Chicago is becoming the home to many startups in the tech industry. Our city is evolving and offering a place to build a business in tech or work in the industry. From 2011 to 2015, Chicago offered over 40,000 jobs in tech and in 2015 was second in the U.S. in providing a hub for fast-growing private companies on the Inc. 5000.
We decided to interview local startups in the Chicago area to hear about their experiences in the industry and to listen to their visions of where the city can go. In this series, we began with Rippleshot, a card fraud prevention company.
Tell us about Rippleshot:
Ever had your credit or debit card stolen? Or maybe had your card declined at a store for seemingly no reason? You are not alone. It happens to millions of consumers at the merchants they shop at every single day, and the culprit is usually one of the data breaches you’re constantly hearing about in the news.
In a nutshell, this is why we built Rippleshot. We detect the data breaches that compromise card information faster than anyone else in the market (about 102 days faster, to be exact), which means consumers can be alerted earlier, and banks, credit unions and merchants can act on the breaches quicker than ever before, and in smarter ways.
Why did Rippleshot choose Chicago as its location?
It’s been home to our three founders for a number of years, but the decision to stay is an easy one. The tech community in Chicago has been wildly supportive over the past three years and we wouldn’t be where we are today without the help of so many people and organizations here – people like Troy Henikoff, who introduced us to MasterCard, the team at 1871 who put us in front of tons of potential investors and clients, and our current home, Catapult, a phenomenal resource for growing companies. It’s a humble, hardworking city, and the tech community tends to echo those values.
What is a tip you would give to someone looking to start their own business?
Everything will take at least three times longer than you think it will. Fundraising, closing enterprise deals..all of it. Plan accordingly.
What are the top things Rippleshot looks for when recruiting talent?
Something that we don’t always talk about, but all love about this team is that as a group, we’re punching way above our weight class, if you will. Really hungry, driven people have the opportunity to thrive here and make a serious impact. Because of that, I think we’re always looking for folks who are ambitious and self-motivated.
And because we’re still a small organization, a team player who is willing to pitch in where needed and isn’t too proud to take out the trash or clean up after a meal is always welcome. Sometimes, it isn’t anyone’s job, but it still needs to get done. People who understand that and are as willing to the unglamorous stuff as the more fun things, will get the job every time.
How big of a role does technology play in your business? In what way does Rippleshot utilize technology?
It’s core to everything that we do. We’re utilizing electronic data, stored and processed in the Amazon cloud and delivered to our clients via a web app. In the banking industry, this type of solution, delivered the way we’re doing it, is almost unheard of, so in a way, we’re helping to revolutionize the way bank data is used to detect and mitigate fraud.
Where do you see Chicago Business and Tech going in five years?
We’re already starting to see it now, with Cleversafe’s Chris Gladwin and YCharts’ Shawn Carpenter coming out with new businesses, but we hope to continue to see success breed success here in Chicago. Founders who not only grow and exit successful businesses, but then choose to build and grow their next venture here are key to the city’s success as a tech hub.