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.
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 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 learned this week that we unfortunately weren’t named a finalist for the Chicago Innovation Awards, but that doesn’t mean we won’t try again next year! We were still honored to be among this year’s 530 nominees that created close to 24,000 new jobs.
Now, the judges have narrowed the list to 100 finalists, and 25 winners will be announced at the award ceremony on Oct. 30. These products and services will be chosen based on their ability to “fill unmet needs, spark a competitive response in the marketplace, exceed market expectations, achieve financial success, and improve people’s lives.”
In the meantime, you can make a contribution by casting a vote for the People’s Choice Award, which received 46,000 votes last year.
What’s next for us? Catch us Saturday, Sept. 16 as an exhibitor at the Franklin Park Public Library’s inaugural Pop! Con!
We have had a busy summer gathering Happenstance stories for the launch of our River North test pilot this fall! We still have plenty of work to do and know that our October goal is still a little far off. So, to satisfy your growing eagerness, here’s a quick roundup of our story spots so far!
Poetry Foundation: The foundation’s library is the only poetry library in the Midwest and holds more than 30,000 volumes.
The Mirage:Now known as the Brehon Pub, The Mirage was a fake tavern set up by the Chicago Sun-Times in the late 1970s to confirm widespread claims that city inspectors were accepting bribes.
The Boarding House: Its owner and master sommelier, Alpana Singh, holds the title of youngest woman to pass the final level of the Master Sommelier exam.
Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap:This restaurant is home to the “XXX” wings, which have garnered international attention.
Remember, our test pilot stories will only be available to beta testers. If you’re interested in hearing our Haps and giving feedback, send us a note to get on our list!
We’re very excited to announce that Happenstance is a nominee for this year’s Chicago Innovation Awards!
To give you a quick idea, the Chicago Innovation Awards annually recognize new, innovative products and services in the Chicago-area. And previous winners have included a range of companies from Tesla to CTA to EveryBlock.
Last year, the awards honored the most women-led businesses in its 16-year history, and we think that indicates a promising future. In 2015, Chicago had the highest percentage of female founders in 35 cities across the globe, and we could now join that statistic with our new female CEO!
Judging is scheduled to start this week, and we’ll hopefully find out soon whether or not we’re added to the list of finalists. In the meantime, you can catch us at the nominee reception on Sept. 6!
So, wish us luck! But whatever happens, we’re simply honored to be in the company of so many talented Chicago entrepreneurs.
We’re pleased to announce that we have added a third co-founder and CEO to our Happenstance team!
Kathy Bartlett joins us with more than 20 years of entrepreneurial experience in a range of industries, from finance to restaurants. Among her accomplishments, she turned one financial storefront into 40-plus locations in multiple states, helped create a nationwide online lending program and developed procedures that positively transformed restaurant profit margins.
She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University and an Executive M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Learn more about the other members of our women-led team here!