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Chicago's 7 most innovative companies

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Move over Silicon Valley...

While other metropolitan areas get more attention for their tech scenes, Chicago has quietly become a hotbed of innovative start-ups. Thanks to half a dozen colleges minting tech-savvy graduates, several incubators protecting fledgling companies until they're ready to go out on their own and an impressive roster of angel investors and venture capitalists, the city is officially a start-up hub.

A handful of these companies have grabbed headlines, such as daily-deals website Groupon, which had a near-$17 billion IPO in 2011; and online-payments platform Braintree, which eBay acquired for $800 million in 2013.

But in recent years a host of other, lesser-known companies (for now) have sprung up across various tech sectors. According to venture capital database CB Insights, Chicago companies raised a total of $4.6 billion in 368 investment deals between 2009 and 2014. Below, check out seven start-ups, all of which boast breakthrough technology and have landed significant funding, that are heating up the Windy City today.

—By Will Yakowicz, special to CNBC.com, Inc. reporter
Posted 24 March 2015

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