Catapult Admits Seven New Start-Up Companies


Peer-Selection Process Reveals Ideal Collaborative Environment for Start-Ups

CHICAGO (May 22, 2012) – Catapult Chicago announced today that it has selected seven new tech start-up companies for admission to the downtown Chicago collaborative space.  Part incubator, part accelerator, Catapult is 12,000 square feet of Class A office space for some of Chicago’s most ambitiously led tech start-ups that have demonstrated business traction.  Unique to Catapult is its “peer selection” admission process, in which new companies are selected by the founders of existing resident companies.

“We are thrilled about the companies that now call Catapult home.  There are some incredible start-ups in Chicago and it was a difficult process,” said Ryan Leavitt, president and co-founder of Catapult. “We interviewed over 100 companies and the caliber of the new start-ups speaks well of our peer selection model.  These companies will add to the spirit at Catapult which, in many ways, acts as one collective start up with 15 different business lines.”  Vishal Shah, co-founder of Catapult added, “Our diverse group of technology start-ups is creating an open-door culture at Catapult.  Each team, carefully selected for their particular strengths, works collaboratively to help other Catapult start-ups. Whether you’re brainstorming the next disruptive solution or to grabbing a beer with a visiting entrepreneur, everyone is here to help.”

The seven new residents of Catapult Chicago boast impressive credentials, including graduates of Excelerate Labs in Chicago, TechStars Cloud in San Antonio, and Blueprint Health in NYC.  Founders of the new companies have diverse backgrounds as well – ranging from venture capitalists to a traveling sneaker artist.  The new residents companies are:

Dabble – Dabble is a marketplace for $20, in-person classes. With a mission to make learning and exploring one's interests easy and fun, Dabble provides a low-commitment way for people to expand their horizons. Since its May 2012 launch in Chicago, Dabble has expanded to two additional markets: Denver and Milwaukee. Two more are on the horizon for a July launch.

Buzz Referrals – Buzz Referrals empowers brands to drive new customer acquisition, increase current customer engagement, and build positive buzz through referral marketing promotions.  The company’s referral platform enables its clients to run engaging, on-site promotions that incentivize customers for specific actions through a suite of digital rewards.

Shiftgig – Shiftgig is a professional networking site for the service industry.  Through innovative vertical-specific features, Shiftgig provides connections between people and businesses in the restaurant, nightlife, hotel and hospitality industries for better employment and profitability.  Shiftgig has hundreds of Chicago service industry employers and nearly 12,000 people since its January 2012 launch; Shiftgig has recently launched in NYC, LA, and Miami.

Tempo – Tempo is the data layer for the measured world- a database service purpose-built to store and analyze the massive streams of time-series data (ex: measuring thermostat temperatures, network latencies, heart rates) that break traditional databases.

Procured Health – Procured Health is a web-based application that helps hospitals discover and evaluate medical devices in order drive much-needed savings.  A comparison engine for devices, clinicians and administrators are able to examine options based on analysis from peer hospitals as well as structured data from the FDA and suppliers, and the Procured workflow solution streamlines the evaluation process.

Kula – Kula is a peer-to-peer, mobile marketplace app that helps users to Share, Buy, and Sell nearly anything based location. With Kula, everyone is a business and the world is your storefront.

Bucket Feet – BucketFeet is Artist Designed Footwear.  The company provides a manufacturing, distribution, e-commerce, and social media platform for artists to directly connect with consumers from around the world.

"Buzz Referrals was first attracted to Catapult because the space allowed our sales and marketing team to work independently, and there was a really great vibe of collaboration among the companies," said Jordan Linville, co-founder of Buzz Referrals.  "River North is becoming the de facto hub of Chicago's start-up scene, and being here has also provided great access to other companies and events in the area."

The above new residents of Catapult will join the five original permanent residents of the tech start-up incubator. They include VLinks Media, MentorMob, StyleSeek, Tech.Li and 5Degrees.