Female Founders to Watch: Chicago

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Meet these fierce Chicagoan founders.

By Ayesha Rizvi (Editorial Intern, Women 2.0)

With the redesigned Women 2.0 City Meetup now behind us, we're eager to continue fueling our community and bring in inspiration from across the nation (and beyond). Our post from yesterday featured Chicago as Women 2.0's city of the month with insights into how the tech industry is growing and what kinds of businesses are being born there. In order to expand on that research, we wanted to pull out some classy women for today's female founders to watch post, each of them from Chicago.

lotika_linkedin_vfinalLotika Pai (Founder, Q-It Tech)

Q-IT Tech works as a platform for parents to use videos as an educational tool for their kids. It acts like a youtube library and the only difference is that the parents get to pick and choose the videos their children watch, saving valuable time trying to monitor content they are exposed to online. With a single click, Q-it makes it instantly available on your mobile devices for viewing via their app. Founder Lotika Pai is an engineer, a programmer, a consultant and an investment banker. She holds a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Chicago Booth.

Liz SalcedoLiz Salcedo (Founder, Everpurse)

Everpurse is the wireless solution to charging your iPhone on the go. Everpurse has a special charging pocket that you drop your phone into. The patent-pending docking system guides your phone smoothly onto a dock connector at the bottom, a product designed with the modern woman in mine. Formerly a social worker, Liz Salcedo found a solution to a problem she was often faced with and made it available to everyone to benefit from it.

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 6.17.37 PMMariela Santori (Founder & CEO, Let’sPlayPlease)

Let’sPlayPlease is a virtual playroom that engages kids through video chat interaction. Let’sPlayPlease helps familes and friends connect over distance through online activities such as creating stories, coloring, virtual cooking, traveling together and much more, making 'keeping in touch' engaging for children and adults. Originally from Argentina, Founder Santori was inspired to create Let'sPlayPlease after the birth of her daughter with hopes of discovering a more meaningful way to connect with their family all over the world.

libby_alexanderLibby Alexander (CO-Founder, The Vintage Bazaar)  

The Vintage Bazaar is a pop-up flea market for vintage home decor, fashion, DIY things and a place to sell vintage. It is filled with reasonably priced vintage décor, furniture, clothing, and accessories. Co-created and executed by Libby Alexander and Katherine Raz, the Vintage Bazaar had its first successful show at the DANK Haus in Chicago's Lincoln Square in 2010. Alexander's work has been featured in notable blogs and magazines such as Time Out Chicago, Apartment Therapy, Etsy, sfgirlbybay and many more.

Sarah PressSarah Press (CO-Founder & CEO, Project Fix-up)

Project Fixup is a digital matchmaker that sets people up with something fun and someone new on one-on-one dates. It's like a personal assistant that works specifically to boost up your otherwise ordinary dates, something everyone on a tight work schedule can benefit from. Sarah Press is a graduate from the Booth School of Business from University of Chicago and has also worked at CommuniTeach, i.c.stars and Bain & Company prior to becoming a full-time entrepreneur with Project Fix-up.

 

Ariane FisherAriane Fisher (CO-Founder & COO, Storymix Media)

Storymix Media provides crowd-sourced, production-quality videos at reasonable prices through the use of cutting-edge technology, innovative mobile apps, dependable customer service, and a team of Apple-certified editors. It is essentially an automated video creation platform to help people capture the best moments of their lives through others who attend their special events. StoryMix Media was featured as one of Entrepreneur's 100 brilliant companies last year. Ariane Fisher herself is an Apple certified professional video editor and has been featured on the ABC evening news, published in Wedlock magazine, Forbes and many more. Fisher holds a Mechanical Engineering degree and is a former Engine Design Engineer with Ford.

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 6.15.49 PMFeyi Olopade (CO-Founder & CEO, Cancer-IQ)

Cancer IQ is a care management platform and data service to help providers deliver cutting-edge personalized cancer care. It integrates real-time clinical and genomics data to empower oncologists, administrators, researchers and patients to build better intelligence in cancer while also identifying patients who would benefit from genetically-informed care, interpreting a growing number of cancer-specific variables, and highlighting the best evidence-based interventions. Feyi discovered huge problems in the oncology field when she worked as a project manager in cancer informatics at University of Chicago Medical Center. There she formed a team to spin off the solution. She holds a BSc and MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 6.32.38 PMErin Hopmann (CO-Founder & CEO, Dabble)

Dabble is a marketplace for in-person classes that is revolutionizing $8 billion in the Social Education Market. It fulfills people’s desires to learn new things without over-committing themselves through an online portal. Prior to founding Dabble in 2011, Erin co-founded Hoply, a branding and marketing strategy firm that specialized in working with small businesses and startups. Erin is a graduate of Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

 

Let us know who we should add to the list!


About the author: Ayesha Rizvi is a multimedia & editorial assistant at Women 2.0. She is interested in women, technology & how both, when combined, can contribute to economic growth and stability in the developing world. You can find her on twitter at @arizvii