“We honor these organizations that embody a commitment to fresh thinking, results, inclusion, and economic growth,” said Chicago Innovation co-founder Tom Kuczmarski. “Chicago continues to recruit and develop talent that unleashes high-impact innovation. It is our mission to celebrate and support these efforts to ensure that innovation is for everyone.”
Pluie, a Chicago-based and woman-owned company, received an Up-and-Comer Award at this year’s ceremony for its public restroom innovation, the Pluie Diaper Changing Table.
“I went into the restroom and had a really difficult experience. It was uncomfortable. It was rock hard. It wasn’t very convenient. My purse was on the floor, which felt dirty,” said Addie Gundry, CEO and founder of Pluie, of the inspiration for her invention.
Pluie prides itself on creating the “world’s first and only self-sanitizing changing station.” The company was recognized for its patented design features, which include a self-sanitizing table powered by a UV-C light that kills “influenza, E. coli and coronavirus.”
Coming from a background in culinary innovation, Gundry used her understanding of design and marketing and her experience as a mom to create the changing table on the three values of “convenience, comfort and cleanliness.” Along with the self-sanitizing feature, the changing table also has a bag holder, a plush foam cushion and retractable security strap.
Pluie, established in 2019, has raised a total of $3.7 million and has four employees who work remotely. The diaper changing table can be found at various locations in over 20 states nationwide, Gundry said, including Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.
Patient IQ also received the Up-and-Comer Award for its integrated digital platform that collects, measures and analyzes patient outcomes data. Joe & Bella received the award for its apparel brand that eases dressing for older adults and adult caregivers.
To date, 356, or 98%, of Chicago Innovation Award winners remain in business today, with 67 totaling more than $118 billion in exit values, according to Chicago Innovation.
The 365 organizations nominated this year “account for $6.2 billion in new product and service revenues, 11,933 new jobs, over $1 billion in venture capital and 360 patents,” according to a news release sent by Chicago Innovation.
More than 500 people registered to attend tonight’s ceremony, Chicago Innovation said.
Here’s the complete list of winners.
Discovery Partners Institute
Lincoln Park Zoo
Climate Change Champion Award:
Wintrust Chicago Neighborhood Award:
Male Mogul Initiative
Accenture Corporate Innovator Award:
Sms Assist Entrepreneurial Spirit Award:
Walgreens Digital Transformation Award:
Molex Creating Connections for Life Award:
Dell Technologies & Intel Collaboration Award:
Epicore BioSystems and The Gatorade Company
Joe & Bella
Social Innovator Award:
Let’s Talk Womxn
Thierer Family Foundation & the Greater Chicago Food Depository
People’s Choice Award: