software development

Chicago Tech: Big Brands That Started in Chicago

February 8th, 2017

Chicago is one of the major metropolitan areas in the United States where many digital companies are headquartered. More and more technology based companies, ranging from startups, to mobile app development agencies, all the way to full enterprise brands are calling Chicago their home. Currently, there are over 3,200 digital companies in the Chicagoland area, creating more than 54,000 jobs in the digital sector.

The city of Chicago is also relatively diverse in both the age of the companies and the breakdown of digital sectors represented. The below infographic highlights the diversity in both of these breakdowns.

Image from BuiltInChicago

The infographic above is based off of the top 100 digital companies in Chicago in 2015. These companies all contribute to the thriving digital Chicago culture, but there are five companies from Chicago that have really succeeded in being both a nationwide and globally recognizedable brands.

Groupon is one of the leading online commerce marketplaces for searching businesses and merchandise around the world, offering deals on products in the dining and entertainment sector.

Groupon started in 2008 in Chicago under the name ThePoint.com, a name that changed to Groupon, Inc. a year later in 2009. Since then, Groupon expanded progressively, launching in new markets every year. For the fiscal year of 2015, Groupon reported revenues of $3,119.5 million which was a 2.5% increase from the previous year.

Some of the factors that contributed to the success of Groupon was their continuous improvements and additions in their technology. For example, with the assistance of mobile app design companies, Groupon launched a travel discovery app in 2014. They then proceeded to launch a Groupon Apple watch app in 2015 and announced a series of website, mobile and tablet enhancements in 2016.

CareerBuilder is service that connects job seekers to employers in both the United States and other global countries. The company offers service for jobs including accountants, marketing managers, registered nurses, restaurant managers, security officers, truck drives and many others.

Founded in 1995, CareerBuilder has grown from only offices in Chicago to 60 markets worldwide. Their success on a worldwide platform was due to the continuous improvements in technology. One major improvement was taking the job search mobile in 2013. The next big evolution came in 2015 when CareerBuilder continued its evolvement into a global HR SaaS company.

As part of a subsidiary of Expedia Inc., Orbitz is a website that allows a customer to research, plan and book travel for airline tickets, hotels, car rentals, cruises and vacation packages. They were founded in 1999 and have become a leading global portfolio.

Although hotels and airlines continue improve website functionality to sell directly to consumers, Orbitz has been able to maintain an edge due to their innovations, acquisitions and technology improvements. Such improvements include working with a mobile app development agency in Chicago on their travel app which makes it easier to book on the go and receive real-time trip updates.

Trunk Club is becoming a widely known brand for capitalizing on the success of eCommerce while offering a unique alternative to shopping online. Founded in 2009, Trunk Club offers a solution to the overwhelming and inconvenient in-store shopping experience and offers a service providing the top brands, expert service, and extreme convenience.

One of the key driving factors to the success of Trunk Club is their highly personalized service to the user, being a pioneer in this growing eCommerce trend. Holding true to the importance of technology in their business, Trunk Club attends and displays at Chicago TechWeek to continue to innovate their business.

Thus their overall success can be attributed to working with UX design services to ensure great customer satisfaction and usability on their online platforms.

Peapod, being one of the first grocery delivery services, began back in 1989. The online shelves of Peapod are stocked with more than 12,000 products including meat, prepared foods, Kosher foods, office supplies, pet items and beauty aids to name a few.

The technology growth of Peapod has been gradual and extremely progressive for its time. In 1996, Peapod was one of the first companies to jump on the internet and launch their first website. One of the most recent endeavors Peapod was a frontrunner in creating was the launching of virtual grocery stores. This utilization of digital technology in a retail store was one of the first of its kind in 2011.


All five of these companies hold the similarities of being both from Chicago and having a company based in the technology sector. Another key similarity that is not initially seen is that their success all came through continuous evolution and development in technology.

These brands have muchsuch popularity and brand awareness because they all understood the importance of following digital trends and implementing the latest technology to their individual business.

In order for more companies to prosper like these, it is critical to work with user experience design services and mobile app design companies (current 2017 trend) to grow your company to be the next big brand.

Clare Bittourna


Clare Bittourna is on Codal's digital marketing team. Responsible for designing marketing materials and proposals, Clare also tackles various aspects of marketing campaigns at Codal. When she's not at work you can find her playing with her pup, finding new restaurants to enjoy in Chicago, or traveling.


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