The new program will place Google squarely in big tech co-working facilities in Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Durham, Minneapolis, Nashville and Waterloo, Canada. These cities aren’t tech backwaters, but they aren’t San Francisco either.
Straying from its usual small business focus, Belly launched pilot loyalty programs for big retail chains last spring. 7-Eleven was apparently impressed enough to invest in the company.
A small startup trying to gain traction in the Windy City, Evzdrop has designed geo-social network that doesn’t connect you to your friends but to strangers wherever you happen to be.
Belly originally built its loyalty and marketing platform for local businesses, but it’s now gravitating toward big enterprise chains. McDonalds, Chic-fil-A, 7-Eleven and Domino’s are all running pilot programs of Belly’s service in Chicago.
Belly introduces the free sample to its local-business loyalty and rewards program. Through the Belly app, businesses can offer free goods and services to lure customers into their stores.
Chicago, Reno, and the LA burbs join Atlanta, Minneapolis and Seattle as the newest areas of the country where an iPhone will work on T-Mobile’s 3G network. T-Mo is now about one-third of the way from completing its nationwide HSPA+ overhaul.
A graduate of Excelerate Labs in Chicago, SpotHero wants to act as a parking spot broker for the big lots as well as offer consumers the cheapest parking rates through its mobile apps. The company’s $2.5 million round was led by Battery Ventures.
Sprint is launching its new LTE network footprint from the outside in. Rather than start with the big cities and then move to smaller markets, Sprint is starting in small cities and suburbs and building up to the big metro launches.
Chicago will become the first city to receive a fiber network as part of Gigabit Squared’s college town connectivity program. The Windy City may not be your classic college town, but the University of Chicago’s south side neighborhood makes an interesting testbed for the technology.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is embarking on a gigabit fiber project, thanks to the suggestion of Google’s Eric Schmidt, taking advantage of the overhaul of its water infrastructure to lay new data pipes. The plan is create 15 tech zones to feed Chicago’s growing startup community.