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Today, we opened the nominations for the second annual 50 on Fire, our December awards show. Learn more about the event and nominate your favorite innovator here.

Will: The same week Drive Capital announced its $300 million second fund aimed at Midwest startups, another regional venture firm announced its own second fund, and this one hits even closer to Chicago. Jim, hit us with the details.

Jim: Hyde Park Venture Partners announced Wednesday that it has closed a $65 million fund. The Chicago-based firm, which invests predominantly in Midwest startups, typically participates in Seed to Series B rounds of financing. HPVP launched its debut find in 2011 at $25 million, and invested in startups like Chicago's Geofeedia, G2 Crowd, and Four Kites.

“We believe there’s no better place than the Midwest to base our activity," HPVP partner Tim Kopp said in a statement. "I consider it the ‘triple-bottom line’ because we are not only focused on driving great returns to the shareholders, but also building up the tech ecosystem while creating winning communities.”

HPVP made 32 investments in its first fund, and it has done more than 20 deals in Fund Two. Some of its recent investments include Chicago-based ShipBob and Indianapolis-based High Alpha.

Will: It's also important to note that the firm announced a new group of advisors, too, which includes Dave Knox, the CMO of Rockfish Interactive; Mike Fitzgerald, partner at High Alpha; Patrick Sells, the CEO of Sells Group; and Todd Richardson, the former EVP of HR at ExactTarget. [More Here]

Will: Today, Inventables, the Chicago-based seller of maker equipment and materials, announced the latest version of the X-Carve, its popular 3D carver. (A 3D carver is like a 3D printer, but instead of building products through the process of layering, it carves them out of solid materials, like wood and metal).

Jim: The new X-Carve has an enhanced electronics package, more power, a fan for when the machine has to run for hours, and several improvements to eliminate vibrations. You can check out a video of founder and CEO Zach Kaplan explaining these features here.

Will: I also love the amount of comments on the video, which just dropped today. The maker community is a vibrant one and Inventables has done an amazing job of tapping into that passion. 

Will: Yello, the Chicago-based talent acquisition software company, has raised $4.2M, a continuation of its $5M Series B from October 2015. Argentum, a New York-based later stage private equity and venture capital firm, led the round, with Series A lead First Analysis also participating.

Jim: Yello works with companies to "integrate talent acquisition software into their strategic initiatives, ensuring the gaps in their recruitment processes are filled."

In the past year, Yello has grown its headcount by 100 percent and annual recurring revenue by 70 percent; the company also now works with over 70 Fortune 500 companies. According to a news release, the latest round of funding will be used to continue to strengthen Yello’s engineering, sales and marketing efforts. [More Here]

Will: Tomorrow from 6-9PM, the Small Business Advocacy Council will hold its 16th Pitch Event, hosted by 2112, where aspiring entrepreneurs and mid-sized businesses in growth mode will showcase their enterprises. Three businesses will pitch in front of a panel of judges and receive feedback. The event will feature a keynote presentation from Clancy Ryan, the Chief Revenue Officer with Punchkick Interactive.

This will be a great meetup; learn more here.

Will: Feed the Beat and nominate an innovator for 50 on Fire. Come on, I know you know of an individual or company that's on absolute fire. Tell us! It'll only take you 5 minutes.

Will: If you like reading The Beat, you'll love listening to it. Check out the Chicago Inno Podcast on SoundcloudStitcher, and iTunes.

Will: I think it's interesting that Google has built a reputation where they can launch a rival ridesharing service three years after investing $250M in Uber and everyone kind of just shrugs their shoulders and goes, "well, that's Google, man."

No one seems to really care about this or is calling BS. I get that it's common for some corporations to invest in a startup to simply better understand certain market dynamics, but to then evolve into a direct competitor? Isn't that just flat-out shitty? Am I naive to think that this is something that probably should have appeared in the term sheet. (I.e. "Um, don't steal our product, bro). The lack of conversation surrounding this development makes me feel like I'm missing something.

Jim: Google and Uber certainly have a complicated relationship (investments, talent poaching, and Uber uses Google Maps, of course). It's why Alphabet’s chief legal officer just stepped down from Uber’s board of directors. 

Silicon Valley is a weird place, man. 


Will: The Tribune Tower has a new owner and sources tell Crain’s that one or both of the Trib’s companies “have been evaluating alternative office space.” The Tribune Tower losing its namesake biz is a depressing thought, but I do think it’s interesting to wonder where they’ll end up.

I hope an intriguing, emerging neighborhood, like Pilsen or the South Loop, lands them and leverages the history of this anchor tenant to help transform the DNA of the area. It’d also be cool if they moved to an empty warehouse/building in Printer’s Row and brought that 'hood full circle Just, please, no more congestion in the West Loop.

Jim: If the Tribune newspaper leaves Trib Tower, expect Michael Ferro to go full tech/startup mode when it comes to their next space. I'm talking ping pong, porch swings, roof deck, cold brew, office slides...the whole shebang. 

From our post on 50 on Fire nominations:

The unbelievably talented graphic designer at your agency is innovative. The enterprise company that helps fuel your small business is innovative. The non-profit you donate to is innovative. Your favorite food truck is innovative. Innovation is everywhere in Chicago, help us find it so that we can award it!

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