January 15, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Brings Together Leading Women in Chicago's Tech Start-Up Scene

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined the inaugural meeting of a new “Women Who Launch” series, which brings together leading women in Chicago’s tech start-up community with leading female City officials as part of the administrations’ continuing efforts to create opportunity for Chicago’s booming technology industry.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined the inaugural meeting of a new “Women Who Launch” series, which brings together leading women in Chicago’s tech start-up community with leading female City officials as part of the administrations’ continuing efforts to create opportunity for Chicago’s booming technology industry.

“Chicago’s technology economy is thriving, creating thousands of jobs and generating interest from around the world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We are seeing unprecedented growth in this key sector, from established international corporations to start-ups designed by Chicagoans. As we continue to work to create opportunity in this dynamic sector, it’s critical for the City to collaborate with everyone involved.”

The inaugural meeting was comprised of female entrepreneurs who own digital start-ups in Chicago and operate out of the co-working center 1871 located in the Merchandise Mart. The entrepreneurs discussed the challenges and opportunities they face with Brenna Berman, the City’s First Deputy Chief Information Officer, and Jaime Rhee, the City’s Chief Procurement Officer. This series will consist of quarterly meetings to maintain a continued dialogue about how the City can help support women-owned digital start-ups.

The launch of this new series comes one week after Mayor Emanuel appointed Chicago’s first ever technology industry diversity council. The Council on Diversity in Technology will work closely with Chicago’s Office of New Americans, as well as ChicagoNEXT, to ensure that their recommendations dovetail closely with the ongoing efforts to make Chicago a welcoming city, as well as ChicagoNEXT’s efforts to attract technology businesses to the city.

Under Mayor Emanuel’s leadership, the City of Chicago has fostered diversity in other areas of the City’s business community, through innovative programs run by the Department of Procurement such as the diversity business initiative. These programs allow the government of Chicago to encourage private sector adoption of important public policy objectives, and have resulted in strong growth and positive outcomes for minority business owners throughout the City, as well as the business community as a whole.


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Photo Caption: Mayor Emanuel Brings Together Leading Women in Chicago's Tech Startup Scene.

Photo Credit: Brooke Collins - City of Chicago


“Women Who Launch”: Connecting with The Women of 1871

Today marks the kickoff meeting of the “Women Who Launch” lunch series. This series involved regular meetings between leading female entrepreneurs housed at Chicago’s thriving co-working center for digital startups, 1871, and the City’s leading female tech official, Brenna Berman, Deputy Chief Information Officer. The goal, following the announcement of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first ever Technology Industry Diversity Council, is to support women in Chicago’s booming tech industry.

PrettyQuick, Coco Meers (founder)

OpenTable for the $50B beauty service industry, PrettyQuick uses mobile and real-time technology to match individual service requests with local salon & spa availability in real-time. We help on-the-go users conveniently find and book recommended appointments, while seamlessly filling seats in high-quality salons and spas.

Moxie Jean, Sharon Schneider  (founder)

By providing a curated, stylish selection of like-new kids’ clothes at consignment sale prices, Moxie Jean makes it easy to keep up with fast-growing little bodies, from Newborn to size 8. Moxie Jean was founded by a modern, busy mom who wanted to save time, save money AND save the planet—and didn’t want to sacrifice style to do so.

Q-It Tech, Lotika Pai (founder)
We put you in the driver’s seat to chart the map of your child’s digital viewing journey by creating and sharing video playlists in a snap saves you valuable time. Knowing the videos your child watches are pre-approved by you or the people you trust gives you peace of mind. With a single click, Q-it makes it instantly available on your mobile devices for viewing via our app. Lotika has a two year old son. She has spent years in investment banking, supply chain consulting and manufacturing. She has a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering and an MBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from Chicago Booth.

30 Second Mom, Elisa All (founder)

30Second Mobile is redefining content, conversations and connections for mobile media by sharing authentic information in engaging formats of 30 seconds or less. Our first brand is 30Second Mom, a free website, iPhone and Android app that enable on-the-go moms to access quick and helpful lifestyle information tailored to their own interests and share them via social networks - all from their computers or mobile devices. New-media pioneer Elisa All is founder of 30Second Mobile. Previously, Elisa founded iParenting Media, a “Best of the Web”new-media publishing company serving parents that was acquired by the Walt Disney Company in 2007. 30Second Mom has been featured on WGN-TV, Crain’s Chicago Business, Fast Company, The Huffington Post, Make It Bettermagazine (monthly column) and more. The company was selected as one of the 5 Hottest Start-ups in Chicago by The Digital Collective, and was a finalist for App of the Year and Tech Woman of the Year for Chicago’s Moxie Awards.

Everpurse, Liz Salcedo (founder)

Patent-pending purse that charges 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—so you don’t have to fish for a cord.

OneBigBow, Yafit Becher (founder & CEO)

OneBigBow.com ties together the invitation process and the giving of gifts. When guests RSVP to a OneBigBow.com party invitation, they get to see the birthday child's gift wishes-- and they get a chance to chip in toward the cost. Yafit earned a degree in computer science from Bar-Ilan University Israel. She has more than a decade of experience in the high-tech industry, working with large corporations as well as mid-sized firms. OneBigBow.com is the direct result of combining her passion for technology and business with the insights of moms like herself.

Cheeky Chicago, Erica Bethe Levin (co-founder)

CheekyChicago.com is a digital hub for the women of Chicago, producing more than 35 articles each week, monthly events and a state-of-the-art membership program. Founded in 2008 by Chicago residents, Erica Bethe Levin and Jessica Zweig, CheekyChicago.com is the ultimate go-to guide for women in the city of Chicago.


Let’sPlayPlease, Mariela Santori (founder and CEO)

Let’sPlayPlease is a virtual playroom that engages kids and their families through video chat interaction. Let’sPlayPlease helps families and friends connect over distance through online activities such as creating stories, coloring, virtual cooking, traveling together and much more.