Inside these posts: Chicago startups

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Chicago startup EduLender raises $1M

Chicago-based startup EduLender, a comparison shopping website for student loans, said Tuesday it has raised $1 million in seed funding.

The group of investors includes Hyde Park Angels, an early-stage investment group with its roots in the University of Chicago‚Äôs Booth School of Business, as well as other local groups such as Sandbox Ventures and New World Ventures, whose founder is J.B. Pritzker. Kapor Capital, which is based in San Francisco, Calif., is also an investor. Other participants in the funding round include Excelerate, a Chicago-based incubator, and Sam Yagan, a co-founder of Excelerate who also helped found dating site OKCupid. Get the full story »

Chicago startup GiveForward raises $500K

GiveForward, a Chicago-based startup that helps people raise money for out-of-pocket medical expenses, has raised $500,000 in its first round of funding.

Desiree Vargas Wrigley and Ethan Austin started GiveForward in 2008 and had looked for some funding at that time, but “what we kept hearing from investors is: ‘You should be a non-profit,’” Vargas Wrigley said. She and Austin funded the company themselves, with Vargas Wrigley waiting tables at Cafe Ba Ba Reeba in Lincoln Park in the meantime.

The GiveForward platform allows people to create personalized fundraising pages and share their cause through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. GiveForward collects the donations, which can be done through credit or debit cards, and passes them along to the beneficiary after deducting 7 percent for processing fees. The company said its users have raised $3.5 million since the company’s inception and about 10,000 users have joined the site, with almost half of them signing up in the last six months. Get the full story »