Revolutionizing Retail: Emerging Chicago-based U.S Startups Disrupting The Industry

January 28, 2024

It’s no secret that 2020 was a year of constant change and upheaval, pushing many to take a leap into entrepreneurship. The result? Innovative startups popping up across various sectors, including retail. In this series, we’re shining a spotlight on some of the most exciting startups that emerged in 2020, focusing here on businesses operating in the retail industry in the Windy City itself — Chicago, Illinois. Regardless of the challenges of starting a business amid a global pandemic, these companies have shown true resilience and creativity. Let’s dive in and get acquainted with these promising ventures.

The Planting Hope

Co-founded by Julia Stamberger, The Planting Hope is carving out a niche in the food and beverage industry with an emphasis on plant-based products. Through three distinct brands, they are bringing organic and sustainable alternatives to the masses. Connect with them on LinkedIn.

Ecostar Collaborative

Ecostar Collaborative is energizing the retail industry. Founded by Brennan Besser, the startup’s mission and operations details are not fully disclosed yet. Follow their journey on LinkedIn.

PlantPlus Foods

Fueling the plant-based revolution in the food processing industry is PlantPlus Foods, a joint venture between ADM and Brazilian meat processor Marfrig. Follow their updates on Facebook or LinkedIn.

The Dibz

Founders Autumn Schultz and Haley Zollo are behind The Dibz, a venture operating in the intersection of e-commerce, online portals, and textiles. Find them on LinkedIn.


Crystal is a new entrant in the retail technology scene, specializing in cloud management through a dedicated app. Get to know more about them on their LinkedIn profile.

Holland Green Science

With a focus on extraction and processing equipment, Holland Green Science is influencing the manufacturing and retail industry. They can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


Revolutionizing the retail space with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Optistics, co-founded by Brett Fritz and Javier Ultreras, provides a predictive solution for shipments and customer service. Explore more about them on LinkedIn.

GoMunchies, Inc.

GoMunchies, Inc., founded by Joshua Smith, is redefining convenience in the retail industry with digital delivery services, catering to today’s consumer needs.


CommonX, founded by Justin Reimonenq, is creating a social solution addressing the uncertainties and risks of COVID-19. Find them on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Wool & Water

Wool & Water, founded by Jeff Bodzewski, Justin McAneny, and Sam Kohnke, is a leader in improving shopping experiences via 3DWeb, AR, VR, and other Metaverse technologies. They are currently serving retail, CPG, and automotive industries with expansion plans in other industries.


Turning the retail fashion industry on its head is TrueToForm, co-founded by Janice Tam and Margaret Tam. With a body scanning app, they are making made-to-measure clothing accessible, promoting sustainable 3D design and fitting. Check their updates on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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