Following a record year, Illinois startups kick off 2019 on a strong foot – TechCrunch
Illinois’s startup market in 2018 was very strong, and it’s not slowing down as we settle into 2019. There’s already almost $100 million in new VC funding announced, so let’s take a quick look at the state of venture in the Land of Lincoln (with a specific focus on Chicago).
In the chart below, we’ve plotted venture capital deal and dollar volume for Illinois as a whole. Reported funding data in Crunchbase shows a general upward trend in dollar volume, culminating in nearly $2 billion worth of VC deals in 2018; however, deal volume has declined since peaking in 2014.1
Chicago accounts for 97 percent of the dollar volume and 90.7 percent of total deal volume in the state. We included the rest of Illinois to avoid adjudicating which towns should be included in the greater Chicago area.
In addition to all the investment in 2018, a number of venture-backed companies from Chicago exited last year. Here’s a selection of the bigger deals from the year:
Crain’s Chicago Business reports that 2018 was the best year for venture-backed startup acquisitions in Chicago “in recent memory.” Crunchbase News has previously shown that the Midwest (which is anchored by Chicago) may have fewer startup exits, but the exits that do happen often result in better multiples on invested capital (calculated by dividing the amount of money a company was sold for by the amount of funding it raised from investors).
2018 was a strong year for Chicago startups, and 2019 is shaping up to bring more of the same. Just a couple weeks into the new year, a number of companies have already announced big funding rounds.
Here’s a quick roundup of some of the more notable deals struck so far this year:
- On Thursday, commercial real estate search firm Truss raised $15 million in additional financing, extending the Deerfield, IL-based company’s Series A round. The deal was led by Boston-based General Catalyst. The deal brings Truss’s total equity and debt funding to more than $24 million.
- Learning management system company BenchPrep announced $20 million in a Series C round co-led by Chicago-based Jump Capital and Bay Area-based Owl Ventures, LP. Part of that capital reportedly comes in the form of debt. The SEC filing for the round, dated December 2018, discloses that $14.53 million was raised in an equity offering, of which $2,999,999 was used to buy shares from “certain executive officers” at the company.
- Delivery service Bringg raised $25 million in Series C funding, which was led by Next47. Other investors in the deal include The Coca-Cola Company, Salesforce Ventures and Aleph. Bringg’s customers include Walmart and McDonald’s. The company has raised at least $52 million in known venture funding to date.
Besides these, a number of seed deals have been announced. These include relatively large rounds raised by 3D modeling technology company ThreeKit, upstart futures exchange Small Exchange and 24/7 telemedicine service First Stop Health.
Globally, and in North America, venture deal and dollar volume hit new records in 2018. However, it’s unclear what 2019 will bring. What’s true at a macro level is also true at the metro level. Don’t discount the City of the Big Shoulders, though.
The BMW XM’s Boldest And Brightest New Options, Ranked
Thank heavens BMW resisted the urge to grab the new XM with eye-searing paint colors. Instead, it has the typical blacks, whites, and grays, but it does have a bright red (Toronto Red Metallic) and a deep blue (Marina Bay Blue metallic) hue at no extra cost. The eccentric madness of options starts with the wheels — the XM’s 23-inch M Light alloys in gold (pictured above), which is a unique touch for a large SUV. Thankfully, you can have the same wheels in a more subdued steel gray option, and the standard 22-inch rollers are not that bad.
The BMW XM gets a standard Merino cowhide upholstery with a black-on-black theme, but the $1,500 Sakhir Orange leather option is worth every penny, standing out even more with a combined black accent. For $1,000 more, however, the Silverstone gray leather with a vintage coffee ceiling and door panels is a refreshing aesthetic. However, BMW’s vintage coffee interior theme looks best with the Deep Lagoon teal leather upholstery (pictured above), which costs the same at $2,500.
BMW wants XM buyers to go crazier with its NightGold Metallic exterior trim, a no-cost styling option that matches well with the gold wheels. The package includes a gold-metallic accent band that runs from ahead of the A-pillars and wraps around the side windows (pictured above), the outer border of the front kidney grilles, and the rear diffuser. Another no-cost option is M Sport Brakes with blue or red calipers, and exclusive M logos.
With base prices starting at $160,00, the all-new BMW XM is a big, bold, powerful SUV that screams money and privilege. It exists in a world littered with Lambos, Aston Martins, Maybachs, Bentleys, and Rolls-Royces, but none feels more forward-looking as the XM.
This Jet-Powered Soviet Airliner Had A Unique (But Dangerous) Design
As any aviation enthusiast will tell you, the name “de Havilland” is synonymous with the history of the jet engine. The British de Havilland Comet was the first of its kind — a jet airliner that would revolutionize air travel and pave the way for other airliners to follow. Its first prototype launched in 1949, according to the Royal Air Force Museum. After two disasters, the result of structrual deficiencies, the Comet 1 was retired.
But the Soviet Union unleashed its own jet airliner: the Tupolev TU-104. The body of a TU-16, another Soviet bomber, was adapted to add more passenger space inside, and the aircraft switched from a military to a commercial capacity.
In authorities’ zeal to put the Soviet stamp on the history of global jet travel, about 10,000 staff members worked on the plane, and its flight debut occurred several weeks earlier than originally intended. This seemed to mean, though, that testing wasn’t as rigorous as it could have been, and the aircraft was plagued by problems as a result.
Apple’s Vision Pro Headset Is Also A 3D Camera
According to Apple, all of the videos and photos captured using the Vision Pro’s 3D camera will offer a more immersive experience compared to content captured with ordinary content. That’s not to say that you can’t experience your existing Photos library with the headset, however, and Apple notes that panoramas can be viewed wrapped around the user — though only if those panoramas were captured with an iPhone, by the sounds of it.
The content appears within large windows placed in the user’s own environment, meaning the videos are watched on a large virtual screen that, in a way, is like a huge living painting positioned in one’s living room or office. These videos can be played alongside other apps available on the Apple Vision Pro, and they include expected controls like the ability to scrub through the videos, pause videos, expand photos to larger sizes, and similar. To no one’s surprise, the camera and headset both play well with other Apple products like FaceTime, as well.
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