Curious about what we learned? Here were our top five takeaways.

  • Don’t just look for investors who are willing to write you a check. Find someone who is as interested and invested in your idea as you. – Erik Nathan, COO of Sendio, Inc.


  • To clearly convey your idea, make sure your pitch has song elements: a beat (your problem), hook (your solution) and bridge (your approach). – Rajiv Nathan, founder of RajNATION Innovation


  • Show investors that you’re putting your own money into your idea. It’s not always enough to expect others to fund your project. – Corey Mays, angel investor and entrepreneur


  • Figure out your cash flow and how to grow your business. That way, you will no longer need outside funding sources, like investors. Once you get customers, make sales and earn revenue, you can sustain yourself. – Ryan Mundy, chief strategist of Techlete Ventures


  • When hiring new talent, consider taking candidates out for drinks. You will get to know them better, such as whether they could hold their alcohol. – Mark Vargas, co-founder and president of Licentiam

We’re a Big Idea Awards Finalist!

We’re a bit behind in sharing the news here. But in case you haven’t heard, we’re a finalist for the RedEye’s Big Idea Awards! And we couldn’t be more excited!!!

The fourth annual awards serve as a chance for “entrepreneurs, innovators and dreamers” to present their ideas to members of the public. More than 90 ideas were submitted, but only 16 finalists were chosen in the following categories: “Food and Drink, “Arts and Design, “Tech and Apps” and “Giving Back.”

We’re nominated in the “Tech and Apps” group along with three other stellar apps that help with student loans, fashion choices and leveling the playing field for underrepresented professionals. On the day of the awards, attendees will cast votes for their favorite ideas, and a winner in each category will be named.

That’s why we need your help! Each winner could receive funding toward advertising through the Chicago Tribune Media Group, membership with the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, workspace and workshops. And since we have not yet received investments, a vote for us would get us a step closer to launch!

But it’s important to note that you can ONLY vote if you attend the awards! So, please join us Monday, Nov. 6, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Untitled Supper Club (111 W. Kinzie St.) and show your love for Happenstance!

Visit the Big Idea Awards website and enter the promo code “BIA17” to buy tickets for $20. If you don’t get a chance to do that, you can always buy them at the door for $25.

We hope to see you there!!