How the New Venture Challenge Is Helping Cement Chicago's Reputation as the Next Great Startup Hub

Companies like Tovala and BenchPrep are thriving

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At first glance, Tovala’s Chicago headquarters looks like an ordinary apartment. But upon opening the front door to the office space, located in the city’s River West neighborhood, visitors are greeted with an open space filled with boxes, home goods and employees buzzing like worker bees. Some cooked in the test kitchen. Others sat at their desks typing away on computers or chatted in the conference room.

“The nature of our business is there’s software, there’s hardware and there’s food, which is why there’s ovens everywhere and there’s a test kitchen and there’s software engineers right behind us,” David Rabie, Tovala’s co-founder and CEO, says while sitting in a quiet conference room.

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