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5 Chicago Startups to Look Out for in 2014

Some would say the most important period of a startup is the first six months to its first year, but this writer would argue that it's the following years after a startup has established itself that matter.

Sure it is important for the seeds of a plant to germinate and grow, but out of the nursery it is important to provide a young startup with the healthy lifestyle it deserves.

The following will consider the five Chicago startups that Mabbly predicts are going to take Chicago and the rest of the country by storm.


5) WeDeliver

WeDeliver is fresh. It is kind of taking on the world of shipping in a guerilla fashion. If you’re a business you’ve got four options for delivery: 

  • UPS

  • FedEx

  • USPS

  • Deliver it yourself

Now, that might seem like a diverse marketplace for delivery, but it most likely puts a damper on quick business. WeDeliver is sort of like Uber for packages. For real. From your desktop or mobile you can place an order for delivery and a driver comes, picks it up and delivers it. You can even track the drivers progress.

Welcome to the future.

(The tracking UI for WeDeliver)


4) DryV

The modern business person does not have time for anything but business. Due to this time issue, dry cleaning is a very difficult thing to fit in. DryV is changing this.

They have developed an app which allows their dry cleaning operation to come to your door, pick up those wrinkled business clothes and drop them off where ever two days later. You’ll get a text message notifying you of delivery status. This is how 2014 startups are taking us into the future.

3) Monarc

Back in the day if you wanted a suit you had one made for you. This was the norm. Soon big budget retailers began carrying and mass producing suits that arguably have changed the expectation of quality in our fashion. It is understandable to an extent, tailors are expensive, and it is hard to know and use the same tailor.

Not anymore. Monarc is a suit maker that has addressed the tailored suit epidemic: mixing tech into the experience. Upon visiting their website, a customer can input their sizes and schedule an appointment and the process begins from there. In about three to four weeks the customer receives a suit tailored for him or her, that is unlike any other.

This startup is the non-traditional type, mixing tech with fashion to deliver an outstanding product.

2) The Urban Canopy


When people hear ‘Chicago,’ odds are they don’t think innovative agricultural center. Well, soon they may. Urban agriculture is fast becoming a solution for problems that plague Chicago from food deserts to uninformed grocery shopping.


The Urban Canopy is trying to change how agriculture is done in the city, and hopefully the world. They have four main goals in their mission:


  • nutrition – makes more healthy produce available

  • environment – reduces the many miles fresh food travels to get to our plates

  • economy - creates local jobs

  • community - empowers our communities

They grow produce in warehouses, some repurposed lots and in some cases on top of roofs! Their vision is clear, and in 2014 they are primed to hit their stride. Plus, their tomatoes are profoundly delicious.


The Freebie Application and process is, plainly said, really cool. It works with commercial products and their providers by offering points to users of the Freebie App, which can be redeemed for free stuff. This free stuff is not like a bracelet or something, the points can be redeemed for substantial goods and services, from clothing to dinners.

Using the app helps drive traffic to their clients websites, physical establishments, and the bottom line is everyone wins.

They had a great 2013, and judging by their performance 2014 will be the freebiest yet.

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